Coping: Taxidermy for Humans?

There we were, Elaine and me… Having out afternoon martins and musing about how yes, these are our Golden Years.  Bird watching while sipping and listening to Martin Denny tunes.  We moved on to discussing some of the finer points of the upcoming golf course development here at the ranch.  But there was a trip-wire…

One of the issues in laying out the course has to do with my mother’s remains.  She was cremated, as were her wishes, but she’d made it clear to me she wanted her ashes in a place where she’d have “a sweeping view” of the house and front yard for as long as possible.

Naturally, wish granted…


With the upcoming installation of the Cotton Mouth Creek Golf Course, I was trying to figure out what kind of view (if any) my late mom would like of the new golf endeavor.  Duffers parading in front of her view (*from the Great Beyond), or should the course take a dog leg around her view?  I tried to imagine what he choice would be.

Well, one thing led to another and first thing you know Elaine and I were deep into the topic of what we’d like have done with our remains when the time comes; or more properly, shortly thereafter.

Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it much, but here on the back-side of the great statin experiment, the subject seemed more pertinent.

“Well, there are only so many choices, really:  You’ve got the conventional burial, but that costs a coffin and ground rent for whoever’s left alive to write checks.  Or, like my mom and dad, there’s cremation….but there has to be something else…”

I must have sat there for a good five minutes mulling on things.  Way off in Elaine’s gene pool is some Cherokee Indian.  This led to thinking over a Indian-style a funeral fire might work for me…but with dry weather at hand in East Texas, I was pretty sure burning the husband’s remains on the land would be off the table (or off to jail)… so the musings continued.

Then in a flash, a thought crawled out of the dark corner of my mind where it had been hiding for several decades.

“Hey…Elaine…what about I get stuffed?  You know, like taxidermists do?  Then the kids could take turns hanging me on the wall at one of their homes or I could sit on the mantel…”

“George, you’re sick!  I can’t believe you could even come up with such a rotten idea.”

Well, that got me a bit defensive, so I laid out the case.

  1.  First off, Taxidermy is a fine and noble art.  People have their prized game stuffed and mounted.  In fact, I offered a $10 bet that within walking distant of our hovel in the East Texas outback we could find at least three homes with prize deer ‘racks’ and maybe a stuffed trophy-class taxidermied deer on the wall.
  2. Secondly, Museums are full of taxidermy examples:  How many life-sized coyotes and elephants and such have we seen?
  3. Beside, this being America and all, people have recently started to have their favorite pets stuffed.  Sure enough, Thunder Bay Taxidermy up in Ohio does pet preservation…  (Elaine sometimes refers to me as “…my pet…” so it’s in the ball park….
  4. And there’s some high tech stuff, too: PERPETUAL PET – Pet Preservation Freeze Dry Taxidermy Service where freeze-drying is employed….

Just because no one has gone on this track with human remains yet doesn’t mean it won’t eventually become a fad.  Hell, it could be a whole new industry and ‘Merica could lead the world for once.

I glanced at the cute blonde who was rolling her eyes….while Zeus the Cat eyed me suspiciously figuring my brain was up to no good, again.

So next I argued it’s a HELL of a lot cheaper than freaking PYRAMID.  (Although in truth, I don’t know as mound-building of pyramid building is legal in Texas or not.  I’ll have to check on that one. Don’t know how long it would take Jared to “tractor-up” a 100-foot base pyramid, either, or what the cost of diesel would be…)

Elaine gave me a long and considered look.  You know, the kind that Raymond Reddington gives Mr. Kaplan (the Cleaner) in the TV show The Blacklist when he’s considering something.

Presently, she announced I was sick, but that so is the whole country anymore, all whipped up in  left-wing nuttiness and SMS virals.

“Well, I suppose you could put it on your web site but I think it’s a terrible idea…”

“Yes, dear, it is.  Anti-religion, probably illegal too, but in today’s world, that just about ensures it will take off like a rocket!”

“North Korean?”

“Humphf” I snorted.  She had me there.

