Monday, June 3, 2013
Crypt Flies, Tissue Vendors, and Funeral Home Follies
When your husband works in the funeral industry people are just dying to know the ins and outs of such a job. Luckily, I am here to educate you on these things. Tonight you will be able to sleep well because some of your strangest questions will now have an answer.
I am always excited to be invited to my husband's events. I would be able to attend more of them if we didn't have children at home that want to be fed. I thought I fed them yesterday but they are wanting to eat again. Anyway, yesterday I was able to go to the Funeral Directors Convention as arm candy for my husband. I try to play my role well and clean up real nice. Last night was no exception. However, for a middle aged woman who is expected to play the role of the "life of the party", a late night event will be full of yawns and wonderings of just when I will get to bed. To remedy this I decided to take an evening nap so I would be fresh for the gathering. I dozed off around 5:30 and woke up right at 8:30 which was the time I was told to meet my husband at the party. I jumped up, freshened up my makeup, zipped my little black dress then noticed I had sheet marks on my arms. Apparently I had a really nice nap. As luck would have it, I had thrown a black sweater in my truck so was able to wear that to cover the sheet marks on my arms. Ready, set, GO! I am off to play the role of arm candy which I LOVE to play. I got downstairs to the lobby of the hotel where the convention is being held and took my position on the arm of the most handsome man I know and begin to socialize with the Funeral Directors. 10 minutes into the social hour, my husband leans over to me and says, "You have sheet marks on your face." I reply with, " I had a really good nap apparently. I will keep my head turned this way until the sheet marks subside."
Contrary to what you might think, being around funeral directors is very fun and entertaining. I love it actually. They are a jovial bunch. The persona you see when you are at need in their facility is a 360 compared to how they are in real life. I guess they are around so much sadness at work that they really ham it up around each other in social settings. One musing I heard was a group laughing about a horrible incident where a body kept leaking through the mouth and they had to keep wiping the body's mouth hoping the family would not notice. Another was a director talking about a mouth not being stitched tight enough and it came open during the night and the subsequent scrambling to get the mouth sewn back shut before the family arrived and saw the situation.
Being a funeral director and embalmer is actually artistry. They take their work seriously and want to please the family to have a good remembrance of their loved one. However, as with any job, there are times when things just happen. Like crypt flies. Did you know there was such a thing as crypt flies? They only breed in dead bodies. They resemble knats. Funeral homes can buy a "crypt fly bug zapper" which resembles an air conditioner. So the next time you are at a funeral home look around for an air conditioner type thing. It may not really be an air conditioner but a crypt fly zapper that keeps the pesky pests under control.
Also available for purchase is a computer program that will prevent you from accidentally digging up another body while making a spot for a new arrival. It's a pricy piece of software but I can see the need there. I would hate to disturb Aunt Edna while making room for Uncle George. This piece of equipment is extremely useful when you own an older cemetery where some markers may be so old and unreadable and possibly dislodged. This piece will get you back in line without dislodging a decayed relative.
My favorite quote of the night was from a funeral home owner talking amongst the group we were sitting with. He said, "I have GOT to get my sales up." I just scratched my head thinking how he could do that aside from going out and murdering a few or digging a hole and leading a herd of folks out on a senior citizens event where they accidentally fall into the hole. Seriously, how would he increase his sales?! He also stated that he doesn't sell many markers since he is 80% cremation. These are all normal conversations amongst funeral directors.
I will leave you today with a photo. I knew I was in the right place when I parked next to this: