Budgie did a go-go: a pet urnery

A post that is part speculation, part stand-up comedy sat down to paper, and part the kind of things entirely too drunk or stoned people say in wondering tones.

Having written what is below I am in awe of, and a bit sickened by, myself.

Tagged with “caution”, “CAUTION” and “talk about the dead”. Some of the dead are pets. Some not. You’re warned. Click to read on.

* * *

Recently found that in the wonderland of bureaucracy there is such a thing as a pair of forms, one of which begs for the permission to bury someone somewhere special, and the other which pleads for the permission to found an actual bone-yard.

The problem in founding a cemetery seems to be that you either need to own the spot, or then at least have a plan for renting or otherwise having the right to use it for the next 130 years.

“Hey, uncle. Mind if I use a corner of the yard for a while? Oh goody. Bye! See ya!”

Makes me wonder what kind of a rent-master evicts someone that’s been keeping a graveyard on rented land. “You and your corpses… you have until the end of month to go, or I’ll call the police!”

Apparently you can apply for a permission for a coffin-yard, an urnery, or a combination. Almost makes me want to buy a secluded, quiet square meter somewhere, and apply for an urn four-seater there.

Would there be any takers? “Now accepting submissions to the Smalltown Urnery — 4 spots available, each with a hollow cement shaft and a plug with a decorative garden gnome. The gnome’s face can be customized to resemble the inmate for a small extra fee. Vacancies to be filled by time of death. The following rites provided free of charge: Cthulhoid (dis)interment, full moon howlings, reading the daily headlines, generic Christian rites. Prayers whined to distant uncaring stars for an extra 10e/mo. Act quick; only 4 spots available; only 50e/decade with an option to renew. Applicants can win great prizes.”

(Er, if you bury someone somewhere, what if you buy the plot only for a fixed time, and refuse to renew? “Here’s youse uncle; we ain’t keeping him if youse don’t pay us. Sorry ’bout the mouldy coffin, miss; it gets like that in the ground. The leaky stuff, y’know.”)

The next question would be whether having the permission to have a graveyard means you can operate last rites of your choice there — the operator doesn’t, by the law and form, need to be a formal religious group — and what kind of a rites I would do.


Embalmings? (Do you need a licence for that? And, hey, would my university happen to have that as a night school thingie? “Honestly Mr. Constable, embalming night school! Why else would I be dragging around a corpse in the middle of the night?”)

Zoroastrian open-air exposure to the elements and the vultures?

Now, what would I be allowed to do, and would I need a religion for it — I don’t recall from my civics lessons what the law exactly says on the things you can do to a corpse.

Well, I have the distinct impression that necrophilia is out; funny, since I think it could be arranged in perfectly tidy fashion with some variant of an organ donor card.

Really; I’m not joking. Or rather I’m joking, but also being perfectly serious. If you can give consent to intercourse, why the devil you couldn’t give that in advance on the behalf of your corpse?

“ORGAN DONOR ETC. My organs can be harvested for medical, scientific and cannibal use after my death, in that order. After that, as specified in the Mortuary Law of 2011, I can be released to uses of [_] heterosexual [_] homosexual [x] bisexual love until my burial. Signed with full consent, presence of mind and retching of relatives, etc.”

I’m a liberal, you see. The cold, hard, icky kind of a liberal.

An old-time boat burial, or one on a pyre, would be a grand way to go. Though the ship set to the sea would probably be a biohazard, and to burn a pyre you would have to die outside the forest fire season.

Life is complicated; seems death is even more so.

Nah, scratch that. When I die, I want to be encased in a humongous block of transparent plastic, and donated to the nearest department of mathematics. Preferably with a stipend “for the duration of the accompanying monument being on display in the premises. With a student representative lighting a candle in front of it every full moon, and every day a Fields medal is given. In the name of Euler, AMEN!”

But — pet semataries. (Sorry, cemeteries. I don’t think the King variety was in any way zoned or approved.)

Do you need a permission to found a pet cemetary? And if you do, is there a still different paper you need to fill, or is it classified as something less noble, such as a biowaste disposal spot? (I hope not.)

