Feb 8, 2006

Death Mask

Disclaimer: The following thoughts are ever-so-Victorian and may not be palatable to the general audience. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I'm not doing a ton of stitching lately. Or reading, writing, working out, or even drinking. Everything outside is dead, dead, and cold.

So I'll tell you about a trip I took to the Field Museum to see the Pompeii exhibit last month.

There were all sorts of really cool body casts of people caught in the eruption. I think this is painfully beautiful, sort of the ultimate translation of tragedy into art and timelessness, bypassing the middleman artist. There was a lot of jewelry that looks modern even today and I think we can all learn a lot about the fragility of life and culture from the story of Pompeii.

It's interesting to think about how my body could be preserved after death and become art. I've thought about doing this, but I think it is ultimately too trendy and I would end up collecting dust along with some old Happy Meal toys (not in a relic-chic way like at the Mutter Museum but in a sad, garage-sale way).

What if someone did something like this to commemorate my life? A biggiant, splintery amandamonkey to hang out around your doorway to protect you from demons and other nefarious characters?

Hmmmm.... maybe it's a little too crotch-ety for me?

What if I had my ass taxidermied?

The entire basement of the Field Museum smells like mothballs - a scent my oversensitive nose HATES - so maybe that's not such a hot idea.

I teach geology. Eons ago, when I was a TA at my MS institution, I would ask one bonus question on the final. It was 'Think about the most important thing you've learned this year in class and then explain it to me as if I didn't know a thing about geology.' One of the students wrote, 'I've learned that I want my tombstone to be in granite so people will be able to read it 200 years from now.'

He totally got an 'A.'


Blogger Chris said...

Smart student.

I sympathize re: winter. I can't remember the last time I worked out. Ugh... I want sunshine! I want greenery! I want to be outside without freezing my ass off!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmm, nicely said about the pompeii exhibit. Regarding your comment on my blog about liking the grumpy. I have to admit I publish a somewhat effervescent version of myself - my scarcasm is pretty diluted.

I really don't think I would want my ass taxidermied - too much cellulite.

You know what's odd - I'm doing a phd in an Earth Sci dept...but I've never taught or TAKEN a geology class.

Blogger quiltyknitwit said...

I was happy to see the Pompeii link to the exhibit. My book club will be reading Pompeii in April, and it'll be great to have the visual effects to go with the novel.

Blogger Catherine Kerth said...

ummm, the body world thing was interesting to me ( i would never go see it)until i got the part about the mother and unborn child....that upset me a little bit. something about a pregnant person dying is sad to me. i think you should have your resr taxidermied ;)

Blogger amandamonkey said...

Moe - EXCELLENT point about the cellulite. I would really have to get in shape before death for that to be a viable option.

I've heard that you can get your carbon turned into a diamond. If I did that, I could be winking at people eternally (this diamond *is* your best friend...).

Blogger MeBeth said...

Personally, I like the statue - perhaps if you had a smaller (pocketsize?) version made it wouldn't be so crotcheriffic.

Anonymous Bookish Wendy said...

Now here is a fun discussion. The only problem with these preservation technics is: what do they stuff your body with? Cotton? Wool? Will you always and forever be a fuzz brain?

Blogger amandamonkey said...

MeBeth, I am now having an image of myself as a 'Homie' - something Rock Star to slip into his pocket. BUT then I would lose the scary aspect that i like so well in the pic from the Field Museum.

BW, I already am most of the way to having wool for brains, so I'm not sure how taxidermy-ing myself would make me much different than now. Good point, I will now have to reconsider that option.

Blogger Ashley said...

HA! Amandamonkey Pocket Homie! Hilarious. And also, Moe? WORD. no one needs to see my ass permanently preserved.

Re: death, although I don not at all have the stomach for Body Worlds (even the Wikipedia article made me queasy) I think the Victorian death cult is so creepy and weird and fascinating, especially those bizarre mourning wreaths made out of the hair of the deceased. Maybe you should be thinking crafty: knit a hairshirt, or use your hair as embroidery thread?


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