Hook’s How-to-Guide: Dying, Part One – “The Dirt Contract.”

To clarify, I know you don’t require any help with the “dying” part of life. (Even a Kardashian can handle that.)

But there’s more to the process of leaving this world than just drawing your last breath, cursing everyone who was ever mean to you while in line at Comic Con, and regretting all those premature orgasms. Dying is serious business, kids. Most cemeteries are filling up fast (unfortunately), and the prices are rising even faster. My in-laws purchased their plots thirteen years ago and the price has already doubled.

Talk about a monopoly.

Of course, now you’re asking yourself a few questions, right?

“What’s The Hook on?”

“And more importantly, where can I get some?”

“Is this Bill Cosby mess ever going to end?”

“What’s brought on this sudden burst of ‘joy’, Hook?”

I can’t answer all those questions but the last one is easy. You see, ever since my father-in-law passed away, the wife and I have been putting all our ducks in a row; settling his estate, liquifying real estate holdings (something that, sadly, isn’t as sci-fi as it sounds), closing out bank accounts and cancelling services like hydro and cable and generally closing off his living links to civilization. His passing, while unbelievably tragic and painful for our family, has inspired us to embrace life to the fullest while we still can.

And what says “I love life!” more than purchasing his and her cemetery plots?

Yep, as of yesterday, I am now a land baron. (I own more than one piece of property. Suck it, Trump; I’m coming for you.) Granted, the land in question is only a few feet wide by fourteen feet long, but it still counts. And to think, when the day began the wife and I were merely going out for groceries. But before we knew it, a simple trip became the most expensive journey to the grocery store ever.

It was a blisteringly hot day in Niagara and so we decided to detour and water the plants at my in-laws’ grave. That side-trip inspired a conversation about our own mortality and the lack of space at Fairview Cemetery in Niagara Falls and so we decided to make things easier for our daughter down the road (hopefully way, way, way down the road), and secure two plots of land in which to have our corpses deposited someday. 

Yes, we’re a real fun couple. We intend to follow up this thrill ride with a trip to a slaughterhouse for date night.

And now, friends, it is time for the “How-to” part of this post. You’re no doubt giggling – or rolling your eyes like the wife on date night – but trust me, this is important and slightly complicated stuff.

TO BEGIN WITH:  Did you know that if you plan on being cremated and having your scorched ashes thrown in with your parents, it can become quite complicated? (You can have up to four urns placed in with each plot so a double-plot can “hold’ up to ten people. Cozy.) If you have siblings they have to sign-off on every urn placed in a family plot.  So if you have brothers and sisters you can’t stand, prepare yourself or your kids for a battle royale someday.

If you plan on purchasing your own plots? Well then, you’re off to the dirt nap races, kiddies!

WHAT DO I DO, HOOK?  Glad you asked. Every cemetery has a business office that hasn’t been updated in a hundred years or so. (Which most likely contains a sign that reads; “People are dying to get in.”) Surprisingly, in spite of their environment, the staff will be happy-go-lucky and friendly. They’ll pull out an old, dusty, dirt-covered map of the remaining plots available for sale (the map will be old because there’s been no need to replace it and it will be dirty because cemetery workers tend to have a lot of dirt on their hands, ‘natch) and have a worker take you out to inspect what will be your final resting place for eternity.

Or until the maggots eat your face.

You’d think it’d be easy selecting a plot, but you’d be wrong. Some people want to be close to loved ones (don’t ask me why; it’s not like you’ll be socializing), or even in the shade. Seriously. For example:

THE WIFE:  (Upon seeing the section left for sale at Fairview.) I don’t like it! It’s too close to the road!

ME:  Seriously? You realize those details won’t matter, right?



For the record, she laughed her beautiful behind off at that one. But she still wanted a “good spot”. Our guide, Sam, was quite helpful. He pointed out a spot that was in the centre of the aisle , but not too close to a sewer drain (“Don’t want to have your coffins get wet and weaken too much”), and was even close to my in-laws. It was even wider than most aisles which means all my friends can gather at once and curse God for taking me so soon.

