Monday, August 30, 2004

Cheops off the Old Block

I was reading today about the ancient Egyptians; more precisely, about their death beliefs and practices. The Egyptians pseudo-invented the ritual of embalming their dead in preparation for the afterlife in order to make the transition to the Sweet Thereafter as smooth as possible. Well, about as smooth as removing the dead brain tissue through the nostrils with a hooked instrument can be anyway.

The Egyptians believed that the physical body was resurrected after its interment in the pyramid in order to continue its existence in the afterlife. Therefore, great lengths were seen to the dead in order to properly prepare the bodies. They were carefully cleansed and equipped for their eventual journey before being sealed in their sarcophagi’s. Often, complete provisions were provided for in the tomb including food, slaves, tools, jewels, and sometimes even other family members in order to assist with the easy transition to the ‘Next World’. This is were the process begins to loose it’s grasp with me.

Now, if I were finally able to depart from this miserable existence and could drift off to Eternal Paradise as a free spirit without care, unencumbered by any shackles to this merciless world, the last thing I would want would be to have my family along in tow for the rest of eternity! I'm cool with all the personal effects and slaves to wait on me hand and foot, but my FAMILY? Never! It’d rather have my ‘Ka’, my ‘Ba’, and my ‘Akh’ (and whatever the fuck else it is that's to be judged) beamed directly down to the Underworld to be manufactured into something that would be scraped off Osiris's sandal after walking Anubis than end up on a neverending cross-country trip with my family.

Can you imagine going on a beautiful cruise through Heavenly Splendor down the River Styx and having your wife bitch at you the entire time? “Oh, Tutankhamun. Did you remember to pack the UV2 sunblock? I hope you didn’t forget to turn off the kitchen sink back in the Royal Palace!” Or the kids whining in the background: “Pharoah, are we THERE yet? I have to go to the bathroom!”

Likewise, all their internal organs were removed and systematically preserved in special ceremonial burial urns. Yeah, that’s mighty convenient all right! I can barely stand to carry around one suitcase when I travel abroad, nevermind having to look after and lug around all my internal organs in separate bags. What a pain in the ass! “Honey, have you seen my liver? I hope I didn’t leave it back at the hotel.” Or find out that my intestines have been mistakenly placed on a wrong flight heading for Hades. I wonder if they installed those little wheels on those organ urns so that they could be wheeled around the afterlife quicker and easier when trying to catch connecting flights?


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