Monday, March 15, 2010

Funding Burials Through eBay

In case you haven't heard, Corey Haim is dead. In case you were like me and already thought that he was dead, he wasn't. He is now, but it's new dead, not old dead. But dead is dead. And drug addicts are drug addicts. A lot of them end up in that dead is dead category. What are you going to do? (Uhhh....stop doing drugs? Now there's an idea!)

Apparently, Mr. Haim's situation was that, because he was a difficult drug addict to work with (hard to do good work when you're not there, so I've heard) he didn't have a lot of offers pouring in. And without offers, you're without work. And when you're without work, you're without money. Now, when you die, as crazy as this may seem, folks want you to pay money to them in order to bury you. That's hard to do when you don't have any money. And it's really hard to do when you're dead. That's why the whole 'paying for your funeral thing' is left up to those who didn't ruin their lives by ingesting so many drugs that it eventually and likely played a part in their demise in a downtown LA apartment building when they were 38. (By the way, a bit of useless trivia for you: Singer and woman kidnapper Rick James died in the same apartment building whenever it was that he met his predictable demise.)

Turns out, however, that Corey Haim's mother didn't have any money either. She has apparently been battling cancer. Cancer makes it hard to work. I don't have a problem with that. (Nice job, Corey. Couldn't curtail your drug usage to the point where you wouldn't have croaked and where your cancer riddled mother wouldn't have had to deal with the death of her son. Man, Corey Feldman was right. You were just a stand up guy.) What I have a problem with is how she was raising money for her son's funeral. I mean, maybe there's something that is not weird about selling your son's belongings on eBay for funeral change, but I don't know what that something would be.

That's right. She was selling his belongings on eBay. According to the folks over there at Associated Content (they're "The people's media company" doncha know?) "...most of Haim's personal belongings are being sold on eBay in order to raise money for the funeral." Now, I don't know if I was just late to the party or what, but I while there were plenty of Corey Haim items for sale on eBay (mostly autographed photos and the odd, odd memorial T-shirts that you can whip up 45 seconds after someone dies), I didn't find a lot that were his personal belongings. I did find this lovely dress shirt which sold for $99. Behold!

And I also found this Corey Haim toothbrush with a certificate of authenticity! So that's something! Behold!

Huh. The toothbrush, to my surprise, actually has one bid in on it and the bid is for $250! Who buys Corey Haim's toothbrush for $250? What are you going to do with that? See, I get buying memorabilia, but I prefer it to be relevant to the person that owned it. I mean, I would totally buy Elvis Presley's empty prescription drug bottles. Now THAT is memorabilia. I wouldn't go as seedy as to buy Bill Clinton's cigar box or anything like that. But I'd buy Whitney Houston's crack pipe. That'd be somethin'! David Carradine's belt? Sold! What can I say? I like a good conversation piece.

Side note: The personal items like the shirt are being auctioned off by a one Scott Schwartz. Apparently, the family gave the items to him to put on eBay, so it's not like he's doing it just to make money off of Corey Haim's boxer shorts or anything like that. He was a friend of Corey's. And if the name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps when I mention that he was the kid in the movie A Christmas Story who got his tongue frozen stuck on the flagpole. There's a claim to fame for you! You're known as "Tongue on the Flagpole" guy AND the merchant auctioning off Corey's Haim's dress pants on eBay. That's a job title if I've ever heard of one.

I have two points with all of this. The first point goes back to the absolutely reprehensible Corey Feldman. Dude, if you knew that your friend died broke, what say you kick in a bit and make it so that it doesn't go public, all right? If he was "your friend" and you want him to be remembered as "a legend" (he wasn't a legend, by the way, so that was never going to happen, I was just saying), what say you see if you can scrounge up some cash for his funeral and his burial? What say you ask the addle brained Larry King (whose show you're always on when one of your past cohorts kicks it)? Why don't you ask him to pony up some cash for this guy's funeral? Why don't you do anything besides shoving your face behind every microphone out there and saying how much you loved him, while at the same time, someone is auctioning his tube socks on eBay? What is wrong with you?

And my second point is more of just a point of contention. I understand that caskets and burials are expensive. I know that very well. But you know, there is an option. There is cremation. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper. Don't get me wrong. If you are planning on just burying someone in a casket and then you find out you're going to be going to cremation route, it's a bit tough to swallow at first. I don't know why. They're just as dead either way. What I'm saying is that it's not like there aren't any options if you don't have the cash for a casket. When my Dad died, I had no idea he wanted to be cremated. And learning of that desire was not exactly the easiest thing I've ever had to swallow. But the cremation by the Neptune Society was about a thousand dollars (and I'm in the heart of ridiculously expensive Silicon Valley, so don't be giving me any crap about my location or anything like that). We put him in a beautiful cherry wood container with a coastal scene engraved on it along with his name and everything for another three hundred bucks. (There was no way I was going with the stock, flimsy, fake brass container for $35!) We bought a plot for cremains (yes, that's what they're called and it oogs me out, too) in an awesome little cemetery in a tiny coastal town with massive pine trees everywhere and a view of a small ravine for $750. AND you're allowed to stack FOUR cremains in that thing! So technically, his portion of the plot was only $187.50! My Dad loved a good deal. I'm sure he was happy with it all.

So there are options. For a little over two grand, my Dad got the best burial I could have wanted for him. But beforehand, I wouldn't have known that I would have wanted that. In the end, it's all the same. He's exactly where he would have been no matter how we did it. And now he's where he is at a fraction of the cost of a full on casketed burial. I guess I'm just a little irritated that Corey Haim being penniless at death means that there needs to be thousands and thousands (the family is estimating twenty grand, by the way) of dollars raised for his burial. That's not what needs to happen. People need to stop acting like it does.

I just got done looking at a bunch of photos on Corey Haim's website. (Yes! He had a website!) Most of them were of him looking gaunt and strung out. You know, like a drug addict. But there were a bunch of them from when he was younger and before the drugs either had grabbed hold of him or before they had taken their toll. And I realize that the guy in those photos is the son that his mother lost. I'm sarcastic, I'm not heartless. My sincere condolences go out to his mom. Outliving your child does not sound like anything that anyone should have to go through. If you have a problem with whatever substance you choose, do everyone a favor and get off your drugs, try thinking about someone other than yourself for a change and edge yourself closer to making sure that you don't put your parents in the position that Corey Haim put his parents.

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