I was sticking to my guns.  The idea of spending the Hereafter in an urn like my mom, or being dispersed at the bottom of Elliott Bay in Seattle in one of the prime salmon fishing locations like Pappy doesn’t sound as appealing as adorning a wall with a good view of the bar and maybe watching TV now and then.

I seem to remember seeing a deer mounted on a wall once that had a bra laced around his head…apparently it had been a hell of a party the night before.  I might be up for a few antics like that, I mean with all proper respects paid, and all.

Another point in favor of taxidermy is the fact my eye surgeries have worked out perfectly.  Might an eternal pair of glass eyes work out better?  Less maintenance than RGP contacts, that’s for damn sure.

So, there it is.  Today’s breakthrough new idea to expand the American Economy.

OK, maybe it’s a bad idea. But in order to make sure you’re thinking through ALL the possibilities in Life, you’ve got to study the bad ones, too.  This effort wasn’t wasted.,

“Come my pet…time for dinner…” Elaine was saying.

I didn’t need to be asked twice.

There was one odd thing about dinner I should mention:

By the end of it, I felt stuffed.

Major Golf Concerns Explained

My buddy the Major up in Gig Harbor, WA. is worried about the budget for our planned golf course.

“You do realize that the budget for developing a single green can run as high as $40,000 on a serious course?” he informed me.

I confessed that I had not looked into having a Pro design the course, and I would leave that to Oilman2’s son, Jared, who armed with his Aggie Hort. degree ought to be able to figure out something much cheaper.

“Tell you the truth, Major, I was thinking a few bags of sand, maybe mix in some peat moss, till it all in, lime it a bit and plant a mix of sun and shade grass.  Surely something’ll sprout up.  Whatever it is, we’ll play it.”

“You know how BIG the greens are?”

“Uh, no….er….”

Well, think 40 by 90, maybe?”

“I was thinking more like 15-foot circles….”

And OMG just mowing the fairway!  Think about mowing times…good grief! Like you have free time?

“Well, just bush-hogging’s all I had in mind….”

Aw, what kind of GOLF course are you building?

The conversation went on for several more minutes as I stumbled through my low-rent district concept.  I could hear the “raised eyebrow” over the phone.

Afterwards, I went digging into the early history of golf. (Some dandy info over here.)

I like playing golf on those great big wide fairways and monstrous putting greens as much as the next guy.  But when it all comes down to it, golf is supposed to be fun.

When everyone plays with the same clubs, same dimpled balls, same course map, same GPS to figure out distance to to the pin…and a standard 6″ cup….there’s something about the magic of the game that goes away.

Just like there’s something missing between hot dogs cooked on a stick over an open camp fire versus the kind boiled in water on the stove.

There’s an essence to some things in life.  Just like you don’t need a $5,000 custom-turned bamboo fishing pole to catch fish, either.  A $100 rig will catch as many fish.

Yet the common thread – and I don’t know that I communicated it well to the Major, or not – is that humans are joyous, fun-seekers, and simpler is often better.  I knew as much from when we grew up, riding bikes around a church yard to see who could make the circuit faster. Idiot repetition is great fun.  Why those playing cards clothes-pinned to our wheels made as good a noise as any Honda 50 and saved us both a bundle to boot.

It’s never so much about a winning – and that’s true in spades in golf.  It’s more about the joy, fun, and camaraderie of the game, the sport, or the hobby.

You see it everywhere when you go looking for it, too:  I don’t care what the hobby is, in most you can have as much fun with $1,000 as you can with $200,000.  I cut my son some slack on sky-diving gear…there’s thrift and then there’s stupidity.

Take ham radio, though:  A used radio off eBay for $200 and a $50 bucks for antenna wire and cobbled up insulators from Lowes or Home Despots can result in as much pleasure as a $25,000 tower, radio and humongous linear amplifier.  I keep both at the ready…depending on mood.

With a three-day weekend just ahead, this kind of thinking is the core of living…and the stupid LameStreamMedia never talks about this real stuff.

I don’t know if this is something that arises from people driven to specializing in something – like golf courses – or what?  Or maybe we’re just driven by our nature to Bigger Better by some cultural genetic defect.  What got us from Mud Pies to Pyramids, anyway?

