Learning To Love You More




Assignment #51
Describe what to do with your body when you die.

Seth Perlow
Brooklyn, New York USA



When I die, I want to be fired into the sun. Not just fired at the sun or cremated and then shot into space—I want my intact body actually to go into the sun. I recognize that I will be rapidly vaporized, but I do not want my body to be damaged or even embalmed before I am engulfed by the sun's great tongues of fire. I should simply be placed into a durable, hermetically sealed casket suitable for the journey, launched into orbit around whatever planet I'm on when I die, and then fired along a trajectory that ensures that the first thing I'll hit will be the sun. Rest assured that my entry into the sun will pose no threat to the sun's stability or to the living things that rely upon it for light and head. Paying for this journey in the present day would be pretty expensive: I learned at space camp that it costs about $28,000 per pound just to get something into orbit around the Earth, let alone to shoot it into the sun. I weigh about 165 pounds, so that's about $4.6 million to get into orbit, plus the cost of getting shot at the sun (probably less than getting into orbit, since most of the gravity-fighting is done). If we call it an even $6 million ticket in the present day, I could maybe afford it only if all of my family died before I did—which would leave me with a lot of money to spend and no guilt about leaving broke relatives back on Earth. That said, I'm probably not going to die for at least another 50 years, hopefully not for another 60 years, and space flight is getting cheaper every day. My optimistic prediction is that by the time I pass away, it'll cost less than $2 million to have my body shot into the sun—a totally doable amount. And it will absolutely be worth it to know that my molecules will be vaporized, broken down into mostly helium, and either trapped in the great belly of our star until it collapses into a black hole (in which case parts of me could actually end up in a different universe) or else shot all over the f-ing galaxy, riding the solar winds like the last great bronco that they are. As to funerary rituals performed between my death and my trip to the sun, I leave that to my friends and relatives but kindly request that neither singing nor God be involved. Bagpipes might be nice.