We were sold.

One quick check-writing session later (try not to make purchases you can’t actually afford to pay off fairly quickly, kids or you’ll die financially, which truly sucks), and we were the owners of two plots of Niagara Falls land which I truly hope we won’t be placed under for some time.

IS THIS REALLY WORTH IT, HOOK?  You bet! Your loved ones will have enough to worry about when you shuffle off this mortal coil without having to deal with securing a plot for you. Many folks are even taking this concept one step further by purchasing prepaid funerals.

And think of the financial savings; as I already stated, prices are rising faster than Charlie Sheen’s pulse in Vegas during porn convention week. And let’s face it, most people are not getting healthier as they get older, so your local dirt nap farm will be full before you know it.

And there you have it. See you in the lobby, and the cemetery, kids…



About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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27 Responses to Hook’s How-to-Guide: Dying, Part One – “The Dirt Contract.”

  1. I don’t know. The thought of payback for the stunts during the teen years makes putting off arrangements quite attractive. Good post.

  2. I want whoever ends up with my body to just stuff it into a canon or catapult and shoot it into the ocean. Kinda keep everything cheap and off the grid.

  3. List of X says:

    Aren’t you going to engrave the tombstone with “The Hook, (year of birth) – hopefully a hundred years from now”?

  4. C.E.Robinson says:

    Geez, Robert! Even though I laughed at the pay dirt post, I started thinking! I just want to be cremated and sprinkled somewhere! The family’s scattered around the globe anyway. So, any plot of land would just grow weeds over the headstone. Just love the way you put humor into the serious! Christine

  5. I’m coming back as Groot, I have no doubt – but great advice for those who wish to occupy space below ground. Being a cemetery adventurer and photographer, I suggest something statuesque. Fifteen, maybe eighteen feet tall, six foot square at the base, and most importantly – express who you are. I’m having a giant Hello Kitty erected. Which one? Ninjutsu Hello Kitty extending her middle finger in salute to the world! Great post, as always!

    On a more serious note – my condolences to you and your family, I did not know you’d lost your father-in-law. Much peace, my friend.

  6. Grim as it seems discussions and decisions ( and actual purchases) are wise. There’s enough for the kids to do at that point. Besides, you want a nice spot so when they bring flowers, right. View is good. (In some countries it is common to have family picnics in cemeteries).

    • The Hook says:


      • It’s a Mexican/Latino thing…as well as NOLA…and some parts of Europe…so a nice comfy concrete bench in the shade….

      • If I can chime in… I live across the street from a cemetery and often do my cardio workout there. There is a coven that comes to lunch on their prior ‘heads’ spot (no pun intended) every other week. She/they were sure to purchase a corner lot so there would be plenty of room for expansion! Very smart, on her/their behalf… (They’re lovely women by the way, but their craft is less benevolent than I would hope for.) Sorry for the intrusion…

  7. So… this is truly an issue when pre arrangements are not made. These have been said issues in recent years with several family member and friends parents who have passed. My hubby knows my wishes and my daughter too, although I do pray it is a VERY long time before anyone should have to worry about it. 😦

  8. susielindau says:

    Any ideas for what you want on your tombstone?

  9. Doug in Oakland says:

    Have you ever seen a movie called “The Loved One”? My favorite line from it was “I’ve got to get these stiffs off of my property.”

  10. Location location location … your wife is very smart and as you obviously just learned, shit matters to women in and out of the ground.
    I went through the same type of closing out when my father-in-law passed. My husband was in charge of the estate, which is a very fancy word with many meanings. In our case “estate” as translated to “a lot of work and bs.” But in the end we also had a different perspective on life.

  11. Paul says:

    WP ate my comment. Harmmph! neat post Hook – interesting and funny.

  12. I admire your foresight…I can’t even make myself write a will or a durable power of attorney. Do you guys have room next to you in case I want a spot with a view??

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