Today, my household was collectively delighted by the following direct mail advertisement, reproduced verbatim:
Dear Mr. RememberThePhitans,
CONGRATULATIONS!!! On behalf of the management of Prospect Hill & Greenmount Cemeteries and Cremation Gardens, we are pleased to provide your family verification that you have been awarded one burial space certificate at absolutely NO COST.
The current market value of this burial space is $995.00 and it is being presented to you or your spouse along with our continued effort to create a heritage of satisfied families within our community.
Please be advised that this award has been selected at random, and it is a limited offer. It is non-assignable and non-transferable and upon verification and receipt of this award it must be validated within fifteen (15) days. Therefore, immediately upon receipt of this letter please call our office at (717) 843-XXXX with the above verification number.
At that time, our Family Service Director will confirm the information you provide and make arrangements to present your family with your award certificate. Again, there is absolutely no obligation for your family to purchase anything. As previously stated, this award is being presented to you as a means of advertising and also to expand our heritage of families.
Prospect Hill & Greenmount Cemeteries
"Mr. Sales Droid"
Please accept our sincere apology if this has reached you at a time of illness or loss.
Those of you who know me personally or through this blog realize, of course, that this engendered all sorts of mischievous thoughts, most obviously a written response.
Dear Mr. Droid and Prospect Hill & Greenmount Cemeteries and Cremation Gardens:
Thank you for your offer of one (1) free burial plot, with a retail value of $995.00 U.S. Dollars. Rather than having my grieving son construct a raft of oak timbers to facilitate setting me adrift on my family's pond while my lifeless body is consumed by a raging diesel fuel and tire fire, I am thinking of accepting your offer of one (1) free burial plot. The more I consider the offer, the more thoughtful and generous it seems to be to me, rather than incredibly crass and commercial, which it certainly is not, even though your solicitation reached me a the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, which is a time of loss. It is certainly practical, though a little...ooky.
Though it may be more difficult for me to ascend to Valhalla from a quiet graveyard in York County than from the aforementioned raging diesel fuel and tire fire, the verdant environs of your mercenary necropolis seem much more peaceful in comparison. Perhaps this bucolic quietude would provide my grieving family some measure of comfort and satisfaction. Still, there is an elemental sort of catharsis reachable only through Wagnerian caterwauling, metal brassieres overfull with heaving, sweaty flesh, and the thick, oily smoke of a petroleum fire. You can't spell "FUNERAL" without F-U-N, right?
Truth be told, I am not sure I want to plant my dead carcass in your field. This does not mean we can't do business, though. This brings me to the point of my letter to you. I am honestly very interested in the free burial plot. I just want to bury someone or something else there.
Since your organization appears to be one which is oozing a certain commercial combination of "can-do" and "obviously needs money" I thought it might be a good idea to reach out to you with my proposition.
I would like to inquire as to the degree of discretion that your firm(s) can provide for human burials. You see, at this time of year when my preferred Major League Baseball team has somewhat underperformed if not my expectations, then at least my hopes, I ordinarily just whine. This year, your advertisement gave me a financial inducement to consider a more practical "outside the box" response.
I would speak to you of burying my hopes or perhaps dreams or innocence, but these ethereal things do not sully themselves with mere dirt. No, I come to bury the 2013 Phillies, not to praise them.
Technically, under the terms of your offer, I would not be burying a member of my family. Nor would I be able, honestly, to add to your "heritage of families" (and honestly collecting dead bodies and names attached thereto seems creepy anyway). I need something else entirely -- the utmost discretion. I likewise may need multiple plots, and that $995.00 price sounds like a bargain.
And speaking of bargains -- if the deceased are buried in a large mass grave that is unmarked, could I get a group rate? I can let you know how many spots I need when I remember how many pitchers are in a bullpen. I need a spot for the GM and a couple of Youngsters, too. And hell...Bud Selig needed to be buried a decade ago.
There may be some dead contracts to bury, too. Fat ones. Please advise if the grave opening fee will be somewhat more than normal. I certainly understand.
I've also been imagining Michael Young at the bottom of a well as I shout at him, "IT WAIVES THE NO-TRADE OR IT GETS THE HOSE!!!" At first it troubled me, but that dream just gets better and better every time. It brought me clarity.
I know this may all come across as a little odd, and perhaps my reaction to "just baseball" may seem a little extreme. Holding it all inside would be worse, though. No...it's better to get it all out. And you folks need the business, right? It's a win-win, and lord knows the Phillies haven't done any of that this year.
I anxiously await your response.
The letter from the cemetery is 100% authentic with only the contact person's name redacted. I'd post a picture, but it has personal information on it. The rest is not real. Please don't send the FBI to visit me.