Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Got To Be In a Hearse Today- But Thankfully, Not in the Back (Yet)

This just shores up the reason why I love a Chamber of Commerce so much! I had no idea that I'd get to do this today. I didn't wake up and think to myself, gee, just what sort of outfit should I wear when I sit in the hearse?

Because we are Ambassadors for the Chamber, and as ambassadors one of our primary responsibilities is to welcome new businesses into the Chamber by way of ribbon cuttings and plaque givings and so forth; today was the day we welcomed a new funeral home into the Chamber; which is not something we get to do often.

But what was really cool, for Entrepreneur Chick anyway- was the grand tour they gave us of the entire facility (as it is brand spanking new and uh... they've not even had their first "customer" yet). It was an amazing place. You couldn't even tell you were even in a funeral home. They had state of the art everything! Actually, it more closely resembled a four star resort in the mountains. Cozy fire place, soaring vaulted pine ceilings, hulking overstuffed easy chairs; calming music and soothing visuals in all rooms; serene fish, a waterfall- and - everyone in our group was thoroughly impressed. It was too bad you couldn't come back just to visit; but I suspect they rather like it when you are coming to actually visit someone or, if you are the someone everyone else is visiting; if you know what I mean.

My friends also own a funeral home and I've always been drawn to the business. As a matter of fact- a "funeral event planner" was something I was interested in two years ago; but after the Malibu Rum and Cokes wore off that bleak January afternoon- after I had made my business card design (very lovely candlelit affairs) that I realized two things.

(1) How do I get paid? (Looks as if the existing funeral homes were already doing a good job in event planning. Therefore, they'd not take kindly to giving someone else the business.)

(2) No leverage. When I build a business, I build always with the idea of leverage in mind and having a staff. Perhaps you could in fact staff it- but as I said; the Rum wore off.

But I must admit I did have a great time entertaining the idea. It's a very big deal now; funerals are not, well, your father's funeral anymore. The baby boom generation likes to have more control of how the will go out; not just the standardized One-Size-Fits-All-Psalm 23-of-Yesteryear. Bless their hearts.

Once, I even went down to the Dallas Mortuary School (or something close to that) as my good friend was and is an instructor there. He taught me how to make an ear our of wax. Why would you want to make an ear out of wax? Because, sometimes in cases of disfigurement, and the family would still like the body to be viewed- you use wax. Ken is an amazing master of this art and very few people in the United States can put people back together like he can.

He told me a story once, a bizarre story, in which the funeral home caught on fire! Now, you see, these people had their father laying in state in the funeral home. The family was understandably horrified by the prospect of their father, though deceased, having been such an unfortunate victim. Lamentably, the funeral home, also understandably, was mortified (couldn't help it) that they would be sued out the wazoo and lose their business. So they called in Ken. After several long and skillful hours, Ken worked his special magic.

When the adult children of the father had come up to view the casket, they began to cry and they said, "That's Daddy."

After Ken was done teaching me to make an ear, I carefully placed my treasure in a box and took it delicately home to Tony.

"Look! I have something from the mortuary school in this box!", I said excitedly.

Tony visibly stepped back four or five paces- "I know I don't want to see it but I know you're going to show it to me anyway, huh?"

My ear, which I was oh so very proud of, stayed frozen in our ice box like the last scoop of vanilla ice cream available in the entire universe. I kept that ear until I moved. I didn't want to throw it away. But what was I going to do? Put in on Ebay?

One Wax Ear- Slightly imperfect. As is. Make offer.

On a final note, sometimes I visit my friend's funeral home, and when I do, I like to stand under the cosmetic lights in the state room before I leave and plump up my hair and say, "Am I beautiful? I'm beautiful, right? Tell me I'm beautiful."

Okay. I'll get out more.

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