Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A section from "Death is Messy and Inappropriate" a work in progress

He wanted his dad back. So he tried to will his father out of the grave.

It is profoundly human to not know how to deal with death. So we bury the dead in black suits with white shirts and red ties in closed wooden boxes so that they look nice and nothing will touch them forever and ever.
We don’t know how to treat the dead so we treat them like they might still be alive somewhere inside the body. We dress them up in their fanciest clothes. We fight their decay. We hold close to the denial of the eternity of their gone-ness just as we clenched tight the body as it began to give out. As our own bodies threaten to give out, we ask to be buried in our nicest suits and put in a wooden box so that nothing will touch us forever and ever.
After decades upon decades, there are boxes in the ground filled with skeletons in black suits, white shirts, and red ties. Bones in Burberry. The suits fit loosely now. We had hoped the body would never condense to skeleton.

At his dad’s funeral Ellison wore a nice fitting suit. His hair was combed. And he had covered his face in peanut butter. At breakfast that morning he had taken it all out of his sandwich and put it on like war paint. No one said anything, and no one knew what to do about it, so they just let him sit there.

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