Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Graverobbing: Not All Fun 'N' Games

So you’ve found yourself in dire financial straits, eh? We told you not to buy all that pricey hobo art, but you didn't listen. And now it seems that every day is slightly worse than the day before. As you shuffle across the kitchen floor that is littered with empty cat food cans (you don’t have a cat), you start to think back on all the people who directly contributed to this situation. Your parents for never teaching you the value of a dollar, your boss for not existing, and all of Europe for letting you backpack across it for a year instead of going to college. Your mailbox is piling up with bills and you have no money to pay them. Actually the bank repossessed your mailbox, so now they're just sort of piling up in your lawn to form an actual mountain of debt. You’ve reached the end of your rope…literally. You're thinking that death may be the only escape from this financial nightmare. But the bank took all of your rope, so you've resorted to hanging yourself by stapling tube socks together. As you step up onto a chair...what's that? The bank took your furniture too? Jesus Christ man, you really are poor. Maybe you should go through with this. Well, as you stand on your tippy toes in the center of your garage, your little eye spies something that could potentially solve everything. A lone shovel. You realize that you are an American and that you have pastimes and good old fashioned wholesome values to fall back on. This is the land of opportunity, god dammit! This great land is dangling its liberty-filled gonads in front of your face every single day. All you need to do is reach out and grab a handful of American Dream. Hot dogs, baseball, little cubes of frozen water that keep your liquid water cold, and of course, graverobbing.

That's it! You'll dig up corpses. You rightfully feel stupid for not thinking of it before. So you take a firm grasp of your shovel and head out the door, ready to get ankle deep in some post-humous mush. BUT WAIT! Graverobbing is far from being that simple. The media has glamorized grave robbing for years, but the truth is much less appealing. It's not all ancient artifacts, fighting mummies, and rock 'n' roll. It's dirty, thankless, backbreaking labor that is not meant for the faint of heart. So before you get out there and scam some stiffs, let us try to debunk some of the myths that surround this less than savory career. After we're through, you might decide that the sock-noose option is a better idea.

And if that doesn't work, you could probably kill yourself with this. This is no time to be picky.

Things are gonna get sticky: When a person dies, they have a few ways to be disposed of. In an oven or in a box. Or in an oil drum depending on your nationality. Since you won't find any diamond rings in a vase full of human Nesquick, we will be talking about body boxes. Shopping for a coffin begins by answering one question: Sealed or Not? Your typical casket is not entirely airtight, but rather let some air and a whole lot of creepy crawlies in. This results in the classic skeleton. This image can sometimes be unsettling for surviving members of the family. After all, maybe a guy had a really killer set of abs or a dong that is on par with most giant novelty pencils.

Yeah, the rumors are true about us.

They don't want that kind of thing becoming worm food. They want the body to remain intact and untouched by the elements. This is when sealed caskets come in. There are a few downsides to this burial method. By a few we mean one fucking gigantic downside for you. The truth is, sealed caskets cost companies about twelve dollars to make, but come at a very, very messy price. Putrefied Liquefaction. No, that isn't the name of a gore-grind band (but it would make an awesome one). When a casket is sealed completely airtight, decomposition via anaerobic bacteria takes place. This turns the human remains into a sort of ticking jambalaya time bomb that's just waiting to be exhumed so it can explode its soul shattering stank all over some poor sap's face a.k.a your face. So unless you often soak in tubs full of lukewarm split pea soup filled with teeth, then this route is generally going to be a bad experience for you.

Someone's Aunt Sally.

You don't know where they've been: Alrighty, so you've cracked open your first coffin and found a moderately fresh, moderately attractive corpse. Just remember, graverobbers and necrophiliacs are two entirely different animals. They're as different as the Jets and the Sharks.

This, but with corpses.

You don't have to be putting the moves on dead bodies to contract all the "no good nasties" that they're spreading. In 2002, roughly 26% of all deaths were a result of infectious diseases. Due to the world becoming increasingly haphazard with where they stick their genitals, we can only assume this number has skyrocketed. Diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Intestinal Pathogens, just to name a few, can survive and thrive in the body after death. It's going to take a lot more than wearing a condom to protect you from that...wait, you aren't having sex with the corpse are you? We can't remember now. At any rate, with a 1/4 chance of digging up a body with a life-threatening disease, you'd have better odds playing Russian Roulette at that Vietnamese "Sports Bar" down the street.

