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Frisco Utopia

[whitespace] Fantastic Funerals

By Hank Hyena

Death in Frisco is presently a sad sniveling affair: muttered elegies, raven suits, clods of dirt clanging on caskets. We're not enjoying the interment of our dear ones; no ecstasy is being exuded that we're still alive. Let's be honest: The Grim Reaper flapped past us to scythe them, so let's celebrate with gluttonous rituals, barbarous burials teeming with keening, dancing and drugs, horrific parades punctuated by shrieks, copulation and animal offerings. Let's fashion fabulous fiery funerals--unforgettable, photogenic. If we mourn magnificently in an imaginative manner, tourists will flock to Frisco with video cameras. We'll get rich off the dollars they squander in documentary wonder. My wild wake notions include the five following:

Hindu Happenings: Varanasi, India, captivates millions of vacationers eager to witness ghoulish good-byes on the Ganges. Frisco should copycat the spicy subcontinent's funereal flair. Sari-ed and Nehru-jacketed relatives can carry carved coffins wailing and winding through North Beach, then boisterously burn their beloved in flaming pyres at Pier 39. Authentic ashes can be sold to excitable tourists here; big battered bones and charred skulls (marketed wisely) could help dry the grief of their loss. No wives or servants can be tossed on the flames, though--laptops and Rolodexes must be incinerated instead.

Mummy Museum: Cairo is a long way to go to peer at a pharaoh. My plan is to lure those necro-loving tourists here instead, with our own low-budget, easy-access, fully air-conditioned Frisco Pyramid. Let's slab and shape McLaren Park (no one uses it now, right?) into a tremendous three-sided World Wonder, plated with faux-antiquarian Egyptian concrete. We can entomb all our dead shriveled mayors and OD'd rock stars in the labyrinthine interior, with a sacrosanct central vault reserved for Joe Montana and other Illuminati of the Super Bowl Dynasty. A huge sandstone Sphinx outside with Herb Caen's leering visage would be appropriate.

Viking Götterdämmerung: Urban Teutonics with pagan proclivities might want their flesh burned dramatically in a Norse dragonship. Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park would suit this Valkyrie purpose--the toy-boat nerds that putter their motorized vessels there on Saturday afternoons could dedicate the last decade of their life to constructing a huge craft to immolate themselves in. Nobody is barbecued in iron armor anymore, but a Volvo sedan parked on the stern would be a worthy substitute. With luck, the "Burning Ship" spectacles would be more excessive than "Burning Man"--pyromaniacs could stay home Labor Day weekend instead of trekking to the Nevada desert.

Catholic Cannibals: Vatican fans have been eating the Eucharistic "body and blood of Jesus Christ" for 2,000 years. My hunch is that they're bored of snacking on symbolism--they're itching to sink fangs into some honest-to-God human flesh (tastes like pork). My proposal is this--dead Catholics could sacramentally contribute to their religion's revival by getting their corpses sliced, blessed and pressed into bite-sized wafers ready for Mass consumption. Attendance will soar if Cannibal Communion is promised--vampire Goths with crucifix necklaces will pew up, fervent for flavor.

Body Balloons: Halloween and Dia de los Muertos need something nuevo, fresco and macho mucho morbido to kick life into the death holiday. I suggest skinning our expired ancestors--let's stuff them with helium so they float above us like angels or wrinkled dirigibles. Children can gleefully wave their great-grandparents overhead on sticks as they trick-and-treat through the neighborhoods. Piñatas are also a possibility--evil uncles and stepdads who molested kids in their care could be battered therapeutically every year, then sewed up, and slammed again, in the future.

Hate my ideas? Send your own to [email protected]

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From the July 5, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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