Burned Is the New Buried

Used to be, we buried the bodies of the dead in the ground. Imagine the cost: coffin, embalming, funeral service, shovels. Labor. It adds up. Nowadays, we just burn em.

In 1985, 15% of deads were cremated. Now: 41%. That'll be a solid majority by 2017, according to an industry group. And a full third of people now say they choose cremation for the cost savings alone.

Chances are, if you're reading this, that by the time you die your family, too, will have your body burned down to a small pile of ashes, in order to save themselves a few bucks. That's just the way it is, now. No shame. You'll be long gone. A gravestone is an indulgence from another age, before times were quite so hard. The memories you leave will be your memorial. The regrets, too. But eventually all the remembrances of you, good and bad, will scatter like your ashes, to the wind, dispersed into disappearance, and as the minds and souls of those friends who survived you slowly dim and fade out, all traces of your existence on this earth will be neatly wiped away, lost forever to the great and mysterious cosmic void, of which we know barely anything at all.

So you better die soon if you want that pimp casket.

[NYT. Photo: AP]