Monday, November 05, 2007

The Last Wishes Of A Film Geek

I might have mentioned a coupla times: I'm really scared of death.

Not what happens to my spirit or conscious or soul or whatever. I don't believe in an afterlife, so the anxiety isn't a spiritual one. A long time ago I determined I could lead a very spiritual existence without subscribing to the concepts of a heaven, a hell or a purgatory. And if I'm wrong?

I'll be happy for all those who held the faith.

My distress about death is mostly about what happens to my body after I'm dead. The ins and outs of how my body will be prepared, where and how (and by whom) it will be kept until my funeral and -- the biggest angst of all -- what method will be used to dispose of my body for all of eternity.

I don't wanna end up like this guy.

Thousands of years after his death, King Tut is sill being poked, prodded and moved around for the benefit of science and greed.

Not me, brother.

I'm regularly perplexed about how my last will and testament should dictate the way my body should be laid to rest. Part of that conflict rests (no pun intended) in my understanding of how neurotic my desires may be, and if I should insist Mrs. Film Geek (or my next of kin, should she kick the bucket before me) carry them out.

For example:

1. I don't want to be autopsied.

Even if my death is suspicious, I don't want it to happen. Sure, the sawing and the cutting and the poking bothers me. But my disturbance is mostly because I don't want some grubby examiner doing the job half-way, leave me alone on a table while he takes a lunch break only to come back later to finish sorting through my lower intestines. Also, I don't want to be kept for any real length of time in one of those small drawers. I'm more than a bit claustrophobic, and can't stand to sleep in a bunk bed; that in-the-wall drawer would really freak me out.

(By the way, when I mention my disinterest in being autopsied to my wife she always smiles, says she understands and will honor my wishes. I'm not sure, but she seems a little too eager to please me on that one.)

2. I don't want buried in the ground, cremated, placed in a drawer in a mausoleum or stuffed and put on display.

None of those work for me. The claustrophobia I mentioned before bothers me, but the cremation does equally. There must be another option.

Mustn't there?

3. If a casket is used, please don't lay me in it flat on my back.

I can't sleep flat on my back, and lying that way for an eternity gives me the heebie-jeebies. I need to be at a slight angle, sorta half-way on my side. If someone would bring a door jam and slide it under my left or right hip, I'd greatly appreciate the solid.

Oh! And I can't sleep on a satin pillow. I've used the same pillow for about 15 years--bring it along, crumple it under my head in the only way I can sleep (my wife will show you how) and leave me be.

4. I don't want to be at the funeral or memorial.

The thought of people walking by and looking at me--especially people I barely know--is really disturbing. If you know me well, you know I can't hold eye contact for long, and having people stare at me causes me real discomfort. So, I'll remedy that by saying "No" to any memorial that has me present.

5. Regardless of laws that govern how this is carried out, I don't want to have my dead body prepared in any way that involves (a) cutting, (b) blood draining, (c) make-up, or (d) the town barber stopping by to do a trim up.

Really, just leave me the hell alone.

The cutting and blood draining reminds me of horror movies I'm too scared to watch. The make-up really freaks me out, with all the touching and staring at me to see if it looks right. And I'll be damned if I'll go into eternity with combed hair! My hair hasn't been combed thoroughly in years; doing it at my death seems disingenuous.

Anyway, the King Tut press this weekend really freaked me out and made me think even more about my dilemma . And I've come to this conclusion: I'm stuck, I have no real options, and don't know what to do.

So please, some advice here: given the same fears, how would you get past them?

(Photo by AP/Ben Curtis)


Willy D said...

You could be buried at sea if your not afraid of drowning.

Anonymous said...

Willy may have just answered my prayers, but I am sure geek is going to say something about fish eating him, feeling like he is suffocating, floating around looking all bloated, and potentially being poked and prodded by a fishing oar, etc.( by the way..the action of and his coined phrase "poked and prodded" is something he has said for years, when I was tickling him once....and he has stressed, in no uncertain terms, under no circumstance, is the geek to be poked or prodded) so I will have to run that by him for consideration.

Ok, here goes. I rarely post, but since this post actually prompted his mother to call and ask him if he was dying, I thought I better say something here, although I am not really sure what to say about this one. To all concerned, he is not dying as far as I know, (although he would argue that he is likely going to die when his body temperature reaches the feverish state of 98.7 and his nose is running).
I am long aware of all that he has written..but now that YOU ALL are aware of it, although he seems rather psychotic and sick, it seems somewhat of a relief, for me.
Every time the geek has had this conversation with me, (which is scary in itself to think that this actually has been a conversation many times..intiated by him at or after various funerals, or when passing a cemetery, or when he is in one of his "I'm old and my life is nearly over fits", etc.),I become anxious.

