Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hotter Than Hell

Between 2001 and 2006, I’d secretly hoped that my friend would drop dead. Well, perhaps “hoped” is a strong word, but my reflexes would have slackened considerably had his frame, say, wandered under a falling piano or against an electrified fence. Although the man claimed relatively sound health, even the heartiest of souls forget to look both ways when crossing the street, especially when nudged nonchalantly into traffic. Normally I’m not an evil man, but these and other scenarios of demise remained wildly vivid like an endless ‘Faces of Death’ montage. Ultimately, should the Reaper have dragged his sickle to Connecticut during that five year window, the chest bumps would have begun seconds after the Cloak of Doom’s Amtrak ticket was punched for his return trip from New Haven to Hell.

You see, my friend was planning to be buried in a Kiss Kasket, or so the rumor mill assumed. Yes, a Kiss Kasket, for the man aiming to piss off generations of his family, living and unborn, by subordinating himself to “putting the X in sex,” female objectification, and chest hair grown amok. After interring four grandparents and a few stray aunts in unadorned steel and fiberglass, the prospect of placing rose sprays over a fully laminated coffin with KISS FOREVER emblazoned across the front and an image of the face-painted band on the lid, seemed an intriguing thumb in the eye to conformity. More importantly, receiving the eucharist to “Beth” during the ensuing mass presented a once in a millennium opportunity.

Within my own rehearsed choreography, I anticipated throwing devil horns – that ubiquitous headbanger hand sign – after concluding the eulogy (and basically everywhere else that day); prosthetic tongue dangling halfway to my nipples while crushing blood capsules in my teeth like I’d just gnashed through a dead horse in the rectory. For those unfamiliar with Christian funerals, the aforesaid events would be construed as “disrespectful” to the sanctity of the church, family, faith, God, and basically anyone in a nursing home on Planet Earth preparing to keel sideways. But at a Kiss-themed funeral, the disrespect would occur from not doing them.

For enthusiasts of Goyim-fronted kitsch and/or male make-up, $4,500 ($5,000 autographed) would have scored a rectangular box proclaiming one’s devotion to “rock and roll all nite,” presumably deep into the inner rings of Hades. In his penchant for shameless promotion, Gene Simmons – demon and marketing genius alike – also presented the container as a dual-use cooler or small refrigerator. In others words, if one were to best the odds of pancreatic cancer or the flesh-eating Ebola virus, the casket could begin a successful barbecue tour, contributing to alcoholism while keeping hamburger meat on ice. And if your ailing grandfather wasn’t a fan of arena rock, himself holding out for the Perry Como estate to introduce their own laminated model, you’d leave your family one less issue with which to concern themselves on your fateful day of reckoning. As for your ball busting friends, well, better Kiss than Winger, I suppose.

The funeral business has made strident inroads since an impoverished Tom Hulce (as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) was unceremoniously dumped into a gaping hole, a perverted and disgraced pauper. In Florida, where humans move to die, warehouse clubs proudly hawk caskets of all styles, alongside their expansive selection of tires, electronics, and mustard six-packs. And creativity abounds freely, as specialty manufacturers have designed coffins to resemble gym bags, guitar cases, cigar humidors, and even yellow dumpster bins(!); assuring your surviving family that if they didn’t consider you an asshole during waking years, this representation would destroy any lingering fondness after your ditch was dug.

On a pleasing note to close an otherwise uncomfortable topic, I no longer wish death upon my friend, not if he’s relegated to the same hexagonal container as everyone else. Where’s the originality in a few refrains of “Amazing Grace” and a procession of black Town Cars? The Kiss Kasket may have been a cheap shot at tasteless publicity, but in this age of inelegant egotism, at least it served a purpose. For all the criticism mounted against him, Mr. Simmons remains a bassist second, but a brilliant salesman first and foremost. His exploits may be derided, but his tagline was marketing gold: “I love livin’, but this makes the alternative seem pretty damn good.” Spoken like a man with a few extra bullets in his love gun.

20 comments:

Expat From Hell said...

Once again, you have bridged the chasm with typical eloquence. Great post on an uncomfortable subject. Sounds like the object of your scorn would really prefer cremation. Keep 'em coming, my friend.

ExpatFromHell

Ron said...

Ok, personally…I think this is a KILLER idea!

