Remote Inuit Village Really Picked a Black Panther as Their School Mascot

The childhood behavior that drove my mother nuts – besides the fire-setting – was probably my late-night roaming. I remember being five years old and creeping out of my bedroom window carrying nothing more than a little doll blanket and just…going for a walk. It was a chance for me to be alone and not…


Could I Do Funerals in Pakistan?

Ever since I flew to Pakistan by myself without telling my family and married a man I’d never met, the prevailing question has been “Could you be an embalmer in Pakistan?” Probably not. Burials in Muslim countries are nothing like the kind of services I typically arrange here. Embalming and viewing almost never happen in…


Be More Normal-Looking

I don’t know if I’m just lucky or if I got into the funeral industry at the right time, but I’ve never had real trouble finding work…other than that rather unfortunate three-year period when I became sort of confused and joined what turned out to be a couple of criminal organizations and bounced around between…


The One-Person Call

One small matter to address – I totally don’t care if other funeral directors want to take credit for my work. I understand people are trying to do me a favor when they tell me they heard a funeral director claim my embalming job, and I don’t care, because I already got what I wanted….


Happy Birthday Mom

No mother shall be harmed on account of her child, nor shall the father be harmed because of his child. – Quran 2:233 The best thing my mom ever did for me was throw me out of the house when I was seventeen years old. I wasn’t done with school; I wasn’t going. I didn’t…


The Edge of Strange Worlds

I am drawn to the odd, the taboo, the nonsensical, the unfathomable, the edge; I have lived a life that speaks of constant seeking of strange worlds – including the occasional disastrous result – and in the end it will be said I lived many lives that were not like those of other people. Necessarily,…


I Will Patent This

I just found my new signature embalming move, and I’m not talking about those routine six-point injections like when I worked for SCI. Suspend the body! I’ve never seen anyone do this, but this might still be one of those obvious moves that everyone has been doing for years and I just learned about. If…


Twenty Years

He has been gone longer than he was here. I have always been a sentimental person who recognizes the importance of ritual. It’s why I am a funeral director. So I decided, on the 20-year anniversary, I was overdue for a trip to our hometown and where he died. I hadn’t been there since I…


Well, Did You Remove the Face?

I was optimistic when I opened the bag. For jumping off a bridge, it wasn’t too bad. He was in one piece; many jumpers are not. I’ve seen some that look like human gravel; they can’t be dressed and it’s hard enough just to move them. But this kid was in one piece, so I…


What A Depressing Job

For the first time since my brother’s memorial service, I cried at a funeral. I did a really nice job on my friend. He was positively glowing; guests were literally gasping over him and crowding around to take pictures and I came away from it feeling like I had done something nice for a fellow…