I was at a funeral a few months ago, which led to a visit to a cemetery. (Cartoon after jump.) As the coffin was lowered into the ground, I looked around at the neighborhood that this newly deceased body was about to enter, and I was struck by how ridiculously large some of the headstones were – a few of them cast shadows over entire rows of smaller grave markers. This cartoon image explains rather crudely how I feel about those who pollute the skylines of our nation’s cemeteries.
NOTE: THE SPLENDID MARBLES CARTOON CAPTION CONTEST IS DIRECTLY BELOW THIS POST.
I must sound completely without compassion for those that recently joined the ranks of the dead, but I am not. I grieved like everyone else in attendance. I could not, however, fail to be disturbed by the towering walls of granite and marble that jutted up from the ground every ten to twenty feet. What nerve.
It’s bad enough that we clog up perfectly good land even after we’re dead, but I find these monuments to one’s self obscene. Your loved ones will visit based on the merits of the life lived by the person now six feet under, not by the size and expense of the headstone. These giant, modern day obelisks seem to scream out “I’m over here!” Why don’t these people arrange to have their Lamborghinis and Maseratis, or other trappings of wealth and power parked above their coffins as well?
This is just a wild guess, but I think it’s our society’s fascination with death and power that causes some people to choose such ostentatious headstones to mark their graves. When we are young, we are told to plan and save for retirement. When we’re fishing and golfing in gated retirement communities, we’re told to prepare for death, which is now fast approaching. All along the way, from cradle to grave, we collect a lot of crap we don’t need and display it as a banner of our success and relevance.
All of this rambling is just that. I don’t know exactly why people arrange for such ridiculous headstones to mark where their body is decomposing. All I know is that I’m going to be cremated, my ashes placed in a stylish, yet moderately priced urn, which will feature my smiling mug to freak out my loved ones. Then again, maybe I’ll pass on putting my face on the urn.
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