At 50 I’m Not Ready For a Coffin in the Basement

At 50 I’m Not Ready For a Coffin in the Basement January 27, 2021

Just recently my wife and I got into a rather spirited argument over a grave topic.  She was looking at caskets online and wanted to buy an inexpensive one on eBay for $400.00 and keep it in our basement.

I told her it’s not necessary right now and to not buy it. I wanted to bury the conversation because I considered it a dead issue.

A dead issue…

Ok. She was preparing for her possible demise. She is not on death’s door or anything but wants to be prepared as you just never know when your gonna go. Because she is a lay Carmelite, she wants to make sure she gets an inexpensive place to lay her head while she’s underneath the earth waiting for the resurrection. No need for something fancy when something simple will suffice.  I mentioned this unusual argument in one of my FB groups and got some interesting responses.

I know a woman who had her casket made by hand of wood, then had shelving installed in it, and used it as a bookshelf. Not kidding. When she died, her daughter unloaded the book case, removed the shelves, and took the casket to the funeral home. The “lid” fitted onto the back of the shelving unit and came right off, flip it to the front and bingo.- Robin

My dad was rather fatalist, always saying he’d die before his 53rd birthday, requesting to be buried in a pine box, etc. It was so much a theme of conversation from him that when he turned 53 we threw him an ‘over the hill’ style birthday party. He died 2 months later. We got him the pine casket.- Donna

My dad was a fatalist, too. He swore he’d die at the age his mother was when she died. Literally counted down the days to turning 61. Long story short—he’s turning 78 next month and healthier (thanks to losing 160 pounds!) than he’s been since his early 30s.- Carrie

Philosopher Martin Heidegger’s belief was that if you want the best perspective on life you should spend more time in the cemetery. Perhaps your wife is thinking philosophically and is trying to tell you something.

So many unknowns..what if you move, are lost at sea, Jesus comes back before she dies… For every thing there is a season…buying your own coffin far in advance is just overly controlling of a fate we can’t control.- Mary

They have a lifespan, so a cheap one would probably deteriorate before she dies depending on her age. This is what insurance is for.- JJJ

I would only be concerned if she wanted to get yours.���� Dan

Makes a good memento mori….- Cameron

One of the reasons my wife was thinking of this particular course of action is because we also just recently started to work on our wills. And why not. A toilet seat falling from a deorbiting space station could fall out of the sky hit our Ford Escape as were traveling down route 495 causing us to veer off the road into a lake where we would drown or be nibbled on by man eating sharks that had been put there by some mad scientist. But perhaps we would die from hyperthermia as this would probably happen in the dead of winter in which case, we could easy veer into the lake from the icy road.

Seriously thou, I had a classmate of mine named Brendan N. LeBlanc who recently died at age 48. This is someone I had gone to CCD with, was in shop class with and went to a Young Life camp with. His sister Danielle died several years ago. And now both of them are dead. They didn’t reach 50 years old.

 And I just turned 50.


I am NOT going to whine. Yes, I have turned 50. Yes, this is an age that I used to consider old. Not middle-aged, like Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show; but actually old, like Walter Brennan as Granpappy Amos in The Real McCoys, gimping around cluelessly in a pair of bib overalls and saying things like “Con-SARN it!” But I do not choose to dwell on the negative. I choose to be an optimist, like the great explorer Christopher Columbus, who had a dream that he could sail a ship all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. People said he was crazy, but Columbus did not know the meaning of the word “discouragement.” (He also did not know the meaning of “nostril” or “weasel,” because he spoke Italian.) And so Columbus boldly set out and discovered the New World, and then he went back to Europe, where he died in obscurity at age 55, which is only five years older than I am right now! OH GOSH! MY LIFE IS OVER!!!
Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns 50 (1998)

Dave Barry Turns 50: Barry, Dave: 9780345431691: Books

The Second Vatican Council, began on October 11, 1962 by Saint Pope John XXIII and was closed by Saint Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1965. So just 6 years later on.

January 27th

International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Saint Angela Merici Feast Day
National Chocolate Cake Day

The big day arrived- Mark Steven decided to make his appearance a month early. He was due Feb. 26th. Went to the hospital about 2:30 pm and he arrived at 3:53 PM. His cord was unusual it measured about 4 feet long. Was so surprised to hear that we had a boy.1/27/71- My Mother’s Journal. 

The Catechist was born in Beverly Hospital.  I was an unexpected baby. My parents didn’t think they could have any more kids. But Surprise!! I was later Baptized within the next month, thus putting that mark (LOL) on my soul identifying me as a Catholic. My Dad was almost my age when he had me.

Feb 21st, 1971
Today Mark was Christened at St. Paul’s. Cathy & Tom Borseck are godparents with Uncle Art standing in for Tom, since he couldn’t be here. Afterwards went back to the house for dinner. George & Amelia Morit were there too and we had a lovely time.
Note of Interest
Mary, Patty, & Laurie all had their baptisms at St. Paul’s with only a godmother-their Aunt Helen. Their Uncle Art is godfather by choice-although not officially in the church records.

