Hello! I just returned from the Central American
nation of Belize. And as you can tell, I got this amazing tan. Obviously, I didn’t get a tan. But we did get a hurricane. *Dramatic music* Up top…global warming. *Music* This question comes from an interview I did on NPR.
*evil laugh* Where a woman called in to say that her 92 year old mother had arranged for a cremation for herself in advance but had since heard that funeral homes are dissolving bodies in acid. So they question is… Are they gonna take my 92-year-old mother’s
body and dissolve it in acid? The answer is no, unless she’s like a mafia kingpin or something. In which case, maybe. What mother dearest probably heard about was something called alkaline hydrolysis. Also known as liquid cremation, although the liquid in question is not actually acid. Alkaline hydrolysis is actually a new type of body disposal. And traditionally, we don’t do so well with new stuff in general in the funeral industry. When cremation first came to America, people we’re like “Pagan! Barbaric!” And now, like a hundred years later they’re like ‘Oh my god, it’s so simple and clean just cremate me.’ Now, there are some fancy animations on the internet about how alkaline hydrolysis actually works. But since our budget here at Ask A Mortician is oh…negative $952, this is gonna have to do. First we have our dead body. Rest in peace my friend. The dead body is put in a silk bag like a precious jewel. That silk bag is put into a cage in a big metal tube thing that looks like the cryogenic holding tank they put Mel Gibson in Forever Young. What’s in that machine is a very hot high pressure mixture of water and lye, again, not acid. We wait three hours *ding* I think he’s ready. What’s left are white ashes, similar to a cremation and a brown-green liquid goo. The ash can be returned to the family but the liquid goes down the drain. Now, that’s the part that really seems to freak people out. Like, ‘Oh yeah, just put Grandpa down the drain.’ But I’m guessing that the people who say that don’t know that in the embalming process for a traditional funeral, the blood drained out of the body goes right down the drain. By the way, I’m just the messenger. So why would you choose this as opposed to regular cremation? It’s actually supposed to be a greener type of cremation. In that, it uses less fossil fuel and causes less emissions. So natural burial is like a bike, alkaline hydrolysis is like a Prius cremation is like a Ford and traditional burial is like a Hummer. So far, this process is only legal in like eight US states, period. As a wise philosopher once said, “Legalize it, don’t criticize it.” Seriously, corpse regulation is ridiculous and I don’t know if I would choose alkaline hydrolysis for my own corpse but we should be able to have open air pyres, we should be able to leave our bodies out to be eaten by animals. We should be able to bury them in the backyard. Yes, there should be regulation but when it comes to corpses, I’m a corpse libertarian. Body liquefaction should be available to all little boys and girls of our nation. So they can grow up with lots of body disposal options. *Gangnam Style Song*