Out of the Box (and a Plug for Subscribing to The New York Times)

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I love the New York Times. Saturday and Sunday delivery suits both my financial and my time budget. Reading just two days of paper absorbs hours of my weekend and sometimes I don’t even finish it. I make my way through every section except Auto and Sports. During the week I can read it digitally although I usually just glance at the headlines. Do you have a subscription? Subscribing to a newspaper helps keep it going and I feel strongly about the print version of this newspaper. I’d hate to see it disappear. The writers are fantastic, the journalism and photography and breadth of coverage is the best around. During my years of living overseas, The New York Times was one of the things I missed most. Now, with digital publishing, I could live in Japan again and still have at least digital access to my favorite newspaper.

My plug for one of the last bastions of fine journalism – is inspired by this article on today’s front page. Where else are you going to read about a new funeral option: get yourself set up in a life-like pose in the setting of your choice. Mourners can then pay their last respects in the way they remember you — at least the way you want them to remember you.

Even before reading this crazy headline (one I’m sure The New York Post envied) “Rite of the Sitting Dead: Funeral Poses Mimic Life”, I thought something was a tad off about the woman in sunglasses sitting with cigarette in one hand, a glass in the other and a Busch beer by her side. Turns out — she’s dead! This picture was taken at her wake. Weird, right? This and the other images in the article (you have to look!) got me thinking about the question of ‘what do you want on your gravestone?’ to the ‘nth’ degree. How can you not start imagining what you’d like the last visual of you to be?

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I don’t mean to be blithe about death but as someone with a few terrible last visuals of loved ones, I appreciate this somewhat macabre idea of creating a desirable last image of someone. Why not? Bizarre but with a touch of whimsy — even humor. And even if you’d never (and I’d never) consider actually doing such a thing, the exercise of coming up with a scene that best captures who you are, fascinates me.

What vignette would you choose as your swan-song? Writing at your desk perhaps? Eating a fine meal? Gardening? Reading? (that might be mine) Fishing? Watching football in front of the TV? The possibilities are apparently endless. And why not take it a step further and include in your diorama, previously (I hope!) deceased pets who you’ve had the foresight to taxidermy? Why not? In case you’re interested in that service, here’s another NYT’s article on that subject and a photo from the same article.

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According to an intern funeral director quoted in today’s article, these kind of services don’t need to cost much more than a regular funeral. And in case you don’t know how much a funeral runs these days, here’s another NYT’s article from 2011 on that very subject.

Like I said, I really love The New York Times — so maybe I should be buried with it after being posed at my wake reading it in front of the fireplace or outside on my wicker chaise, depending upon the season. Hey, It’s never too early to start planning our grand exit into eternity – and why not be well informed and entertained to boot?

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2 Responses to Out of the Box (and a Plug for Subscribing to The New York Times)

  1. I read this entire post with a smile on my face — thought provoking but also very humorous. I lived in NYC in the 80’s after college and used to love my Saturday night ritual of buying the Sunday NY Times! I have to confess that now I read it online daily (for reasons of convenience AND financial). You are inspiring me to return to buying the Sunday print edition — there is a place here in Sonoma that sells it!

  2. Avatar katiewilda says:

    Well, you’ve got me thinking about subscribing and paying to support the Gray Lady. I just have so much to read these days. And I seem to get away with my ten freebies a month. But you make a very convincing argument. Love the humor in this piece too.

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