Going out in style

I have left instructions that when I die I am to be cremated in the cheapest container allowed by law, a cardboard box if possible. Wasting money on a fancy coffin seems ridiculous. But there is a opposite trend in which people spend enormous amounts of money on the dead, which seems pointless since they are, after all, dead and won’t appreciate the gesture by their relatives.

Stephen Colbert looks at the latest over the top offering from the funeral industry.

(This clip was aired on January 15, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says

    When my father passed away a few years ago, we located (in the KC MO area) a crematorium that we dealt with directly. He died at home under Hospice care, and the crematorium sent staff to collect the body from the house.

    As I recall, their fee was about $600.00. If my mother had gone through a funeral home, it would have been thousands.

  2. Alverant says

    I’m glad you’re being considerate of others when it’s your time. I wish my Mom would do the same. I don’t want her to die any time soon but she has SO MUCH JUNK. When I talk about going through her old books she hasn’t seen in decades she says, “Oh I’ll leave that for you to do when I’m gone. You can rent a dumpster.” She doesn’t even want to toss VHS tapes even though there’s not a working VHS player in the house.

  3. bubba707 says

    I already told folks to cremate me, put the ashes in a coffee can and dump em in the landfill. No need for any memorials or any other baggage folks tend to buy into.

  4. physicsphdstu says

    How about donating your body to science ?

    It is finally an opportunity to stick back to the nagging pre-med students 😛 .

    Seriously, there is a small chance of abuse, but I would think that it is much more productive than cremation.

  5. intergalacticmedium says

    In the UK there is massive brain bank in Oxford I always thought that sounded cool

  6. says

    At the very least, I hope to have an awesome epitaph. Something like “Hero of the Horsehead Nebula who defeated the rampaging Unicorntaurs of Gamma 868 and their leader, Ultraneutron the Blood Slayer, in a duel to the death on the side of an exploding volcano using nothing but his superpowers and a sword the size of his body.”

    What, you gonna argue with a dead man?

    I guess if I don’t do that, maybe I’ll have an arrow on my marker pointing to the grave next to me with the writing “I’m with stupid” under it.

  7. Mano Singham says

    I am an organ donor so I assume that there will not be much left of my body that is of value after the organs are harvested. Also, because of childhood polio, my body is somewhat distorted and so I assumed that it would be too exotic to be of much use to students.

  8. Nepenthe says

    Ideally I would like to have a sky burial, but as this is illegal in the US and my body will probably be filled with enough poisons to kill any unfortunate scavengers, I think I’ll have to settle for organ donation and cremation or donation to medical science.

  9. Thorne says

    We just buried our folks two months ago. The cremations alone were almost $2000 apiece, which included the cardboard box. While at the funeral home/cremation facility, I was amazed to see caskets for as much as $5000, designed to be cremated with the body! It’s shocking what some people will waste their money on. We had no funeral services, no visitations, no embalming, just a ‘direct to cremation’ package. Bought one urn to handle the two of them. We kept it at home after Mom died and waited for Dad before burying it. It’s about the cheapest you can go and it still ran close to $5000 combined.

    For my part, I’ve already expressed my wishes. Let the docs take what they can, burn the rest and drop the ashes in the nearest dumpster on the way home. But ultimately it doesn’t make a damned bit of difference to me.

  10. Skip White says

    For some reason, this reminds me of my joking with my wife that I want a solid-gold statue of myself large enough to house a museum dedicated to the completely boring and average life I lead.

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