Thoughts on… being buried alive

I’ve thought about dying many times before. I don’t mean I’ve contemplated suicide, I mean I’ve thought about what I would do if I ever did die – not a lot I imagine. But before I die I will make sure there are things in place that will leave a little legacy and allow me to have some fun after I’m gone.

Why am I thinking about this now? My colleague and I were discussing a Doctor Who episode called Dark Water earlier. The episode poses a question: What if the dead stay conscious? Now, this concept scares the hell out of me. Just thinking about what happens after you die worries me, because any outcome is terrifying. If you are conscious, then you will feel everything – including cremation! But imagine being conscious inside a dead body FOREVER. I get bored just sitting still for 10 minutes, so being able to do nothing for eternity is a worrying prospect. After all, eternity is a long time. Even if there is some kind of afterlife and you go on living in heaven, you’d be there for eternity. Time wouldn’t be linear, it’d just be… I don’t know how to describe it because it’s impossible to try and come to terms with. However, on the flip side, what if nothing happens? What if you just switch off? You won’t feel anything, you won’t be there, you won’t exist, that’s the end, that’s it, you won’t wake up, you’ll just be gone… and my tiny mind can’t even comprehend that. People say you might come back as someone else, but even if you did you wouldn’t feel it, it wouldn’t be your mind would it, because we don’t remember being people before who we are now. So again your current mind would just be gone.

Anyway, enough of this morbidity, let’s talk about the fun stuff. When discussing it with my colleague, she joked that I could be buried with a ukulele to help pass the time. I like this idea. In fact, I will insist that they bury me with my uke just in case I do end up somewhere after death and I can have a ukulele with me. If I was buried with a uke, then I’d probably do something to scare people into thinking it’s being played. I could set up a tape recorder with a speaker on a sensor, so when people walk past, it starts playing a muffled ukulele strumming. I know it’d probably scare the sh*t out of some people, but it’d be funny to those in the know… namely me and Mike, who I’d no doubt enlist the help of to set it up.

Sticking with the theme of recordings, I’d love to record a message that plays when people walk past. Something like ‘Help! I’m not dead!’ or ‘No, I don’t like those flowers, get me some tulips.’ Again, if I could set it up with a sensor or so that it plays when someone says a certain word – like my name – then it’d be so much fun.

If you are going to be buried, then you’ll have a headstone, which is where you can have a bit more fun. I wouldn’t want the traditional ‘Here lies Ben’ spiel on my headstone, I’d want something funny. It’d have to be really good though, because it would stay with me for the rest of… well, not the rest of my life, but the rest of the headstone’s life. Oh, maybe I could have the headstone changed every year, with a different message on it every time. But again, I’d only tell Mike so that anyone who sees it will be confused as to why the message has changed. Here’s a few ideas for what I could have written on my headstone:

  • Here lies Ben… probably
  • Reserved
  • Ben was here
  • It was all your fault!
  • For sale: granite headstone, £50 ono.
  • Here lies Ben Codman (I love the idea that they misspell my name)
  • Here lies a headstone
  • Coming soon: Ben Coleman
  • I am here

Back to the original conversation about being buried with ukuleles, this led to another idea which in turn led to a sketch which I’d like to record in the not too distant future. After we said about me being buried with my uke, Laura said “I hope I’m buried close to you so I can dance along” and I joked that she could be buried with a guitar so we could play together and form a band. As soon as I suggested that, my mind began racing with ideas about a group of musicians who died and were buried together and then every Wednesday night, if you listened closely, you would hear music coming from their grave. Eventually it would attract the press and they would end up with a number one hit from it, maybe a novelty halloween song. Laura and I bounced some ideas for names around – including The Grave Swingers and The Rotting Rockers – but our favourite was the Dead Good Band.

So keep an listen out when you’re passing through a cemetery, because you may just hear the eerie harmonies of the Dead Good Band.

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