Knowing that I, should I outlive him, will likely be the prime candidate to have to be the one to meet his after-death demands, I have struggled with the idea that very few people will believe the list of guidelines he has requested of me for years. **Trust me, he makes very clear that he has to be laying at an angle, on his own dust-mite infested 15- year-old pillow because he gets cramps in his legs.
The least of my worries is not prettying him up by getting a haircut and make-up...I will just pretend that it is Friday and say, as he says every Friday...."Yippee...I do not have to take a shower until time to go to work on Monday".
Although a few of his close friends would believe it, no one, particularly the cops, the mortician, the funeral director, the medical examiner, his parents,the priest and preacher, and the public in general, etc. would ever believe me when I say, "yeah but this is what he wanted".
So, I guess I can be happy that it is out there. I no longer carry the burden of having to explain it, just the burden of carrying it out. But now that it is out there, while I will look less crazy when I carry this stuff out, he looks much crazier to everyone else while living. And..since I like having him around....I am hoping that his belief in parallel universes allows him to prolong his life in another dimension. The Mrs.

Jackie said...


The Film Geek said...

Hey again, Willy D: Yeah, like she said, the fish poking at me is a little disturbing. That and the drowning feeling.

But you're getting me man, and I appreciate it! :)

Anonymous: Can we have this talk again later tonight? I feel the compulsion coming on.

JDB said...

My brother once said he wanted to be flushed down a giant toilet by guys wearing goldfish costumes. Seems about right to me (or, to pilfer Steven Wright - donate your body to science fiction).

Jackie said...

Sorry..that LMFAO was about the comment from Anony. The post itself was terrific in it's own right.

My suggestion: Cremation followed by a kegger. At some point in the night we'll pour your ashes out on the ground and roll around in 'em like drunken savages. Sound good?

The Film Geek said...

Hey Jackie: Only if the kegger is before the cremation!

Man, something way too creepy about cremation. Drunken rolling around, that's OK...but cremeation? Nah...

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post so much!! But I enjoyed Kristy's even better. Kristy- you need a "Reflections of Mrs. Film Geek" blog. I'm sure it would quickly become MY favorite! -Cara

Rebecca Burch said...

You could be launched out into outer space, a la Timothy Leary. ;)

I don't know, I really haven't decided what I want done. I kind of like the idea of being cremated and having my ashes spread somewhere I love... but there are issues with that, too.

The whole autopsy thing freaks me out, too.

The Film Geek said...

Hey Cara: It'd have to be better than my blog, eh? :)

Rebecca: Thanks so much for helping validate my neurotic thoughts! :)

Anonymous said...

It would be. -Cara

primalscreamx said...

You could go with a sky burial, like the prairie indians or something like the zoroastrians or buddhists do with charnal grounds. Basically, they put you un on a litter and you just decompose under the sun. It is the ultimate slacker way to go.

But really... just let go. To quote the great spiritual voice of my generation, "you are not your kakhis."

The Film Geek said...

I'd like to be brave enough to go your route, but I'm just not. Not even close.

Zoroastrians, eh?

Capcitykitty said...

Wait... You mean pretending that I'll be the exception to the whole "everybody dies" thing isn't going to work out for me?

That sucks.

But, at any rate, if it's indeed true, then I'll opt for cremation. (After I attend my own memorial service, in FULL make-up. Because I'm all about the make-up- and being the center of attention at social functions. Anything else, for me, would be disingenuous.)

Probably I can handle cremation because I'm a woman and inherently better able to tolerate pain and unpleasantnes than, say, a man.

The Film Geek said...


Elvis Drinkmo said...

I go with naked burial in the backyard with a tree planted over the body. I know that doesn't adequately address the claustrophobia issue, but hell, anything is better than one of those creepy above the ground vaults.

I mean, with a simple backyard burial, the body will decompose and feed into something like a tree and the cycle of life goes on and you will still be a part of it. It sounds morbid, I know, but I'd rather still be in nature's loop rather than preserved in concrete or mummified like ol' Tut up there.

That's my two cents.

The Film Geek said...

The idea of tree roots enveloping my remains is sorta creepy, but...I do like the nature's loop angle. This one's gonna make my list, Elvis.