The latest casualty (pun intended) in the long march of commoditization, convenience, and instant gratification is giving honor to the dead. Apparently, we just don’t have time even to get out of our cars to pay our respects. Behold, drive thru funerals:
The funeral home’s president, Ivan (EYE’-vuhn) Phillips, says he expects more customers to opt for the drive-thru once they learn it’s not a gimmick and is safe to use.
Curtains covering the window open when sensors underneath the pavement recognize the presence of a car. Mourners then get three minutes to view the body as music plays.
Phillips says drive-thru viewings are set up so they don’t conflict with traditional indoor viewings.
Does this not border on the tragico-comic? (Of course I’m referring to the fact that the Columbus, Indiana Republic thought it necessary to give us a pronunciation guide for “Ivan.”) No, but really, this idea of drive thru funerals disturbs me.
Just think of the car driving up, the curtains automatically opening, the (probably cheesy) music auto-playing, the body sitting there in garish make up. No one even has to attend to the display. It’s anonymous and distant. And absurdly American.
I imagine drive thru funerals are convenient for invalids and the extremely aged. But isn’t it cruel to even take them to viewings, much less drive thru funerals? They probably can’t drive themselves, which means the person driving them is basically saying, “I don’t care enough about you to help you out into a wheelchair so you can actually go and pay your respects.”
And then they see their friend or relative (or at least his dead body), and you know the aged people must be thinking, “I’m next. And no one will care enough about me to do anything but drive by in their car. I’ll be an inanimate Big Mac in a fast funeral.”
That’s just sad.