Once you're dead - and you will be, before you know it - do you really want to spend the rest of eternity occupying a tiny plot of perfectly good land? Why? So your loved ones can lay flowers on it and dogs can come by and relieve themselves on your headstone later?
Screw that. These days, there are all sorts of cool things you can get done with your remains, if you know where to shop. You can...
When the husband of South London's Joanna Booth died, she did what we hope our loved ones do for us: she loaded his ashes into shotgun shells and killed every non-human thing in sight.
Her husband, James, was an expert on vintage shotguns before he slipped into a food poison-induced coma for 18 months, subsequently passing away at the age of 50. "It was not his dying wish," said Joanna, "but I remembered that he had read somewhere that someone had had their ashes loaded into cartridges and he thought it was very funny."
Taking the joke several thousand steps too far, she went to a shotgun cartridge maker and had a little bit of James crammed into 275 12-gauge shotgun shells. Joanna then had the bullets blessed by Rev. Alistair Donald (a local Church of Scotland minister who, in the process, proved the church is awesome).
With the newly minted, newly blessed James-filled bullets, Joanna and 20 close friends took to an estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland where they proceeded to shoot every animal they saw. By day's end, the bullets were spent and Mother Nature had finally learned not to fuck with the gun-totting tag team of James and Joanna Booth: 70 partridges, 23 pheasants, 7 ducks and a fox fell that day.
"James would've wanted me to do this."
You die at the hands of a brutal street gang. Your best friend/brother/father takes to the streets in the name of vigilante revenge. Finally he confronts the gang leader on a rooftop and says, "When you get to Hell, tell 'em Bobby sent you." Then he shoots him with a shotgun shell made from your ashes.
(Your name is Bobby).
We've all had this same conversation at one point or another: If you can choose your death, what would it be? Most people would probably say quick and painless. The next most popular answer would most likely be, "In a blaze of explosive fucking glory!" And while most of us probably won't get to bite the big one action movie-style, we can now ensure that our already dead bodies will.
British company Heavens Above Fireworks and the cult sounding, California-based Angel's Flight give you the option of treating your death like a Chinese New Year by mixing your ashes with combustible powder -- giving you the spectacular send off you may or may not deserve.
There are various packages you can choose from, allowing you to tailor your display to best suit your personality. Heavens Above's "Simple Farewell" and "Gentle Farewell" packages offer a classy, solemn and subdued display of mortars launching rockets into the air and exploding gloriously, a fitting way to honor someone that lived their entire life in constant fear of being silently labeled as "Showy" and "A big-fat attention whore."
If that isn't befitting of the recently deceased, then customers can do a total 180 and go for an all out, balls to the wall, explosiapalooza with the "Grand Finale" and "Spectacular Goodbye" packages. With these you'll be able to show the world that you over-compensated in every aspect of your life as a cavalcade of star shells, aerial mines, rockets and roman candles blast your dusty ass in a five-minute cacophony that will make God himself hold his ears.
Included in the "Spectacular Goodbye" and "Grand Finale" packages are the options to include the music of your choosing and, as the Heavens Above website states, to spell out "a name or message in fireworks."
Got a final "fuck you" you want to deliver? You can spell that out in the sky and have a family member upload that shit to YouTube. All of which is, of course, will be set to a totally awesome Nickelback megamix.
For those of you who prefer something less violent but more subtly creepy, Nadine Jarvis has a solution. She is an English product designer who designs things that never should be designed.
But when it comes to thinking-up alternative ways to dispose of a dead body she makes mafiosos around the globe envious of her artistry. Jarvis has embarked on a project to dispose of ashes in a way that will "lengthen death ceremony [sic] to give more time to come to terms with loss." And by that, she means things like making pencils out of your ashes.
Using the cremated remains, or "Cremains," one dead body can produce 240 pencils -- all but guaranteeing that you'll be dead long before you and your grieving family gets the chance to break them all in the most morbidly epic pencil fight ever recorded.
The box of pencils comes with a built-in sharpener, so that the pencil shavings fall back into the box, leaving your family with an urn that has more in common with the floors near the trash bin of every elementary school classroom than a human body.
Make plans to have your corpse pencils donated to the local library. Or, even better, an elementary school. You know you'll wind up haunting that shit. You'll be poltergeisting books and desks all around the room, while one priest cowers in the corner and screams "THE PENCILS! WE HAVE TO DESTROY THE PENCILS! ITS HIS BODY! HIS BODYYYYY!!!"