(no pun intended)

And I would give anything to actually attend his funeral, just to sit and watch everyone’s reactions.

Funerals on the whole, can be the most solemn and depressing experiences. So, I would much rather attend something like this.

And beside, I’ve always imagined God has having a devilish sense of humor!

Great post, bud!

Chris said...

Dude, when I saw your title I was so hoping it would be a KISS-related topic. Gene is indeed the marketing wizard. I mean, Kiss Kasket? Kiss Kondoms? What's next? Great work.

Bob said...

I’m sure you realize I appreciate this blog more than ANYONE else. However, your failure to use "Chaim Witz" and any reference to “Heaven’s on Fire” suggest you may be slipping. By the way, Pam called me at work to ask “why would Mike want you to die between 2001 and 2006?”. I hung up the phone…

Jen said...

The thought of being interred in anything let alone a spray painted casket with high gloss finish to rival any NASCAR racer sends me over the edge. But, alas, once I am dead will I really care? Such a morbid topic but as always you bring it to life.

MVD said...

Hey Ron - If, for whatever reason, (a) my buddy's life is tragically cut short, whether by sixteen wheeler, meteor shower, industrial accident, or otherwise, and (b) he happens to have already purchased the Kiss Kasket, you will get an invitation to this funeral.

Instead of the traditional post-service dinner, I'll try to convince surviving family to organize a massive Guitar Hero tournament. It's the right thing to do.

MVD said...

Hey Bob - Admittedly, this post was severely edited for space and the sanity of my readers. The full version was peppered with all sorts of additional references, from "God Gave Rock & Roll To You II" to "Unholy."

For those who never soldiered in the Kiss Army, "Chaim Witz" is the birth name of Gene Simmons: Israeli-born boy turned demonic sexual deus.

Clearly, Pam is unwise to the quality and craftsmanship of the caskets. I see no reason why she should be denied the experience, assuming there's an eBay fire sale one day.

MVD said...

Well, Jen, if your blog ever goes viral and earns you lots of loot, you may consider having the "When Pigs Fly" logo airbrushed tactfully on the coffin's side.

There are plenty of body shops that can do this quite inexpensively.

Chrissy said...

I just love to hate Gene Simmons. He annoys the crap out of me but I can't get enough. Good stuff.

MVD said...

Hi Chrissy - Although no Wilt Chamberlain, Mr. Simmons claims to have bedded 4,600 women, obviously due to his devastating charm and serpentine tongue. A night with Gene might even cure your anorgasmia. Just saying.

Theresa said...

I live with a KISS fanatic. He even convinced me to go to a KISS (w/Poison) concert a couple years ago. And I have to say, Gene had it "going on." But then he convinced me to watch Phantom of the Park. WTF?!

Matt Shea said...

Mike - great post. This may in fact convince me to change my funeral song to Love Gun - Eye of the Tiger having been in pole position all these years.

MVD said...

Hey Theresa - A cursory viewing of "Phantom of The Park" proves that acting was to remain firmly behind musicianship, molesting of groupies, and brand marketing for the foursome.

MVD said...

Excellent choice, Matt. There's nothing quite like proclaiming one's victories as a sexual predator than the substituting of "Love Gun" for the recessional hymn at a funeral.

Out-Numbered said...

First of all, I want a Manowar casket. Second of all, you could have just buried him alive in that thing. At least he could have enjoyed it. Great post.

growingupartists said...

I didn't think you could use the 'L' word without flinching. Now, if you snark something trollish and insignificant back, then you're the Essential Bastard J-Lo would never marry.

MVD said...

Hey Out-Numbered - Really like the idea. That said, I’m suddenly intrigued by the notion of BURNING him alive in the casket. It doesn't get more "glam metal" than that, especially if said casket were shot out of a canon, blazing, into its cemetery plot. I’d be on my knees in ecstasy, fists clenched.

MVD said...

Oh, Growing Up Artists, once again you veer the comment stream into uncharted, nonsensical territory. I don’t go for Bronx girls. Too ghetto for this white boy.

bluntdelivery said...

a. kiss. kasket.

you've GOT to be kidding me.

no, no. he deserves to die.

MVD said...

I'm sure he appreciates the feedback, BD, especially the explicit death sentence. For Christ sakes, the man is helping me bring a grill to this house next Saturday. I need him alive for that. Seriously.

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