Back to the first tee:  I’ve never made a 40-foot put in my life.  Nor, come to think of it, a 30-footer….or truth be told even a 15-footer on a terribly varied green.

This raggedy-ass golf course is  just like 10 watts of ham radio can be as much fun as 2,000 watts.  I don’t need a 100-foot green so the 15-footers should be as much (or more) fun as those $40,000 greens.

Then again, how many golf courses will let you carry a 12-gauge in your bag?  Only one that I can think of…

Just a theory mind you, but going through life I’ve always worked on optimizing the “Happiness Equation.”  Cost-per-smile and cost-per-good memory is what matters.

I seriously doubt the early games of golf were played on surfaces as good as what I’m aiming for here.  And those must have been fun or the sport would have died out long ago.

But we shall see…

Elaine’s got plans for something unique in the way of a new approach to sports, too…so drop by Monday and I’ll fill you in as details become available.

Write when you get rich (or manage a hole-in-one),

41 thoughts on “Coping: Taxidermy for Humans?”

    • Well, now, hang on a minute. Let’s think about this. Bill; Hillary; it’s too late for Johnson and, thank God, Regan; McCain; Schumer; Cheney and Rumsfeld. Presidential libraries. A dart room. 5 bucks a throw. $40 T-shirts that say “I stuck it to ol’ so-and-so”. You could take these places off the public dole with that kind of income.

  1. Ah, Martin Denny’s Exotica music. If there’s anything that stokes the memories of the adults I loved to be around as a kid his music will certainly usher them into my consciousness where they live again.

    For burial instructions I’ve given my wife and kids strict instructions that, #1, I’m not to be buried in some monkey suit, reasonably good work clothes only and, #2, above all, NOT PICKLED. Some of my Russian and Greek Orthodox family members have shared with me the Eastern Mediterranean belief that the soul can hang around the body for up to a year after being separated from it. As much as I’m attached to this ol’ bod when a tool is used up it’s time to move on to whatever’s next, my older F350 notwithstanding. That and saving as much money as possible on the mortician’s bill is my great desire. A pine box on a pair of saw horses ought to help with that. Maybe a little Martin Denny playing in the background.

    • Up to a year – that’s pure superstition. I’ve heard three days maximum for the soul to linger around the body until it moves on toward the Light!

      • Are you Greek? The way my family hangs onto things I may just walk out in the pasture and bury myself!

  2. Here’s another creative way to dispose of used people:

    My kids know my wishes: Cremation and then sort me into a case of Mason Jars. Everyone can have one, take me out on special occasions, put me on the mantle, decorate with funny hats, whatever.

    With our “mobile” society (whether we want to be or not) burial in the old family plot is a thing of the past. The cost is ridiculous and takes up a lot of good land that could be used for the living. Maybe I’m too practical.

  3. George,

    Look up Jeremy Bentham.

    As for myself, I’ve instructed the wife to use a large garbage bag set out at the curb.

  4. Bob Hope lay dying, age 100, and his wife mentioned that he hadn’t yet picked a cemetery from their short list.

    “Which cemetery do you want to be buried in?” she asked?

    His reply: “Surprise me.”

  5. My husband was cremated and every time I take a trip somewhere, I carry some of his ashes to leave in a place I think he would have liked. Here are a couple – wine tasting garden area at Chandon Winery in Napa Valley and outdoor cigar smoking area in Las Vegas. RIP.

  6. My contribution about golf facility. It’s a quote from a 90 plus year old member of the Tuskegee Airmen, who had a sweet swing, I might add. Could not see where the ball went after 100 feet, but has a silky smooth swing. He said, “Golf should only be played on the range.” So true. Lot of conversation and fun. George, have a robot pick up the balls. Or, it’s another activity … mowing the range and picking up balls with a shag bag. Even Hogan stopped putting late in his life. His caddy did it.

  7. George, if you want to get stuffed, just go to Golden Corral, Cicis or any Chinese Buffet.

  8. In Texas, if you own your land, you can establish your own cemetery. You just have to provide a point for public access. This is in case the land is sold, to avoid isolating the cemetery.