Feb 21st
During the Christening Laurie sat with Uncle Art & Aunt Helen. They asked her what picture she liked best. She said she liked the crucifix best. They asked why and she said “because I can see his belly button.

And here I am 50 years later. Still alive.

I’m told this is the age I should get an Colonoscopy.

But getting back in 1971 while I was a babe in my mother’s arms…

A shadowy group of people decided they needed to begin an investigation of the FBI, something that just needed to be done because nobody else was doing it. And they decided to do this with a burglary. This is the subject of a podcast of Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World in which he mentions an inclusive interview given to the Catholic Bard about his podcast.

Other things that happen the year I was born include…

The Voting Age in the United States was lowered to 18 yrs old when the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified.
Cigarette Advertising Ended on Television in the USA.
D.B. Cooper hijacked an airplane and later jumped out of the plane over Washington State with a parachute carrying $200,000 . He was never found…

Fallacies - D.B. Cooper

The year I was born was a great year for space exploration.

NASA’s 3rd mission to the moon aboard the Apollo 14 is another success for earth people conquering outer space.
While the US again conquers the moon, The Soviet Union launches the first space station, Salyut 1, into low Earth orbit.
While the Soviets take up space off the planet, the Mariner 9 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, namely Mars.

Other things and people that are also quinquagenarian like I am include…

The Comic Book Character The Swamp Thing
Disney World
Federal Express
Herbal Essences Shampoo
National Public Radio (NPR)
The Oregon Trail computer game
The first email sent by a man named Ray Tomlinson.

These Books
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

The Hiding Place: Corrie ten Boom: 9780553256697 -

These foods
Hamburger Helper
The Quarter Pounder from McDonald’s
Monster Cereals from General Mills

Pin on Halloween

These Movies
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Fiddler on the Roof
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) - IMDb

These TV Shows
All in the Family
The Electric Company.

Peter Falk as Frank Columbo | Columbo, Peter falk, Columbo peter falk

These Songs
American Pie  – Don McLean (#1 US)
Joy to the World  – Three Dog Night
Take Me Home, Country Roads –John Denver

I share the same birthday, January 27 as

Classic Music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Alice in Wonderland creator Lewis Carroll (1832 -1898)
Actress Donna Reed (1921 –1986)
Comic Book creator Frank Miller (1957)

I share the same birthday on the same year as Singaporean Chinese actress, model and singer Fann Wong (January 27, 1971-)

Fann Wong Bio: Marriage, Husband & Net Worth

I’m also the same age as
Marvel’s Jeremy Renner (January 7, 1971)
Goonies and Lord of the Rings Sean Astin (February 25, 1971)
Star Wars Ewan McGregor (March 31, 1971)
Catholic actor Mark Wahlberg (June 5, 1971)
Super successful rich guy Elon Musk (June 28, 1971)
Lord of the Rings Martin Freeman (September 8, 1971)
Parks and Recreation’s Amy Poehler (September 16, 1971)
Blessed Chiara Badano 
(October 29, 1971 – October 7, 1990)

Never Give Up: Blessed Chiara Badano: My "Spiritual Kid Sister"

For a few months I will be the same age as first lady Melania Trump who was born on April 26, 1970.

People who died the year I was born include
Slapstick superstar Harold Lloyd  (April 20, 1893 – March 8, 1971)
The Doors Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971)
Music Legend Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971)
Blessed James Alberione S.S.P. (April 4, 1884 – November 26, 1971) founder of the Society of St. Paul, of the Daughters of St. Paul.
Walt’s brother Roy O. Disney  (June 24, 1893 – December 20, 1971)

Harold Lloyd | Biography, Movies, & Facts | Britannica

People who died on my birthday include

The crew of Apollo 1 in 1967 –
Roger B. Chaffee, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1935)
Gus Grissom, American pilot and astronaut (b. 1926)
Ed White, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1930


John Updike (1932-2009)
J.D. Salinger (1919-2010)

The Catcher in the Rye' by J D Salinger - When Murakami, Toni Morrison, J D Salinger's Books Were Banned | The Economic Times

Maximilian Kolbe was beatified on October 17, 1971

A lot happen the year I was born.
A lot happen the day I was born.
I’ve made it half a century.

My father lived to be 83 and my mother was close to 90.
I wonder how long my wife and I will both live.

One of us will probably die before the other.
I may die before this post is published.

So, it doesn’t hurt to prepare and get ready, although I still don’t want to put a coffin in my basement.

 I almost died laughing at your humor in this. But, darn … why did you write this? Now you’ve got me thinking about what hymns I want sung at my funeral. Open casket, closed or urn? Should I write my own eulogy? Wonder how many cars there will be? Sigh. So much to do …

Maybe I’ll consider including your blog in the bibliography for my eulogy! Along with the rhyme, “A tisket a casket”
Dave A. Fantz

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