Thursday, September 28, 2017

Eternity's Limits

Remember (some of you) going to church as a kid and getting a clear message pounded into your heads that someday we'll all meet again in the afterlife?  Well, apparently we don't need to wait that long, at least not in Puerto Rico, where we're informed that devastating hurricane floods have unearthed a buttload of coffins from floating cemeteries.

Seems to me this is far worse than, oh, say, trying to keep your lunch down after a bad shrimp taco, and even worse than taking a vacation cruise on an ocean liner called The Petri Dish of the Sea.

The pop-up coffin thing is hardly new. Instances are well-documented here in the states and almost any place where we bury things we expect never to deal with again.  All one really needs is a flood to demonstrate that what happens in the ground doesn't necessarily stay underground.

We've focused almost incessantly of late about too many people in the world, yet failing to properly take into account that "people" also include the dead, and when one adds up the totals of the living walking above ground and departed folk taking up space underneath in wooden or metal caskets often secured within additional receptacles, numbers must be staggering.

Yes, world religions entertain built-in reasons why the dead must be buried in certain ways to assure eternal rest, directions to paradise or some distant day when a wake-up call from the skies raises dead bodies essentially placed on "hold" for centuries.

Plans can go horribly awry, however, when dead folk refuse to stay buried during natural disasters and their special, timeless boxes of blessed repose rocket to the surface like jacks-in-the-box.  "Hello again, hello. . ." goes an old Neil Diamond song, though he obviously wasn't referencing floating coffins at a flood parade.

The science professor teaching a college course I took one summer loathed the very idea of burials in a box, believing instead that if we're indeed going to be planted in the ground, let's do it as nature intended and not cheat Mother Earth out of reclaiming her bounty.  Notice how the lucrative funeral industry sometimes portrays such practices as akin to savage rituals?

The point is, floods and other disasters aren't going away, but each day brings an abundance of human deaths as well as, in my wretched opinion, copious amounts of the living promised from birth only to expire eventually and add to the merriment of joining the six-feet-under club.  When you think about it, this is kind of nuts.

As a species who won't stop over-populating above ground and cares even less about stuffing, to be blunt, our endless train of boxed-up carcasses into beautiful pieces of land on a planet devoid of eternal storage guarantees, will we edge ever closer to sharing our back yards with both flood cars and unsightly flood coffins and their hoary occupants, all dressed up with no place to go?

We turn the handle on a colorfully appealing metal box and the musical tunes play until, suddenly, the top flips open, something jumps out and unseen voices sing, "POP goes the weasel!"

Hugh Hefner Exits:  Say what you will, but that one little instance of scientists and others brought together decades ago for a panel discussion regarding the UFO subject was a Playboy classic -- proving  yes, there really are people who actually read the articles and didn't just slobber over  pictures and centerfolds.