OUT OF BOUNDS By Geary Leason

Looking Good After The Even

The recent passing of Venzuela dictator, Hugo Chavez, has brought grief to millions around the globe. Flags were at half-staff in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Columbia and Harvard. His loss has been so deeply felt that many people are urging that his body be preserved and put under glass (like a pheasant perhaps) so that these millions could say ‘hello” from time to time to this Latino high muckamuck. Perhaps some of these folks want to know exactly where he is so that he can’t get up and sandbag them unawares.

Mankind, over the centuries, has struggled to find an effective way to preserve the essence of one who has been “beamed up”, so to speak. The ancient Egyptians pickled their hero, then wrapped him in some kind of cheese cloth, and finally placed the departed in a gold leafed box. If that wasn’t enough, his followers then parked him a dank room at the bottom of man-made triangular shaped mountain. Now you would think this elaborate process would satisfy the citizens, but no, since he was totally unaccessible, they soon forgot about good old Pharaoh Tut. This neglect shouldn’t happen. That is why we need to find a fix for the problem that is best described as “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”

Altho centuries have rolled by since the Egyptian dynasty’s noble but inept attempts, the world is still without a solution to this problem. The best we have today is that the deceased is laid out from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in his overpriced coffin for a final looksee, and then the lid of the box is closed. After a few good words, off he goes to the cemetery or the crematorium, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN! Another march down the road of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” We keep a few photos of our deceased friend on the mantel, but not much later; these mementos hardly get dusted, much less looked at. We need something much more real!

There have been a few special attempts to create ongoing viewing of the departed, with the most notorious being Vladimir Lenin, who lies under glass in the Kremlin. Most folks don’t think he “looks” too good and they come away wishing they hadn’t come. There was talk about doing something similar for Hugo, but the Russians advised them not to bother.

Another attempt at preservation is a space age approach going by the name of Cryogenics. This method – which is best understood if you have ever deep frozen anything – has two options: one, the full Monty, or two, just the head. While there may be some useful preservation taking place, you still can’t get what you want- an ongoing viewing. I am not so sure you would want to see the “preserved” if you could, as from my experience, the meat that is “revived” after being thawed from a deep freeze, is not very attractive. Forget this one.

One other type of preservation that has been with us for a long time is STATUES! From a modest desk top size bust to a museum size man on a horse, we do have a good idea of what this significant other (and his horse) looked like. But statue coloring doesn’t work for me. I don’t know anyone with pure white marble complexion or bronze skin, do you? Toss this rendition into the circular file.

I am convinced that there is a method of preservation to be found that will satisfy this desperate longing of the human heart so that our dear departed can be “with” us in a very real and lasting way. I have engaged the renowned research firm of Smedley and Associates to come up with such a solution. I am very hopeful here, as this is the same outfit that put a man on the moon way before(!) NASA. (According to Ralph Smedley, this launch took place in New Mexico in 1954.)


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