I have never been to a Costco. From what I gather, it’s a place where people like to buy things in bulk -- and buy things dirt cheap. Growing up, we had a Farmer’s Market we’d go to where you could buy a year’s supply of socks and a ½ dozen live pigs from the same seller. I assume that’s what Costco is like, only with more pig shit on the floor.
As someone who considers himself a connoisseur of the morbidly bizarre, my Google searches often lead me to things I never heard mentioned before – such as Costco selling caskets at “rock bottom prices”.
Several things intrigue me about this, such as folks who have the presence of mind when a loved one dies to think, “Yeah, it’s sad that little Timmy died… but where can I get a casket without being gouged by a funeral home? I’ll try Costco.”
There’s also interesting food for thought on Costco’s Funeral > Frequently Asked Questions page:
Q: Can you order a casket for preplanning purposes?
Yes, as long as the casket is being shipped to a member's home or storage facility of choice. The order will ship within the stated delivery parameters on the site. However, due to regulations and restrictions, we cannot hold on to any orders for future delivery.
Think about that. The no frills shopper who knows little Timmy is nearing death and wants to get the coffin ahead of time. He can’t have it delivered to a funeral parlor (since, unfortunately, little Timmy’s heart is still beating) so he orders it and has it delivered to the house.
Little Timmy: (cough) what’s that large box the men are bringing in the house, daddy?
Daddy: Nothing, nothing… Go back to sleep…
Delivery Man: Where do you want us to put this coffin, mister?
Little Timmy: (cough) what?... what did he say?
Daddy: Nothing, Timmy! Go back to sleep!
My favorite part of the FAQ is this sentence at the bottom of the page that is upper-cased and in bold face:
THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC OR OTHER EVIDENCE THAT ANY CASKET WITH A SEALING DEVICE WILL PRESERVE HUMAN REMAINS
Anyone who has ever worked in retail or public services knows that messages like this don’t just appear without a back story. They are written as the result of some incident that made it compulsory to spell out (For example, Children under 3 not allowed on this ride – Translation: Children under 3 have been thrown from this ride and decapitated – we’re not going through that shit again!)
I have to assume someone at some point buried a loved one (let’s say a young and attractive someone) who looked great going in the ground, but upon exhumation 20 years later looked horrific:
Angry Customer: Your salesman specifically told me that if I purchased the Costco Cryptkicker Sealant™ that Brianna would stay built like a BRICKHOUSE forever! NOW look at her! She looks like a SHITHOUSE!.... All that puss running out of her orifices! YUCK!! I was told there was SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that the sealing device would PRESERVE HER REMAINS!! I WANT MY MONEY BACK NOW!!
Another great aspect of the casket page is the “Features” section: The top feature being that it has an “18 gallon” holding capacity.
Back to the father, this time on the phone, ordering the casket for little Timmy:
Daddy: The 18 gallon model seems a bit larger than I need. This is going to be for a small child. Wouldn’t 8 or 9 gallons hold him?
Salesman: Yes sir, but the 18 gallons is necessary, not so much for holding him…. Because, let’s face it, he’s not going anywhere once he’s in the ground..
Daddy: Ha-ha! True, true….
Salesman: No, the 18 gallon capacity is mostly for the foam and cushions and blankets that will be in the casket with your loved one.
Daddy: Oh, I see. That makes sense…. But if there was, say, less cushions and padding, which honestly seems kind of superfluous for a dead child, then couldn’t the gallon capacity be lower?
Salesman: Actually, there are laws prohibiting a casket from being any lower than 18 in some states?
Daddy: Really? That’s crazy! Sounds like a law some liberal hotshot Congressman crammed through to stick it to the little guy!.... No pun intended!
I also enjoyed the Customer Ratings & Reviews section where there are 14 reviews for the handy-dandy “In God’s Care” model casket. ALL give it a 5 star rating! Apparently, not one customer had an issue with the product whatsoever (which seems a bit rigged). I would have liked to have seen at least one unhappy customer give a bad rating:
* One star! What a disappointment this was! From the minute we put little Timmy in this hunk of scrap
metal JUNK, it started LEAKING like a wet rag! Imagine our embarrassment! We had friends at
the funeral – some from over an hour away – who were aghast to see the liquid crud seeping
from all four corners! Ugh! What an ugly day it turned out to be! I wouldn’t trust the “In God’s
Care” casket to hold my PISS!!! -- AVOID THIS CASKET!!
Finally, you might think that caskets are genderless. Not at Costco! Here we have the “Mother Casket”:
Don’t know what to get mom this Mother’s Day?
Watch her eyes open wide when she sees this beauty sitting in the living room!
Anyway, just some thoughts on buying caskets at Costco and our bizarre, emotionally-detached, soulless 21st century….
In anticipation of my upcoming jury duty assignment in Newark, New Jersey, I plan on the proceedings to go something like this..
Juror One: “Listen, Mr. Power, the other eleven jurors all agree that this kid, Julio, is GUILTY! Guilty of MURDER! Why are you insisting on being the lone holdout?!”
Me: “I just want to review the evidence again.”
Juror Two: “We’ve seen the evidence 30 fucking times!”
Juror One: “And what piece of evidence do you need to see again? The video of this kid SHOOTING the night watchman? It’s indisputable!”
Juror Eight: “It’s even in HD!”
Juror Six: “And in the video he clearly says, ‘I’m Julio Rodriguez! And I just shot you, mister night watchman!”
