Rocket Suits, Flaming Harleys, and Crabs: A Death Wish

by | Mar 12, 2016 | 0 comments

Thanks to Klaus Bo of the Dead and Alive Project for the stunning feature picture. Listen to my interview with him from here.

A Death Wish

Recently I posted on my personal Facebook page a desire to fly in one of those rocket wingsuits before I die. I got some very funny responses along the lines of, “Well, if you do fly in one, your death wish may very well come true!” Hahaha!

The responses did get me thinking: I learned from Mary Roach’s book “Stiff” that Dungeness crabs enjoy eating people as much as people enjoy eating them. A mess of crabs can turn a dead body into crab poop in a matter of hours. So imagine this: Zip, Bang, Plop, Poop. Let me explain.

Zip: I am a terminally ill person whose last wish is to fly in a rocket suit. My wish comes true, and I am zipping through the air as free as a bird.

Bang: I intentionally slam into a rock cliff at over 100 mph and am instantly dead. No pain, no suffering. The only mark on the cliff is one of my happy, smiling face. smile emoticon

Plop: My dead body drops into a pool of hungry Dungeness crabs hanging out below the cliff. Plop!

Poop: You know the rest.

Sometimes I refer to this as the Sonny Bono way to go. One minute you’re skiing, and the next minute you are playing the harp. Nice. Crazy, you say? Hey…I’d rather go that way than surrounded by a bunch of machines in a hospital room.

Set to Music?

I had to go hunting for it, but many years ago, long before I started the podcast and my apparent fascination with death, dying and the afterlife, I penned the lyrics found below. Perhaps someday I’ll get around to setting them to music.

Until then…enjoy “Harley Fire”

Lord when I go
it’s my desire
to go out smiling
in a ball of fire
I’ll take it down
right to the wire
and then die laughing
in a blaze of Harley fire

Some settle for the doctor
and the doctor said
son when your time comes
you’d better be in bed
but I can promise you this
bed’s not for me
I intend on dying
how I lived. Free

Some go high
and some go low
some go fast
and some go slow
but when I die
I pray to the Lawd
To be crankin’ on the throttle
of a Harley Vee-Rod

The chrome is nice
and the leather’s sweet
the paint is trick
by my mustang seat
I’m ready to go
and be a flower
When I push the red line
of Harley twin power

Just for the Kids

Seriously, when it comes to “end-of-life” (a euphemism used by doctors and such so that people are freaked out by the word “death.” Whatever.”), I left my family a letter with instructions for how to proceed. The point is, as I say in the letter, “My hope is that these instructions will make it easier for all of you, so you spend less time messing around with details and more time celebrating a life well lived (mine). And celebration is what I want for my funeral service. It has been, after all, a great life!”

If you have not done such advanced planning, I urge you to do so for the very same reason. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Bonus Material

Copied from my letter to my family, for your entertainment, and theirs…

Dear Girls:

Who knows where I’ll be when I breathe my last; hopefully someplace fun and exotic like Sri Lanka where I will have an unfortunate encounter with the deadly but lovely blue-ringed octopus.

In any event, regarding my body, the common sense rule should prevail, that is, just use common sense for how to handle it (my body, and the situation). I am dead, so I don’t care. Weigh practical matters like cost, environmental impact, and people’s feelings, and then decide.

If it matters, and you think of it, ask the locals to cut a few locks of my hair and send them home. You can burn these and share the ashes with people who want them. Put some in the grounds of The Commonwealth of Virginia, which I consider to be my native country.

In general, I suggest you have me “processed” (cremated, buried, or hacked up and given to the birds to eat, should I die in Tibet) using local customs, so that when my great-grandkids ask, “Where is Opa?” you can say, “His body was mummified in a Ma’nene ceremony by the Toraja people and can be seen in Pangala. Would you like to go and see him?

Love, Dad


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