Monday Night Football at Anh Dung's Wings N' 'Za

It ain't like the good ole days: Remember when you thought MC Hammer's gold toilet was really cool? Yeah, us neither. But you probably think that's the kind of stuff that someone would take along with them to the great beyond. The movies have taught you that graves are treasure troves and that you'll be going home with a dollar sign sack full of swag. So you dig up a non-melted, non-diseased, but increasingly sexy dead body. You scour every fold, pocket, and nook that you can possibly think of. Not the crannies though...never, EVER check the crannies. After a tiresome search, you come up empty handed. You wonder where the diamonds, rupees, and blank checks are.

Newsflash: You aren't this guy.

It's true that some have found vast treasures buried beneath the crust of the earth. In 1922, Howard Carter discovered King Tut's Tomb. There he found 74″ long, 20″ wide and 20″ high coffin made of solid gold. Priceless riches have been unearthed in the strangest of places for hundreds of years. These places don't include a cemetery in your hometown. The chances of finding a pharaoh's underground penthouse in Buttfuck, Any State are about equal to winning the lottery while being struck by lightning...and you didn't buy a lottery ticket and it's sunny out. All you're bound to find is some sentimental (worthless) trinkets and a group of goth kid onlookers in disbelief at how "fucking brutal" you are for digging up bodies.

Your biggest and only fans.

Everything is a race against time: What now? The whole reason you got into this business is to make some serious dough. Little do amateur graverobbers like yourself know is that the real cash doesn't come from what's buried with the body, but the body itself. The lucrative art of cadaver-napping, body-snatching, or "shit just got real" as they say in the biz has been around for centuries. The problem is that kidnapping schemes take time and unless your the Usain Bolt of grave robbing, there's no way you're going to outrun the natural process of death. Present day embalming techniques can preserve bodies for a long the right conditions. For example, NOT your apartment in August after your AC just got shut off. In a matter of days Diptera insects (flies) will start laying eggs on the body and what you're going to be left with would even make Jeff Goldblum sick.

Maybe not.

Wikipedia had this to say: "At this point the body cavity ruptures, the abdominal gases escape and the body darkens from its greenish color. These activities allow for a greater invasion of scavengers, and insect activity increases greatly." Sure, Wikipedia doesn't always tell the truth, but why risk it?

Living relatives move on, die, don't care, etc.: The last thing your couch needs is more rotting flesh stains, so you decide to dig up a body that has run its course and is now a skeleton. You find their family in the phonebook and excitedly dial their number. The phone rings and rings and finally someone answers. You shout at the top of your lungs "I HAVE YOUR GRANDMA'S BODY! PAY UP MOTHER FUCKER!". It's then you realize that it's been 20 years since Ethel Tinsley died and their family has long moved on and the house has been transformed into an orphanage. As you awkwardly attempt the remedy the situation, the police are already closing in on you and your new roommate. Sometimes even if you do get ahold of living relatives, they might just not want the person back. How do you know that the person you're digging up wasn't an industrial-sized douche bag? It's not like people haven't tried (and failed) at this before. Just ask these two dingbats who further proved that Russians' luck is doomed to have an "UN" in front of it. In March of 1978, two auto mechanics, Roman Wardas and Gantscho Ganev, unearthed Charlie Chaplin's three month old corpse.

Awww, he’s only thwee months old.

£400,000 was the sum they demanded and just as they finished compiling an all O'Jay's "For The Love Of Money" playlist, they got a call from Charlie's widow, Lady Oona Chaplin. She said that she would not pay the ransom and that “Charlie would have thought it rather ridiculous.” Just like that their months of planning were foiled, or as they say in the biz...fuckin' served. The conflict ending with them dancing around the police like uncomfortable teenagers at a high school dance (erections included). They eventually returned the body and were sentenced to prison as soon as the judge stopped laughing.

"Uh yeah, we're like...sorry for taking your dead husband and shit..."

There you have it. Do you still think you're cut out for this line of work? You do? Well, you aren't. I don't know how we can make that much clearer. Seriously, don't even try it. Just give up! Give up like you do on everything else! Your marriage, your diet, your screenplay! ...Sorry. We're not sure where that came from. There is an teensy weensy, itty bitty sliver of hope left for you. All you have to do is hold on indefinitely for our next article: So You Want To Be An Assassin: Hands On Training For Failed Graverobbers.

Until next time,
Strange Times over and out


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  2. I found the section "You don't know where they've been" to be very informative.

  3. That's what Strange Times strives for. Educating the public on the kind of topics other news sources are afraid to talk about.