    So George, you can spend some tool money getting chisels. Then you can take a day a week and make yourself a YUUUGE monument (think Georgia Guidestones) with a solar powered waterfall and whatever natural landscaping you want!

    You can leave a crazy and cryptic message that will go nuts over the internet. (NOTE: include extraterrestrial references in cryptic note)

    This is cheaper and you get to leave your mark on your land after you pass! You can leave a cryptic mystery behind for future generations to make up stories about…LOLOL

    • This man, is utterly brilliant! Something like that is EXACTLY what I would do. I’m only 53, but I can start thinking about how to go about it, and hopefully have the time to complete it…

      • @ Phil –

        If aliens had a sense of humor, well maybe the Nazca Lines were just some stoned aliens bored out of their gourd?

        Or the pyramids were built because aliens told the ancients that building one would make them immortal, as they snickered to each other on the way back to their ship?

        Or maybe in the America’s they suggested the natives would get lots of goodies if they sacrificed to the full moon on top of a pyramid at the full moon? And then they wandered off, saying “Jeez the little brown guys are dumb as mud, eh? Let’s get back to Perspectica – I’m tired of the boonies.”

        That train of thought is what made me suggest that to George – he likes stirring things up, and a multi-generational ‘stir’ is right up his alley…

  9. perhaps a visit to elkhart’s golf course and see if that owner is happy. i’m going with the 1/2 acre croquet setup here on “chigger hill”.

  10. Yes, taxidermy for humans…very interestink. (Artie Johnson/Rowan and Martins Laugh-in). Perhaps we can have you at your gravesite George, with a pre recorded message. ” Hi everybody my name is George, perhaps you will remember me from the second great depression I followed and predicted back in the “teens” ?? Ask your grandparents about it and I am sure they will tell you how I helped them save a bundle. No, can’t remember?? Well too bad, as you could probably use my thesis on “What the Millenials were never taught in school”

  11. As far as golf courses: I’ve seen some nice 3’ish hole home courses. Make 2-3 of the greens double, have 2-3 putting lines, and play long-short-short drives in a circle (pars: short-3, long-3, and long-4). Water is only needed for the Approaches/Greens.

    Easy maintenance 9-hole ‘Executive’ course.

  12. There is a company in the US that will turn your cremated remains into a diamond for Elaine. Its about $2,000. You lose weight, she gets something valuable out of the deal, and you get to hang around Elaine until she goes.

    Or you can move up here to Canada and I can push you out on an ice flow in the spring.

  13. George, your concerns regarding the low bucks golf course has an answer. Design your course to accommodate the up and coming on strong game of Disc Golf. Every bit as challenging as chasing the little white ball. Scored very much as traditional golf, the Disc Golf game is 9 or 18 ‘baskets’ rather than ‘holes.’ The skills involved in flinging the disc are equal to the selection of clubs in traditional golf. Different aerodynamics of the discs give you anything between drivers and putters while the physical activity somewhat surpasses golf with clubs. The ‘baskets’ are easily movable so the course never becomes boring and you could still fit the 12 guage into a carry-cart if you like.

  14. Oh God, the visual! George in the buff mounted on the mantel like Elf on the shelf. Ooo, NO!
    As for a ‘rack’ I doubt that your ‘rack’ would qualify as a trophy? How ever a full figured woman might.

    We have donated our remains to the university as they can’t get enough cadavers. They pick up, back and hack then cremate if desired. Saves cash, wows the students (look no brain or wow what liver) and the kids don’t have to do anything. Works for us.

  15. George, your taxidermy talk reminds me of an old joke that involved sequinned TV/Movie cowboy Roy Rogers and his fringed-wife Dale Evans.

    Roy loved his horse “Trigger” so much that upon the steed’s death he had it stuffed and mounted in a rearing position and placed him on permanent display in the Roy Rogers Museum in Victorville, Ca; When Roy’s devoted German Shephard “Bullet” died, he too was stuffed and mounted to dance eternally around Trigger’s upraised hooves. Dale’s horse “Buttermilk” was also preserved when the time came. As the story goes… Dale desperately hoped that Roy died before she did!

