My existence is a life-long treasure hunt.

123 Book Meme

I saw this over on Wicked Anomie: Sociology Run Amok.

The game: open the nearest book to page 123 and reproduce the 6-8th sentence.

“Her casket must be both comfortable and eternally durable. And-oh yes, do be sure her burial footwear is really practical? Perhaps it does not often happen just like that.”

This excerpt is from The American Way of Death (Revisited) by Jessica Mitford.
This book is a fascinating glimpse into the world of the funeral industry. It is a business, remember, and they sucker people into parting with money when they are at their most vulnerable. Most people don’t realize this because we will (hopefully) seldom have to plan many funerals in our lifetimes. One interesting point the book makes is that America is one of the only countries to practice embalming. Most Americans are under the impression that embalming is necessary for sanitary reasons, preserves the body for a long time, and is required by law. None of those are true. The main reason behind embalming is to temporarily preserve the body for open-casket viewing. Open-casket viewing leads to the heart of the sales, the casket. America is also one of the only countries who view bodies in an open casket.
The author was sarcastic, witty, and funny in this book. The excerpt I quoted is dealing with a (fake) supposed internal monologue that a person would have when considering what to buy for the deceased. Yes, there is a market for burial footwear, specially designed to fit the foot after the body goes into rigor mortis.
I could go on forever about the information I learned but I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, I am tagging ChocolateOrchid, InstantVintage, Chanel, Desiree, Marlo, Karrie B, Mrs.MaryMack, Lex, LittleMissKnobody, Muze, Vesper, TheJadedNYer, Zombietronics, and anyone else reading this. I want to see your excerpts!

Comments on: "123 Book Meme" (8)

  1. mrs. mary mack said:

    LOL!!! I’d like to know more about this “project” you have going with the funeral homes and such! I will oblige and post this, but unfortunately due to the nature of my current reading material it will be posted in the new spot! Give me 20 minutes or so…

  2. Little Miss Knobody said:

    This is cool!! Thanks for tagging me. I’ll get to it as soon as I get home 🙂

  3. Alicia/InstantVintage said:

    Dude, this book sounded scary as hell at first. Wow. This is amazing. When you’re done, can I read it?

  4. MMM: I am going to do my Masters Thesis on how society handles the concept of death so every project for every class I am trying to tie in somehow.LMK: I’ll be checking!Alicia: This book is wonderful, I swear. So many things you would never know. I highly recommend it.

  5. ChocolateOrchid said:

    Wow! I was wondering what project you were working on. It’s sounds really interesting. And I did think that legally you had to embalm bodies. I’ll try to post mine soon.

  6. Capitalism is a mu-fuka! lol. It’s almost funny how sickening preying off of peoples misfortune can be! yet it is also a legit business and a needed service. At the same time it’s intriguing to me the whole profession and technology behind mortuary science. hmmm…

  7. Cheron L. Hall said:

    Definitely something we don’t want to think about but really should. Capitalism is a cradle to the grave process…a lot of the practices that Americans keep are based in ancient Egypt/Kemet…I think they were charging a great deal to bury the dead back then in these elaborate fashions…very interesting project you’re working on and very brave of you…

  8. CO: Many people think it’s the law, and the funeral people lead you to believe it.Marlo: It is a legit service and need, but when the average funeral director makes about $250,000 a year based on 100-400% mark-ups on caskets and other “necessary services” it makes me very uneasy.Cheron: The interesting thing about Egyptian burial practices is that even the paupers who couldn’t afford the elaborate mummification that the royalty did, their bodies are still better preserved than some of our recent burials because of the atmosphere over there.

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