No one likes to think about their own mortality or the burial plans that must be carried out after one's demise; I am no different. When one has an epiphany about one's ultimate end, though--a thought so mind-blowingly epic that it sends shivers rippling southward along the spine-highway--then that is an entirely different subject. I enjoyed one such moment a few days ago and decided that it was worth sharing here...because I am just THAT excited about it!
Death has been afoot in my social surroundings, as of late (my great aunt passed away as did the grandfather of one of my tutees), so perhaps that is what inspired my morbid revelation. The last thing I remember discussing before experiencing my life-altering thought was something about either wakes or funerals. Needless to say, it stands to reason that I would conclude as I did:
I want to be buried in a Jack Daniel's barrel.
I know--it's perhaps a bit trite and possibly even cliché...if only because it seems both apt and preposterous for such a fan of whiskey as myself to desire such a resting place for all eternity. But MORE than both of those things, it's just plain AWESOME!
I was giddy when I ran through my plan with Heather; she was less than pleased. Obviously discussing your spouse's (or any loved one's) burial plans can be distressing...but I ignored the obvious implications that my plan entails for me (chiefly me having to be dead for this to pan out) and focused instead on the sheer kick-assness of the whole thing.
Rocks glass half full, you might say.
Anyway...so I reasoned that a coffin can cost easily in the neighborhood of $8,000 or more, depending on what you get (the GPS feature just seems ridiculous to me...you're going either up or down and if you're not sure of which way you're headed, well...) PLUS the cost of the funeral service. When the final tally is made, you're going to be WELL into the $10,000 plus region in terms of total cost. Now, I have never bankrolled a funeral before so I cannot say that I am well versed in the expenses area of it but I have overheard a variety of conversations at wakes about the cost and I'm pretty sure that my estimate is on the lower end of the spectrum.
All that money spent to put a corpse in a box and then to bury the box. Seems a bit ridiculous, doesn't it?
Enter the Jack Daniel's barrel.
One can purchase one's own barrel at the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, TN for anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 depending upon the purchaser's state of residence and applicable taxes. Basically--it's on par with getting a coffin, right? WRONG! The difference is that, along WITH the barrel, one gets 237 750 ml bottles of Single Barrel Jack Daniel's, each individually numbered.
And therein lies the first part of the awesomeness: a funeral with something for everyone.
Now, if I were to perish, I would want my family to be taken care of financially. What better way to ensure this than to hold a raffle at the funeral?! Everyone who would like to participate would purchase a raffle ticket with the chance of winning a coveted bottle of Jack from my funeral barrel. I can't imagine more than five hundred tickets being sold for two hundred and thirty seven bottles...so the odds are almost one in two that you would win a bottle.
Heather, Timmy, and any future kids would be taken care of; one out of every two people who come walk away with a bottle of Single Barrel Jack Daniel's with a HELLUVA lot of sentimental value.
But that's not even the most awesome part of all of this!
I want to be charcoal mellowed just like my favorite whiskey.
Now I'm not sure of the logistics of this but I'm pretty sure that it will involve wood and fire. I doubt that Jack Daniel's distillery would allow me to be put into a bottle of Jack Daniel's...so we would need to figure out something else. More than likely I would just have to settle for being laid to rest inside of the barrel...which is fine. I mean, the problem is that the Catholic church condemns the crematory practice...but...come on, it's the Catholic church we're talking about here! They have a price for EVERYTHING! (Well, just 14th century indulgences and 20th century lawsuits I guess!)
No--seriously, I think the Church would balk at the idea of participating in a ceremony such as mine...so we might need to figure out something else. Maybe we'll just get the shittiest, cheapest coffin possible--like something from Kmart or Home Depot--a do-it-yourself sort of affair--and then have a burial ceremony in my yard. I don't think there are any Catholic stipulations about being buried in a cemetery so we do the "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" routine, they drop me down into the hole, toss some dirt on me, and then later take me back out. We head over to a crematorium and get me zapped to miniscule charbroiled Matt particles and then Heather can dump me into the barrel, which would then be displayed in the bar I hope to have in my future home's basement--sort of like a shrine both to me, to Jack, and to the art of drinking.
If Timmy ever decides that he wants to distill his own spirits then maybe he can find a way to incorporate my ashes into either a whiskey or a smoked porter, depending upon what he makes. Either way, a Jack Daniel's barrel offers A LOT more than a traditional casket does.
DISCLAIMER: this idea is INCREDIBLY awesome and I'm sure that people are VERY excited about the prospect of getting their raffle ticket(s) for the bottles. Please note that anyone who has anything to do with my UNTIMELY or otherwise fishy demise will be BANNED from both the funeral and from purchasing a ticket through a third party (just like the fruit store guy banning Kramer on Seinfeld!) In fact, just to be safe, this over is void before 6:56 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, March 29th, 2063. We will reevaluate the offers validity at that time.