When I was little, I used to tell my mom that I wanted to be buried in one of those pretty buildings in the cemetery.
Being a kid, I wasn’t yet familiar with the term “mausoleum,” or the type of people for whom they are typically reserved.
By my 20s, at the height of my towering-footwear obsession, I’d amended that request to having my body cremated, and the ashes sprinkled in the shoe department at Bergdorf’s. A pinch in the heel of a pump over here. A dash in the toe of a stiletto over there. A light dusting around the sandal selection. A little bump down inside one of those beautiful, sky-high Louboutin boots.
And while I still think it’s a pretty good idea, the passing years have left me with a bit more realistic view of my existence on Earth — as a fairly boring, bunion-having, loafer-wearing woman to whom no monuments are likely to be built, during my time here or after it.
But hey, it would still be nice to leave at least a small impression, right?
Turns out, there’s a way to do that, and celebrate my excitement-free life.
It’s called Extreme Embalming.
Apparently, some funeral homes here in the states and in Puerto Rico offer the service, which allows the bodies of the dead to be dressed, clothed and posed doing things they enjoyed in life.
Like an 18-year-old New Orleans man who, at his funeral, clad in Celtics gear and Nike slides, was placed leaning comfortably in an easy chair with a gaming controller in his hands and a soda and some Doritos by his side.
Or the 53-year-old Treme woman, a self-described “party girl,” who was seated at a table in the front of the parlor, sunglasses on, menthol in hand, an ashtray and a Busch Light at her elbow.
A deceased taxi driver posed behind the wheel of his cab. A Green Lantern fan standing in a corner in full costume, hand in a fist on his chest.
An avid drummer behind his drum set, sticks clasped tight.
A boy looking laid back, one leg crossed across the other, hands in his lap, sitting among the family and friends gathered to remember him.
It sounds kind of weird at first, yes, a little morbid. Is it any stranger than being laid out flat in a wooden box with your arms straight down at your sides, though, really?
OK, maybe, but I wager that’s only because we’re not used to it.
I quite like to think of myself relaxing on a couch, a couple of sleeping dogs at my feet, The Great British Baking Show playing on the TV as I usher in eternity.
Shoot, you could even put a pair of heels on me for the occasion, since I could finally wear them again without agony.
Sure, it might scare a couple people initially. But once they got used to it, we could all just chill out and watch the bread episode together one last time.
Honestly, it wouldn’t be any freakier than some poor woman finding a bone fragment in her brand new Manolo Blahniks.
And you have to admit, it’d be memorable.
Katie McDowell is a lifestyles writer/copy editor for The Dominion Post. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.