Comedy is Easy, Dying is Hard

29 Apr Comedy is Easy, Dying is Hard

I don’t want to be buried in Jersey,” my husband quipped the first time I said we needed an exit plan. Though I’d always enjoyed Martin’s humor, I needed him to take this seriously.

“Where would you like to be?” I asked.

“Here,” he answered. “I plan on staying alive.”

“I love our apartment too,” I said. “But the staff doesn’t do embalming.”

Martin and I had been a script writing team, working on a lot of television shows. Writing comedy was easy compared to making a decision about how to die.

Long before the internet, I decided to check out caskets so called a company’s 800 number. When their photos arrived, Martin wouldn’t look at them, saying, “Just put me in a pine box.”

“What do you think of ‘the Harrison’?” I held up the glossy shot of a bronze casket .

“Those aren’t Jewish caskets,” he said. I called again and a second batch of photos arrived. A feminist, now I had a different problem: all had male names. Being buried was getting annoying. “How about we get cremated,” I suggested to my husband. He resisted. The Jewish tradition is to be buried. “If that’s what you want, you figure it out,” I told him. “And let me point out that just counting the Jewish cemeteries in New York that begin with ‘Mount’, there are seven.”

Maybe that’s the dog wagging the tail, but when a couple disagrees on something – and we did when we bought a new dishwasher, vacuum, microwave and quart of ice cream, we resolved our differences mostly because we had to. (We got both mocha and caramel swirl.) I hope I’m right that cremation is a better option for us because the urn I made is waiting and that’s where I’m hoping to end up.

Those who contact me to design cremation urns ( seem to have figured it out.