I was driving along I-95 in Connecticut when I spotted the billboard for “Direct Cremation”.

cremation with confidenceTraffic was just slow enough for me to read a few lines of the pitch. It promised no fuss, no delays, no middlemen, red tape … and a money-back guarantee if unhappy with service. I wasn’t sure who’d get the money back.

I started laughing over Marty Robbins and “El Paso” playing on the oldies CD. I was still laughing when Marty’s gunfighter died in the arms of his young sweetheart. Instead of a tearful funeral and the strains of “Streets of Laredo,” maybe the gunfighter should have had a direct cremation. No muss, no fuss, no mournful boot hill goodbye.

Direct cremation may be the latest answer to a world of violence. Mob hits, drive-by killings, gang bang slayings with collateral damage. Stressed out serial killers and contract button men doing “jobs.” The bodies just keep piling up.

Medical Examiners are overworked. Cemeteries are running out of room. The U.S. government, in its infinite wisdom, only gives each citizen a whopping $242 per body.

What to do?

Direct cremation!

Speaking of overworked medical examiners, I’m reminded of a story I covered in Boston.


Goes back 40 plus years. The county medical examiner was “under the gun” with some of his findings. He didn’t look like Quincy, Ducky, or even the sexy Lacey from the “Castle” series. He was a sad, tired, bleary-eyed man in the autumn of his years.

Your intrepid reporter was on the scene. The M.E. was momentarily diverted so I could check the autopsy lab and the morgue. I found the controversial corpse and made a cursory examination. I confronted the M.E. about his findings on the case. He insisted the victim was stabbed to death. I asked him about the several large bullet holes I’d just found. He was speechless.

Direct cremation would have avoided a lot of controversy and embarrassing questions. It’s an idea whose time has come.

These are also known as “drive-through” cremations, I’m sure you can find more if you look. Google “drive through crematorium.” I’m sure every mobster should have these places on speed-dial.

Categories: Anecdote, Boston, Death and Dying, Garry Armstrong, Humor

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. It’s a lot more expensive here Garry, but still a lot cheaper than the alternatives.


  2. A great post Garry! Had to laugh – money back guarantee indeed…. reaching out with a hollow arm from beyond the grave or out of the urn. The mind boggles 😉
    I have seen videos of drive-through ‘resting places’ – not for the cremation but to ‘greet’ a beloved one in the casket, nicely made up, behind a huge window and you drive past it very slowly and hopefully reverently….. For those with no time to mourn – and yes, I AM being sarcastic for once! I’m afraid it would cost you extra, however!
    In Switzerland, nearly everybody gets cremated anyway, in France however, the most agnostic country I’ve ever visited and lived in, a cremation is hardly ever done. Different countries, different values, different habits.
    In England you could, already many years ago, have ‘forest or tree burials’ with caskets from reeds etc. My dad is buried ‘anonymously’ in a large and beautiful tree-shaded corner of the cemetery. No cross, no stone, a hole with the urn in it, grass growing over him and all the others, with benches to rest, no flowers (except at the funeral itself) – very peaceful and ‘passing’ as life as such is.


    • Cremation used to be unusual, but it isn’t anymore. Graveyards ARE overcrowded and they charge a LOT of money for that tiny piece of ground … and with the way things are going, they are going to dig you up in 50 years anyway. You don’t buy the ground. You rent it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s $255 Garry, it’s gone up a cost of living increment of $13.., or in this instance, the cost of dying. Our wonderful Government has decided that $255 is all it should cost. This, of course, has given our unregulated funeral directors a reason to bump up the cost to the low tens of thousands. just you wait and see, they will find a reason to jack up the cost of cremation as well….


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