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by SixFigureStart | August 18, 2009


Wow. You wake up and switch on the news and find that economic forecasts have gone from deluded happy-talk about a recovery to some serious doom and gloom after one bad day on the markets. Not that we'll need to worry about it, of course, because the next item up is all about how we won't be around to collect on our worthless 401(k)'s anyway, thanks to the guvmint's inability to complete the simple task of overseeing the manufacture of 120 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine by October. Apparently, we'll only have 45 million by then, with a mere 20 million a week to follow afterwards. Correct me if I'm wrong, but being only 1 month behind on the production of 120 million of anything we hadn't heard of 18 months ago doesn't seem too bad. Regardless; hell in a handbasket seems to be where we're headed, and at warp speed, at least if a media desperate for a story following a solid month of not much happening is to be believed (unless you count eternal speculation on the healthcare front as "action").

Then, just when you think it might be safe to dip a toe back into the media water in search of some light titillation, you click a link and come across this piece in the Washington Post. People so desperate for cash they're selling their burial plots in cemeteries across the nation—a pastime that apparently used to be reserved only for people who couldn't stand the sight of each other. No, really; check out this quote from the piece:

"We usually hear, 'I'm selling because I hate that son of a gun and the only thing we've got together is burial plots, and I'll be damned if I'm going to be buried next to that so-and-so,' " said Bob Ward cemetery property specialist with the Cemetery Registry. "Or, 'Grandpa bought these plots in 1932 , and I'll be damned if I'm going back to New Jersey to be buried. I live in Arizona.' Now we're hearing, 'I'm losing my house.' Or, 'I'm out of work.'"

Throughout the piece, litanies of misery proliferate as the journalist digs deep (their pun from the headline) to unearth (OK, that's mine) the reasons that have led people to such dire circumstances that they'd consider selling their eternal resting place. (The question of why people had them in the first place is, sadly, somewhat overlooked.)

Still, despite the inherent misery in the piece, there are a couple of positive things for any Pink Slipped reader to take away from the article. First, that regardless of the current state of the economy we're all headed for the same place. Or, as Fairfax Memorial Park vice president Mike Doherty puts it in a thinly veiled sales pitch in the piece: "Death is not optional."

Not cheerful enough for you? OK, how about this as a positive takeaway: you're not selling gravesites for a living a la the two sources excerpted here. That's something to be thankful for at any time—and especially at a time when it would appear that there's a glut of available real estate.

Posted by Phil Stott, Vault Staff Writer

Associated Press/Plinio Leprio


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