Turning Wastrels Into Waste
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Somewhere near Seattle, tucked anonymously into acres of warehouses and light-industrial workshops, the first full-service human-composting funeral home in the United States is operational. —News item, NYT Business section.
Lee Hays, of the establishment-aggravating old folk group The Weavers, had the idea early, simple and neat, when he sang In Dead Earnest:
If I should die before I wake /All my bone and sinew take/Put me in the compost pile/To decompose me for a while. /When radishes and corn you munch,/You may be having me for lunch/And then excrete me with a grin,/Chortling, “There goes Lee again."
But since nothing in America remains simple and neat, he might have foretold that one day, it would become big business.
“Recompose costs $5,500 for everything: the body pickup (in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties), the paperwork, the process itself and an optional service. (Body transport from further away can be arranged, for an extra fee, and Recompose has already accepted bodies from California and the East Coast.)”
As competitors have already sprung into action, and the trend-wind blows fierce and wide, new vistas open, too, for redemption of family misfits -- quite literally, putting black sheep relations out to pasture -- triggering a crying need for a new anthem; and we are certain Lee would agree.
The Family Dirt: Your Reprobates Recycled
Hope you’re enjoyin yer potatoes, they used to be my alkie Dad
Yer kale salade is thanks to avaricious Auntie Min,
My gouging great-grandmother Maisie’s been a-pushin up the daisies
Since the fam’ly dirt filled up our compost bin.
For rutabagas, you can thank my bad deceivin' Uncle Joe
And fer the juniper in yer every-nightly chugalug of gin;
He welshed on all of his divorces, but he’s fertilized five courses
Now that the family dirt packs our compostin bin.
Uncle Harry the nogoodnik growed the cherries in yer pie
For yer whipped cream, cows munched the grass above my deadbeat cousin Bert
We can forgive the hell they’d lead us, now they’ve all come back to feed us
Now we’re compostin with that good old fam’ly dirt.
Should you find yer meal repeatin when you rise up after eatin
Take good comfort from my tweetin and don’t let yer spirits droop,
When they ring that final bell, where your soul goes, who can tell,
But be it heaven, or be it hell -- yer ass is in the soup