Juror One: “On top of which, the kid has CONFESSED TO THE CRIME! He has admitted that his plan that night was to quote ‘ find and kill a night watchman ’ unquote”
Me: “I don’t know… I guess I just don’t see it that way.”
Juror One: “Don’t see it WHAT way?! For Chrissakes! Is this guy a joke?!”
Juror Three: “Look, you son of a bitch, my daughter is getting married tomorrow and I plan on BEING THERE!”
Me: “Well, you can forget about that. We still have a long, long way to go yet.”
Juror Three: “I’m going to fucking KILL YOU!”
Me: “Hmmm. I think I’m beginning to understand why you want to return such a hasty verdict... By the way, Juror Three, where were you on the night of November 3rd?”
All Jurors: “AHHHHHHHH!!!!!”
Me: “OK, I’d like to ask the bailiff if we can see the gun that was found at the crime scene.”
Juror One: “You mean the gun that has the name ‘Julio Rodriguez’ engraved in gold on it?!”
Me: “Yes. I believe that’s the one.”
My cell phone rings.
It’s noisy and hard to hear.
It’s the veterinarian. She has some bad news.
She can’t be sure, but Sylvia may have a kidney infection.
“We’ll have to run more tests.”
It’s also likely Sylvia has a hyperthyroid condition.
The vet then says, “It’s common in older cats….”
I don’t hear anything after that for a few seconds….
What do you mean?
Sylvia isn’t ‘old’
And she isn’t ‘older’
She’s my “silly girl”
Older cats don’t play with toys!
I still come home and find cat toys in the middle of the living room and smile because I know how happy my Sylvia is.…
The vet runs down a list of options and asks me what I want to do.
I said, “Whatever you recommend. Whatever she needs.”
She explains what tests she’s going to run.
I say, “Fine.”
She says, “I’ll put you through to the receptionist to go over the billing”.
I’m thinking, “I don’t give a fuck about the billing.”
Just do it. I’ll haggle over money if it involves me, not my cats.
… I wait on hold
… I remember fall 1997
I had just adopted Sylvia and her brother Mickey.
They were only a few weeks old.
I could hold them both in one hand they were so tiny…
It’s amazing to think back on what a terror Sylvia was.
She was always getting into trouble.
She destroyed all my house plants.
She would drag things out from under the kitchen sink I didn’t even know existed; a pair of glasses from a previous tenant; a bed sheet ten times her size; an empty can of peanuts.
Anything she could get her little paws on she would move from one room to another.
For the first couple of weeks, every time I would come home the living room looked like a disaster area.
She would pull down the drapery
Two large panels, a window sheer, valance, ornate tie strings, a hanging rod.
They spanned the entire length of the sliding glass doors.
She’d turn the whole mess into a kitten playground
... One day it finally took its toll on me.
After cleaning up the mess and putting everything back in place for the umpteenth time, I left the room and immediately heard the “chick-chick-chick” sound of cat claws coming from the living room.
I returned to the room and there she was, little Sylvia, digging her claws into the drapes!
I grabbed a small couch pillow to smack her with – she was so tiny I didn’t want to hurt her.
She shot out of the room like a bullet to hide in the bedroom.
“OK”, I thought. “She’s learned her lesson”
I went to sit down.
About 2 minutes passed when out of the corner of my eye I could see her walking towards me.
I didn’t turn to look at her… but I knew she had stopped next to my chair, sat down, and was staring up at me.
I slowly turned to look at her – this tiny 12 week old kitten.
The look on her face said it all.
It said, “You are not going to be mad at me! We’re going to settle this right now! ”
I looked down at her and realized what an incredibly smart cat she was.
She wanted to put this issue behind us and she wanted to do it NOW!
To understand at such an impossibly young age the importance of resolving issues and moving on as quickly as possible spoke volumes about the intelligence of my Sylvia …..
Now it's 15 years later - earlier this week..
We’re in the vet’s office..
Sylvia is clinging to my hand inside her carrying case and shaking.
She looks out through holes in the case and sees dogs…
She sees people..
Strange noises coming from all directions..
Strange smells …
She looks up at me with those adorable, emerald eyes just like she did when she was a kitten..
I tell her, “Everything is going to be alright, Sylvia”
“I love you, Sylvia… I love you very much”
And now …. I wait for the results of the tests….
I hope for the best and cherish every second I can spend with her…
“We had a deal, Sylvia.”
“I said I would take you in and give you a home with all the love and happiness possible…”
“But you're the baby. I leave first.”
Although I listen to a wide array of songs, I rarely hear one where I immediately think, "Damn, I wish I'd written that!" 'Murder In The Moonlight (It's Love In The First Degree)' is one of those songs.
It appears to have only been recorded once, in 1935, by a singer named Red McKenzie (a somewhat popular crooner of the early 1930's in league with Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo) and then the song seems to have disappeared through the hands of time.
With lyrics by Sam M Lewis ('Dinah', 'Rockabye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody', 'How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?', 'I’m Sitting on Top of the World') and music by Pete Wendling ('Swingin' In A Hammock', 'I'm Sure Of Everything But You', 'Whose Heart Are You Breaking Tonight?'), the double entendre of the singer being "slain" by love has such a rich atmosphere & infectious vibe it really is surprising that no one else thought this was worth recording.
I'm posting this song so that  others may hear it & love it as much as I do and  to remind myself to cover it in the near future (sort of an online post-it note).
Hope you enjoy the song with video clips from Scarface (1932)