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The happiest place on earth - Speak Friend and Enter
Grammar and Lord of the Rings
The happiest place on earth
That's right, I went to Disneyland. OK, no I didn't. Actually I went to the Mt. Vernon Mortuary on Greenback today. It was for my Psychological Aspects of Death & Dying class. It was more or less a tour of the facilities, with lots of explanations and such. We started in the main church area where one of the Funeral Directors basically explained to us what she did, how she got into the industry (cause it's not like you can major in Undertaking), and answered questions. Then we went through these doors in the back that basically take you right to the main facilities. We started with seeing the cremation vault, where they of course burn the bodies. This process was fascinating to hear about. For starters, people are always burned inside something, but that can be a cardboard box or it can be a solid mahogany casket ($9,000 for the latter). Also, when someone is cremated, they do not leave ashes, what is commonly referred to as "ashes" are actually bits of bone. We found out that although the normal cremation takes about 2 1/2 hours, they actually have to check on it to see if it's done. Ick. From there we walked down the "hall of death" as they refer to it. We saw a glimpse into the fridge where bodies are stored if they are not ready for embalming or burial, usually because an ID has to be made or a family member has not arrived yet to make arrangments. Mostly covered, but one guy's feet were hanging out. That was sorta weird. Other people in the class were saying it looked fake. In the hall, there were boxes with bodies in them - they said they did that sometimes because of the temperature in the hall. Then, we got to talk to the guy doing the embalming process. I found out that this basically means that an incision is made just above the collarbone and a tube is inserted. This tube pumps in formaldehyde/embalming fluid for a preservation effect while the body's fluids are pumped out. They also do cleaning and such here. There were 2 bodies being worked on when we went in, but they were covered. Earl (the embalmer) said that one was an 87-year old lady, and she would take much longer than most because she died of a heart condition and her arteries were in bad shape, so he had to do the pumping process in her neck, then in her arms, then in her legs to make sure it was done right. I also found out that AIDS can survive 24 hours in a dead body. From there we went into the preparation area adjacent to it. Here the bodies that have been embalmed are kept for the final process. It's where they do makeup and dress the bodies and basically get them ready for viewing and/or burial. They were several bodies here while we were there, all covered. The caskets for them were across the room. We heard a couple stories about the employees playing jokes on each other, like laying under a sheet on a gurney and then jumping off at someone. That pretty much did it for the morbid stuff. We went upstairs and saw the room where they have all the caskets available to look at so families can decide what they want. They went from like $2,400 to $10,000. The second-most expensive was the kind that JFK was buried in. We also saw a bunch of urns and some of the things families can use for cremation. I never realized how different urns can look, all you ever see are the jar type thing, but they had like little miniature monuments and some really cool marble ones. That pretty much did it. Interesting trip. I didn't really know a lick about that stuff so I learned a lot. Which was basically the point.

The rest of the day has been spent online, watching movies I've seen a zillion times, playing Road Rash, napping....yeah. I think I ate at some point too.

Did anyone else read my story?

Currently Blasting: In Flames - The Jester Race

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