When I was 16, I had a job on the cleaning crew at a local hospital. I wore a pink uniform and cleaned bathrooms and buffed the hallway linoleum. Oddly, I don't recall hating the job. I recall getting choked up at the end of the summer when I went to turn in my uniform and say goodbye to the ladies.
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APAMary Roach Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=when-i-was-16-i-had-job-on-cleaning-crew-at-local-hospital-i-wore-pink-uniform-cleaned-bathrooms-buffed-hallway-linoleum-oddly-i-dont-recall-hating-job-i-recall-getting-choked-up
ChicagoMary Roach Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=when-i-was-16-i-had-job-on-cleaning-crew-at-local-hospital-i-wore-pink-uniform-cleaned-bathrooms-buffed-hallway-linoleum-oddly-i-dont-recall-hating-job-i-recall-getting-choked-up, accessed .
MLA"Mary Roach Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=when-i-was-16-i-had-job-on-cleaning-crew-at-local-hospital-i-wore-pink-uniform-cleaned-bathrooms-buffed-hallway-linoleum-oddly-i-dont-recall-hating-job-i-recall-getting-choked-up
It is astounding to me, and achingly sad, that with eighty thousand people on the waiting list for donated hearts and livers and kidneys, with sixteen a day dying there on that list, that more then half of the people in the position H's family was in will say no, will choose to burn those organs or let them rot. We abide the surgeon's scalpel to save our own lives, out loved ones' lives, but not to save a stranger's life. H has no heart, but heartless is the last thing you'd call her.
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It would be especially comforting to believe that I have the answer to the question, What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that's that-the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness, persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop?
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Here's the other thing I think about. It makes little sense to try to control what happens to your remains when you are no longer around to reap the joys or benefits of that control. People who make elaborate requests concerning disposition of their bodies are probably people who have trouble with the concept of not existing. [... ] I imagine it is a symptom of the fear, the dread, of being gone, of the refusal to accept that you no longer control, or even participate in, anything that happens on earth. I spoke about this with funeral director Kevin McCabe, who believes that decisions concerning the disposition of a body should be mad by the survivors, not the dead. "It's non of their business what happens to them whey the die, " he said to me. While I wouldn't go that far, I do understand what he was getting at: that the survivors shouldn't have to do something they're uncomfortable with or ethically opposed to. Mourning and moving on are hard enough. Why add to the burden? If someone wants to arrange a balloon launch of the deceased's ashes into inner space, that's fine. But if it is burdensome or troubling for any reason, then perhaps they shouldn't have to.
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I am very much out of my element here. There are moments, listening to the conversations going on around me, when I feel I am going to lose my mind. Earlier today, I heard someone say the words, "I felt at one with the divine source of creation." Mary Roach on a conducted tour of Hades. I had to fight the urge to push back my chair and start screaming: STAND BACK! ALL OF YOU! I'VE GOT AN ARTHUR FINDLAY BOX CUTTER! Instead, I quietly excused myself and went to the bar, to commune with spirits I know how to relate to.
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I walk up and down the rows. The heads look like rubber halloween masks. They also look like human heads, but my brain has no precedent for human heads on tables or in roasting pans or anywhere other than on top of a human bodies, and so I think it has chosen to interpret the sight in a more comforting manner. - Here we are at the rubber mask factory. Look at the nice men and woman working on the masks.
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The point is that no matter what you choose to do with your body when you die, it won't, ultimately, be very appealing. If you are inclined to donate yourself to science, you should not let images of dissection or dismemberment put you off. They are no more or less gruesome, in my opinion, than ordinary decay or the sewing shut of your jaws via your nostrils for a funeral viewing.
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There, just beyond his open palm, was our mother's face. I wasn't expecting it. We hadn't requested a viewing, and the memorial service was closed-coffin. We got it anyway. They'd shampooed and waved her hair and made up her face. They'd done a great job, but I felt taken, as if we'd asked for the basic carwash and they'd gone ahead and detailed her. Hey, I wanted to say, we didn't order this. But of course I said nothing. Death makes us helplessly polite.
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