October 16, 2009
Did you ever think as the days go by
That you might be the next to die?
They wrap you up in a nice white sheet,
And bury you down about six feet deep.
As a kid I loved singing that song with my friends. We were a morbid little bunch. I first learned it at camp. It was taught to me by my bunkmate Hannibal, who was a nice kid. Kind of quiet, he kept to himself mostly, but he was an amazing cook. One night he made this incredible dish of liver and fava beans, with a nice grape Nehi, which we all enjoyed. It really took our minds off the fact that our counselor had disappeared earlier that day.
All goes well for about a week,
Then your coffin begins to leak.
We’d usually sing that song on the way back to our cabin at night, finding our way through the dark with our flashlights and occasionally stopping to stick our flashlights in our mouths and puff out our cheeks. Then once we were back at the cabin and it was time for lights out we’d sit around and tell ghost stories and try and freak each other out. And some kid always had to bring up the fact that your hair and nails keep growing after you die, and that, in the old days, people were often buried alive.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
They play pinochle on your snout.
The evidence that people had been buried alive was always that the coffins were dug up and opened and the inside of the coffin was covered with claw marks. This fact is probably still shared by kids at summer camp, but it’s also continued to be passed around in those e-mails that are a collection of interesting and amusing facts. You’ve probably gotten the same e-mail at least twenty-seven thousand times, the one that, early on, says something about a llama’s orgasm lasting two and a half days, and how if you put a Twinkie in the microwave it will burst into flames. I’ve never tried the Twinkie experiment, although we did just throw out an old microwave, and, honestly, I don’t know enough about llamas to know whether that’s true. What I do know, though, is that your hair and nails don’t actually keep growing after you die.
They eat your eyes, they eat your toes,
They eat the boogers from your nose.
After death your body begins to lose water, causing your skin to shrink, so your hair and nails only appear to grow longer. And as for people being buried alive, thanks to carbon dioxide buildup a living person who happens to be in a deep coma or narcoleptic state will most likely suffocate before they ever regain consciousness. Dead bodies have also been known to spasm, and, while decaying, corpses have been known to twist and move around so if the coffins are opened some time later on it will look like the person inside has clawed the inside. Fortunately, even though people may occasionally have been buried alive, modern embalming techniques mean that you don’t have to worry. If you’re still alive when you get to the undertaker your bodily fluids will be sucked out and replaced with formaldehyde and you will be so thoroughly preserved and sealed in an airtight box that no worms will ever be able to get at you, unless you’re cremated, and then you’ll be shoved head first into a super-hot oven and reduced to a small pile of ashes.
They eat your brains, they eat your heart,
And slowly your body will fall apart.
This is how it is to die,
You end up looking like apple pie!