    The museum eventually moved to Branson, Mo and closed in 2009. A major auction followed and Trigger, Bullet and Buttermilk were snapped up by western-themed RFD-TV. Most recently they were exhibited at the TX Cowboy Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth. Get along, little Doggie!

  16. dear Mr. Ure, i built a six hole golf course in my backyard many years ago. i put small buckets in the ground for cups. i stuck old hockey sticks in the ground for flags. the longest drive was about 100 yards. pars were all 3’s. didn’t have greens, just mowed grass or tamped down dirt. had a tournament every end of the school year at my annual party, with trophies made in the industrial arts dept. it was great while it lasted, and it didn’t cost much.

  17. My cousin works in the funeral industry and says the trend to cremation is growing fast because of costs. Every state has different laws regarding corpse disposal and embalming is typically not required (if you don’t, bury or burn them fast before rot sets in.)

    Another new trend is green cemeteries. No embalming, no concrete vault, much lower cost.

  18. Why did the bear climb the tree ?
    He liked the knotholes

    Thank goodnesss oroville dam is doing good

  19. my school of thought is that since are bodies are energy – energy never dies. The physical body does – dying is just like a snake shedding its skin. The ‘essence’ of who we are continues on – just in a different form. No need for any family or friends to keep physical reminders of me when I am gone – no burial plot for sure, no stuffing, just cremate me and dump the ashes, since I am long gone already.

  20. Golf course: Think Par 3. these were popular about 40 years ago. All holes par 3, small greens, make for fast play but better than miniature golf.


    There is a guy -don’t remember if it was for science or art, but the product was on display and toured – that was plasticizing bodies. They were shown in cutaway, etc. That’s a possibility and better than old fashioned taxidermy which is the skin stretched over a form that only lasts a few years without expensive upkeep.

    • George quit synchronizing with me okay I’m going to give you some it’s called singer loopers well maybe later, I’ve got three cats to male 1 female and you know my bar here I call it my bar but that’s the place where I drink my beer don’t drink liquor and smoke cigarettes and the only drug I do is maybe and ibuprofen maybe once every 6 months but anyway I’m sitting here at my bar I got some old mail that I put up here well with my electric bill and cat jumps up here and I didn’t notice and then all the sudden I look at on this white paper envelope something red it’s blood and it’s like no this cat female cat must have just had some babies yeah she was getting in Lost she came up here to show me that envelopes and I’m like okay I can accept that you’re telling me you’re showing me right in front of my face are all my envelopes I have blood stain envelopes with shows me that she just had a baby Oran group of baby so something of that nature

  21. Martin Denny tune(s) as in plural? I thought there was only one hit (Quiet Forest)? Of course that one song could easily be looped.

  22. Years ago I signed up to be used for spare parts or research with the remainder to be the responsibility of the accepting hospital or medical school. BTW, sometimes the survivors are responsible for transportation to the facility. Now in my mid-70s I am thinking about other alternatives as the old bod is probably not choice meat anymore.

    I am reminded of a trip through Mongolia where I encountered a hill used for “sky burial”. The undertaker is called “the butcher” and the birds do the job. Seems eco-friendly to me!

  23. As to how simple GOLF can be:
    At Scout Camp when little big Al was in it we had scoutmaster golf, where you had to make your club(s) with things found in camp, such as small saplings with a good root knot for a club head. Had to make your own ball as well. Later I found a good YouTube Vid on making your own wooden ball, wish I had seen it then.
    The course was laid out by the Scouts, sort of half obstacle course and half scavenger hunt. Find the area the “hole” was hidden in. The course can change every day if you wish, to a different location, to make it interesting.
    The hole was a circle you get your ball into kinda like ….(Hmmm.)
    Have you considered “disk golf?”
    They have them in parks and college campuses now. You might oughta check it out.

  24. Your golf course idea reminded me of when I was last in Ireland. Passed a course on the way to Lahinch, which is a seaside resort town. Blowing cold Irish rain coming in from the sea, tall grass, and a castle ruin in the middle of the fairway. And golfers out there playing! That was a rough course!

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