The Unspeakable

There’s no nice way to say this. Corpses crap themselves, and steps must be taken. You don’t want a group of mourners standing around a casket with a “Who farted?” expression on their faces, only to realize, after exchanging accusatory glances, that the perpetrator was the one in the box. That’s not a final memory anybody wants of mom or dad or aunt Josephine.

Funeral science has, through much trial and error no doubt, developed the A.V. plug. It’s a plastic device that’s half screw, half butt plug, and is used to stop up one or more holes that might develop some unfortunate leakage before a corpse is safely planted in the ground. I know about these sorts of things because I’m morbid, but I’m not an expert. So when the A.V. plug came up as a recent topic of discussion, I felt compelled to ask around.

No, not these.

No, not these.


Me (in all seriousness): Do you know what the A.V. stands for in A.V. plug?

Her: There’s two holes down there.

Me: Ah. I was hoping it stood for something classy like “alimentary viscera.”

Her: I’m eating.

Me (shutting up): Right.

Recent research (and by “research” I mean “roaming around the dark corners of the web looking for sick and twisted things”) led me to my new favourite website, The Order of the Good Death. It’s run by Los Angeles funeral director Caitlin Doughty, who is the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory and creator of the hilarious video series, Ask a Mortician.

I’ve long been aware of how the monopoly of modern funeral rites is ruining death for everyone, and it’s nice to see groups advocating alternatives a mere fifty-two years since Jessica Mitford wrote The American Way of Death, exposing the gouging that goes on in the industry.

I know this sort of thing is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it warms my cold jaded heart that the web provides such valuable information resources about the nitty-gritty that goes on behind the scenes whenever somebody’s loved one (or unloved one) snuffs it. Including what gets shoved up their ass.

I highly recommend you take time out from watching funny YouTube cat videos to watch some of Caitlin’s funny YouTube death videos. Spoiler alert: there’s a funny cat in some of them.

Caitlin Doughty and friend.

Caitlin Doughty and friend.

Pardon the shameless plug. Plug? Get it? Haw!

There are only three days left in The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Kickstarter campaign. All goals have been met, but if you want to get your copies ahead of the rest of the world, this is your last chance.

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