May 8th, 2010
After surveying some of my past blog entries, it's become evident that I'm uninhibited with gushing the praises of Brooklyn. I don't apologize for my profoundly tender and passionate affection for my borough as I'm proud to express my emotional attachment to the surplus of interesting people, pleasing to the senses cuisine and a way of life that percolates with authenticity. Indeed, my accolades have been excessive...yet I've failed to mention one more attribute that warrants a bumper sticker that reads, "Brooklyn, it's a great place to die."
My "cease to exist" observation is not designed to be cryptic. Just factual. No Brooklynite can deny that there are an excessive number of funeral homes in our little piece of the world. So many, that it's fair to reason that for every Starbucks, there is a business that would be honored to spend some time with your dead body.
With so many establishments wanting to handle the particulars of our complete and permanent exit from the earth, I imagine the competition is extreme. Although I'm generally not a sucker for a hard sell, my attention was piqued by a sign outside a funeral home in Red Hook that advertised that they provide...Cremation Consultants.
Now I don't know much about the process in which a body is exposed to extreme heat and reduced to small skeletal fragments and minerals. For I am a Jew. My people just want to be buried in a wooden coffin and roll to Jerusalem. Plain and simple. And whimsically bizarre.
It's valid to assume that a cremation consultant would possess some skills to navigate me if my deceased loved-one wished to be placed in a furnace, reduced to his basic elements and placed on my mantle. Next to some swim team trophies from 1982.
My concern is this. I am not a fan of the word "consultant" for two reasons. First, the following scenario has presented itself numerous times upon meeting a stranger.
Me: What do you do?
Stranger: I'm a consultant.
(Lengthy awkward silence indicating that further inquiry should stop. Stat.)
The dead air leads me to interpret that a consultant is the millineum's new import/export business stock answer for all things forbidden by law.
Secondly, isn't a consultant just a failed expert?
Time to bring back my steadfast analogy for all things lesser than: Consultants are the Gary Busey to the Nick Nolte of experts.
If I enter your funeral home and you claim to be a cremation consultant, I will convince you the merits of changing your business card to "expert." This discussion will take place at the Starbucks next door. As we sip a latte. And embalming fluid.