Here’s a different ‘dead zone’

Published 12:37 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The phone rang and I heard my husband’s voice on the other end.

“Have you written your column yet?” he said.

“I’m working on it,” I answered.

“Do you know what you are going to write about?” he said.

“Not exactly,” I said, “Why?”

“Listen to this,” he said.

He started telling me about a story on MSNBC. It was a story about people and their cell phones. I listened in amazement.

“You have got to be kidding,” I said.

“Go to the Web site and read it,” he replied. “It’s in the tech/science section.”

We hung up and I looked up the story on the Web site. Sure enough, there it was exactly as he described with the headline that read, “Bury me with my cell phone.”

It seems there is a growing trend to have electronic devices, in particular cell phones, buried with the deceased. I read the entire story shaking my head in disbelief.

There are no statistics showing the prevalence of the practice, but funeral directors report an increased number of burials that include electronics.

I am trying to get my head around the thought process that goes with making this decision. Why would you want to take your cell phone with you into eternity? I mean that would be one heck of a long distance call — imagine the charges. Certainly, the phone would be roaming because I can’t quite picture a cell phone tower in heaven.

Of course, I’m kidding. I’m sure no one thinks you can call from the great beyond, but wouldn’t it be something if you could. Just imagine getting that call.

Ring, ring, or buzz, buzz or some Beatle ring tone.


“Hi. This is your great aunt Marge calling. Just wanted to see how things are going with you.”

“Aunt Marge, but you are — dead.”

“Well, yes but my cell phone contract hasn’t expired and I did take my Razor with me so I thought I’d use it before I lose it.”

Better yet, some folks are carrying their BlackBerry with them to their final resting place. How do you text from the great beyond? It raises all these questions about how you’d type. Do spirits have fingers or would you just telepathically text?

The story pointed out that some people have devices buried with them because they were so closely associated with the person or because it was a thing they held dear in life.

“George was always on his cell phone. Just seems right it should go with him.”

“Jane just doesn’t look like Jane without that Bluetooth in her ear.”

“John sure loved his iPod, can’t imagine him passing on without it beside him.”

Of course, this could lead to a real problem for the person whose love in life is his 50-inch plasma television, but that’s another story.

Call me crazy, but it seems the real story here is not the dearly departed and their loved ones burying cell phones and iPods and Gameboys. It’s the idea that we are so attached to these things we can’t let them go even when we leave this earthly plain.

We know from the Egyptian pharaohs who buried a ton of stuff to help them on their journey to the afterlife that it ends up hundreds of years later being something an archeological expedition discovers and studies to figure out what happened to some long forgotten culture that mysterious vanished.

I wonder what future humans will conclude about the demise of our society when they excavate an ancient burial site, discover a cell phone that miraculously still has a working ring tone and hears the haunting sound of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”