The 6 Most Shameless Gimmicks Used by Funeral Homes

#3. Valentine's Day Dinner

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Say you're 75 -- why are you at a funeral home? Nine times out of 10, it's because you just lost a life partner. That other one time it's to take the wares for a test drive, see which casket you want for later on and put down $20 to reserve it, but guess what? They won't reserve it. You'll be dead -- who's holding them accountable? Now they have your $20 and you're going to be buried in a sack. Thus, Felix Clay points out the flaw in your brilliant scheme.

Anyway, back to lonely old people. Some funeral homes like to go that extra mile and offer support for the families of the deceased, grief support to help you get through dealing with loss. And maybe, after a few martinis and a long night talking to a dead body in the basement, one funeral home decided it would be a good idea to set up a Valentine's Day dinner for those left behind, because hey, you're single, why not mingle?

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"All your friends are dead? Me too! Zomg!"

The Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center has more than just a wholesome granola and wheatgrass smoothie of a name; it holds an annual Valentine's dinner featuring a catered meal, a social hour, and a barbershop quartet so that the living can listen to the music of the dead as well.

For its inaugural 2009 dinner, 45 or so guests had been invited, and most of them expressed a lot of enthusiasm for the idea and the other support groups offered by the funeral home, which is good for them if it works out, and only creepy to those of us who read about it judgmentally at home.

#2. Harley Hearse

For years, Harley-Davidson has been the quintessential manufacturer of badass motorcycles. For a brief time, Edsel tried making motorcycles, but they just looked like giant metal penises and they blew up way too easily. And since there are about 2.8 million registered bikes in the U.S., it's safe to say there's a good chance one or two of those owners want to go out in one final wild ride, and now they can, thanks to the Harley hearse.

As you may be aware, the modern hearse is basically a morbid station wagon that never takes you anyplace fun. Who needs their last ride in life to be so lame? Instead, the good people at the Harley Corporation have teamed up with some funeral homes to offer a ride in the Harley hearse, a Harley made for hauling that will drag behind it what for all intents and purposes is a glass trailer meant to house your carcass, but a little fancier than I just made it seem.

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"It's gonna be so badass when I die, man. I can't wait."

The West Monroe Funeral Home in Louisiana has just started offering the Harley, and Boot Hill Hearse has had one going since at least 2011. It offers you one final opportunity to show up the average sucker and maybe cop a feel of some biker mama titty. I assume the hearse is also full of biker mama titty. Why wouldn't it be? Someone needs to reassess their piss-poor business plan if it's not.

#1. The Best Funerals Ever

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Try to imagine the best funeral ever. What would it look like? The concept is a little odd because, if you're not being a little bit dicky, the answer should include whoever died being alive. But say that's not a possibility because of what we've already established about necromancy and the laws of nature. Given that the funeral has to happen, what would make it awesome?

Personally, I hope to one day be disassembled and have my various important and identifying parts fused with technology, such that, after everyone has entered the room for the service to begin, a giant robot bearing my face and hands but with some manner of dragon-like form and containing my vital organs will stomp into the room and recite something really profound that I had written ahead of time in a booming robot voice. Then it will lead a procession outside and I will dig my own grave with hydraulic scoop-shovel hands and bury myself while my robot sound system plays a medley of my favorite songs. No one's going to forget the day they saw that shit go down.

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"That Felix Clay funeral was so stunning, I'm going to use necromancy to bring him back and make love to him."

Until such time as that is a possibility, the tactless monsters over at TLC have a show to fill the gap in your life called, appropriately, Best Funeral Ever. It follows the employees of Golden Gate Funeral Home as they try to make funerals into lifelong memories for loved ones with epic and ridiculous parties to celebrate the lives of the dearly departed. No robots to speak of, but one client who enjoyed breakfast three times a day (which is its own entry in a different article about insane people) had a service that included preaching, flapjacks, and fried eggs. Because when you think "sunny-side up eggs and toast," you think "corpse in the room."

Other funeral parties have included a casket dipped in chocolate, a boxer who gets one last turn in the ring, and, of course, disco dance parties. Look, there's a video that isn't in any way tacky:

This couldn't be more a TLC show if midgets crept out of your TV, The Ring style, and made you a preposterous cake before a child dressed like a hooker did a dance routine for you. The most stunning part of this show and the funeral home in general is not the service they provide, but the garish and frightful appearance of the funeral director himself, his name embroidered on the collar of his own shirt as he practically sweats the money he's fleeced from people struck dumb by grief. But yeah, TLC.

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