Something I read on a long lonely evening while in France last week turned my thoughts toward my mortal search for a maggot-free death experience. As you may know, I abhor the thought of the little critters having a ball at my expense.
This is intended as a tongue in cheek post, but I feel it may swing towards the macabre if I'm not careful.
The headline was entitled 'Life and afterlife of a woman who will live forever'.
The article was about Henrietta Lacks who died of cancer a year before I was born. Her cells have been used to a remarkable degree world-wide (without her permission) and, although millions have been made and cell biology revolutionised because of her, her family remain impoverished and she is buried in an unmarked grave. It's a story of both triumph and tragedy.
Well worth considering, I thought. Divide and conquer I say! Better as a gift to science in various bottles, vaults, tubes and slices with foreknowledge, than as a stationary defenceless target for tomb raiders from within. Would I be considered a valuable gift, I mused? I was never a great catch in life, so what will change after it?
My thoughts then drifted back to 1994 to a worthy second option. As a gallery owner at the time (more picture framing than gallery), I had tickets every year for the NEC Spring Fair in Birmingham. It was the year that I bumped into the eccentric artist Robert Lenkiewicz.
The painter collected things...one such thing being a tramp that he had had embalmed (with his permission) after his death.
Diogenes, as he was aptly named, was hidden in the artists studio and was discovered in a drawer after the artist died in 2002.
So, two more choices. Do I die in the name of art or science?
I don't really think my kids would appreciate my stuffed, lifeless carcass standing in some corner or in a cupboard to be brought out and dusted down at family gatherings.
I am tempted by the science option though. There will be no charge and I'm not looking for royalties. It'll be a one-off, time-sensitive special offer (this week only) while the ground is too hard and snow-clad to dig a grave. Any takers?
Note: Although my 'best before' date has long since expired, I am in perfect health and have no expectation of expiration in the near future.
Read more about Robert Lenkiewicz...