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Offers in the Mail to Die For

The mailings are about my impending demise. Do they know something I don't?

By Kevin Kusinitz

As far as health is concerned, I’m pretty lucky. I feel a good decade younger than my age, walk with a spring in my step and my last physical turned up aces. Yet I regularly receive junk mail implying that what the docs are telling me is all a sham.

Barely a week or two goes by without letters from allegedly nonprofit institutions suggesting I write them into my will before it’s too late. Since when was wanting to reserve a space in somebody's will considered good manners? And what good will, say, going to New York’s Metropolitan Museum’s “Questionable Art of the 21st Century” exhibition do me when I'm not around to see it?

Then there's my alma mater. Wasn’t it enough that my father paid my college tuition — now the school wants my money as well? They obviously don’t remember the kind of dough I already dropped at the on-campus pub four years straight. (I barely remember it either, but that’s another story.)

Act Now, Before It's Too Late

The most alarming mail I receive comes from cemeteries and mortuaries suggesting I reserve a space at their low, low prices. I should be used to it by now. The very first time I received one of these things was the day I turned 35. That really put the "happy" in "happy birthday."

One of the more elaborate mortuary brochures I’ve received used a harder sell than the others. If I acted now — and saved 20 percent off their regular "Pre-Need Prices" — I could "secure a prime location." Their pitch shamelessly played the family card as well.

“There is probably one thing that you have not taken care of,” it advised me. Like Swiffering the living room that I promised my wife?

This thing may be uncomfortable to face, but it is the “singular thing that we all have in common.” A strong dislike for my cable company?

We are all going to die someday.” Whoa! Like it wasn't enough that they put it there in giant type; they had to underline it, too?

They don’t have to remind me I’m on the third base of life; I've got mirrors.

Oh, Happy Day

The copy continued: “When or how? We do not know, nor do we want to think about it.”

Well, we are sure thinking about it now, thanks very much.


“Surely it will happen. Is your family prepared?” Actually, I think they're impatient.

“Have you handled the problem of what your family will do with you?”What my family will do with me? They’re making it sound like my wife’s already checking the schedule for the garbage pick-up.

Just to get your mouth watering, there are photos of different sections of the mortuary.

One is captioned “Choices for any budget.” That means “cheapskates only.”

Photo #2 is for “Designer areas.” I'm thinking those slabs come with an exclusive monogram, like a Louis Vuitton overnight bag.

And finally there's the “Elegant Private Family Rooms.” So you can crack jokes about your late beloved without being overheard — in style!

There's a photo of a family (parents, two kids and grandma) posing in a sunlit rotunda, looking very much like a Carnival Cruise rather than a mortuary. Another photo features them at grandpa's crypt, and smiling. They appear to be —and there’s no other way around it — happy. This has got to be the most honest family photo ever taken.

I’m able to block phone calls from phony charities, but I’ve yet to figure out a way to keep the mortuary offers from filling my mailbox. Maybe I can mark the envelopes RETURN TO SENDER — TOO LATE, PAL!

I just hope they never get the address of my designer crypt, or they’ll never stop.

Kevin Kusinitz is a writer living in New York with his wife. To his shock, he won three Promax Awards for his network promos at the turn of the 21st century. His cynically humorous outlook on life, culture and politics can be read at Read More
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