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dead

All Entries Humor Life and Death

After I’m Dead

November 26, 2017

Even though I’m well into mid-life and already straddling the age when men start dropping like flies, I still haven’t drawn up a will – living or otherwise. I haven’t had “the discussion” with any of my friends or co-workers and none of my relatives will return my phone calls, so if I suddenly meet with my demise, no one will know what do to with all my earthly belongings, money, assets and more importantly, my corpse.

Granted, there’s not much to haggle over. The list probably wouldn’t fill a double-spaced Post-it, but they’re all I have and I don’t want my TV and water pique going to someone I don’t even know at the Salvation Army. So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to spell out my final wishes. All of you survivors can fight over who gets to implement them.

What you end up doing with my body has a lot to do with the way I go. While I’ll admit that I haven’t exactly treated my body like a temple, my cholesterol is still lower than my I.Q., so there’s not much chance that I’ll have a heart attack during a bowel movement. On the other hand, I am into a lot of high-risk activities like running with scissors and asking women how much they weigh, so there is a good chance that the body you end up with for viewing won’t necessarily be completely intact. If I die playing around with my chainsaw, you’ll need to borrow an arm, leg or a foot from the mortuary to shove into my funeral suit. If one of my handguns misfired, you might need to fill in the damage to my face with some Spackle, then cover it with a heavy layer of Maybelline. All I ask is that the parts match and I retain a modicum of my original ethnicity. read more

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Life on the Body Farm

April 20, 2017

When Mary Scarborough wrote the lyrics to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” in 1923, she probably didn’t have a research facility in mind. She wouldn’t find cows, chickens or pigs at “The Body Farm” – just scores of rotting human bodies, covered in maggots.

The Body Farm (officially known as the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Facility) was the brainchild of Dr. William Bass, a Forensic Anthropologist from Kansas who helps law enforcement agencies estimate how long a person has been dead. Determining the time of death is crucial in confirming alibis and establishing timelines for violent crimes.

After 11 years of watching human decomposition, Bass realized how little was known about what happens to the human body after death. So, he approached the University of Tennessee Medical Center and asked for a small plot of land where he could control what happens to a body, post-mortem.

Bass’s Body Farm drew the attention of readers in 1994 when popular crime novelist Patricia Cornwell featured it in her book of the same name. In her book, Cornwell describes a research facility that stages human corpses in various states of decay, in a variety of locations like a wooded area, the trunk of a car, under water or under a pile of leaves – all to determine how human bodies decay under varying circumstances. read more

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