I’ve heard Finnish Lutheran clergymen — well, some of them — are benevolently fuzzy about the concept of pets in heaven, and anyway don’t see much wrong with a cross on the grave of one.

Could you book a priest to perform — er, officiate? — at Rex’s funeral? Probably not; he was an ungodly beast that coveted his neighbor’s bone, and walked up and down the streets with genitalia in full view, drooling at every passing bitch. There’s no salvation for such miscreants.

Wait a minute — if pets can get to heaven, do all pets get there? Even the angry poodle that bit its owner into itsy-bitsy little pieces? How bad and deadly can a pet be to its owner before it goes to Hell instead?

And if pets get to heaven, how about farm animals? Who feeds them? And what about the poo-poo? It would suck to be the angel of the Augean stables.

What about pythons — some are pets, some wild animals. Do only the pet snakes have a shot at eternal life? That’s bloody wrong!

What about little Joey’s pet ants?

What’s ant heaven like anyway — or are ants a part of Joey’s heaven, instead of having a slice of their own?

Priests should really consider the theological implications of their words before they say that of course Fluffy will be waiting up there.

Unless it’s not Fluffy but a simulacrum, a shade to amuse the blessed — while Fluffy himself either burns in Hell (“Bad doggy! Here’s an anti-gravity stick… fetch!”) or has altogether ceased to exist.

Wouldn’t want to say that to poor Timmy, aged six. “Well Timmy, you’ll be in heaven but once your doggy dies, it’s gone forever. Pets have no souls. And dogs live a seventh of what humans do. Bless you! Anyway, Jesus will give you another in heaven. Now run along with that soulless little beast of yours, and fetch me your mother. Tell her Reverend Brutal has come.”

I’ve found that theology is immense fun, at least if you don’t have to believe any of it. It’s like freeform sudoku: you start with a few details and fill in the rest.

Come to think of it, thinking of farm animals and death: what the heck does a farmer do with all the dead cows? I mean a farmer that goes for milk, not flesh. Are there some pits in the woods I don’t know of? Are they all ground to fertilizer or (yuck) animal feed? Is zoonecrophilia legal? (Hey, that’s a new fetish.) Horses used to go, as I understand it, to the salami factory —

Ah, yes. Horse sausage. An icky thing to many, eating such a beautiful animal. I agree on horses being beautiful, graceful, nice animals, but I still somehow don’t have any qualms about eating pieces of one.

Or pieces of cow. I am regularly seen rubbing my hands together and saying: “Mmm! There’s nothing better than tasty dead cow chunks!”

And what, ugly and disgusting animals like pigs are okay to eat, but nice horsies are a no-no? What sick kind of a preference is that?

Well. Pets have cemeteries. Farm animals and meat animals have a pit somewhere, or an incinerator. (I guess your local slaughterhouse wouldn’t be improved by a forest of white crosses in front of it.) Some people say dead animals are treated in awful fashion, and contrast them to humans; I like to do the opposite. Dead people are dead flesh: turn them to food and fertilizer.

The offense you feel at this is not rational: the dead person is gone. What is left is only the shell. It would be let down to the ground to rot, to be eaten by worms, or then put into an oven and burned to crisp, anyway. Is that better?

Besides, think of it as a final good deed. A final ecological bit of enrichment for Mother Nature — a lot more efficient than rooting a tree on your nutritious remains. Like George Carlin said, isn’t it a pretty outdated, barbaric thing to gather all our dead people in one corner of the town?

And all for what — superstitious fear? A bit of waste to honor the fallen? Simple queasiness? Crud, I’m my dance of synapses. When that ceases I’m gone; and anyway a human body sloughes cells off so fast, in a variety of ways, that every seven years I’m a brand-new man, or so it is said. The last iteration won’t have any special commemorative value. A human being is that which is in the mind; the body is, figuratively, and eventually also literally, just shit.

Which is not being morbid or gloomy, but just, if you believe it, upbeat in a ghastlily realistic way: you got to strive for the truth of things when you can, because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

And a waist is a terrible thing to mind. G’night, all.

And this has been your fill of cemeteries, cannibalism, theology and necrophilia for today. Tomorrow you can read this older post of mine.

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