JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post Part of the History of Goodbye series.
"May I touch it?"
"Please don't, it will leave a mark"-- on corpses, from Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One.
In the vast history of humans and their disposing of the dead, of the great rituals and spectacular belief systems pertaining to the body and the non-corporeal bits and flavorings within, there is probably not much at all dealing with the creation of screw coffins with duckies on top.
Such is the very recent idea of this painful looking piece of business: slide the body in, stand the screw coffin upright, and then by motive force either human or mechanical screw the thing into the Ea rth. This is all done for the theoretical modesty of economical land usage. And I guess this would make sense, even more so, than putting a corpse in a very expensive box, a corpse that has been treated so that it will decay very slowly over long periods of time, stuck in a box that is made to further prevent decay, and then place the whole thing (horizontally) into the ground, where no one will ever see it again. It seems like such a great effort to undertake to simply hide a body under a thousand pounds of dirt, when the corpse might as well not even be there. SO I guess if it makes sense to observe this practice, you might as well take up less ground.
The logistics might be a problem--after all, you'll need a casket for the coffin to transport the thing from the church or wherever to The Place of Last Repose, as I don't very well imagine the look of the torpedo screw in the confines of some holy relic or draped-up maudlin-eseum. I mean, the thing would look repulsive.
And the little bits that go on top really don't help it, either:
The whole "placement" business seems rather indelicate--I can't imagine anyone's elderly Auntie standing around to watch The Beloved twisted underground by a John Deere:
This is actually one of a number of different contempo-coffins designed to both save space and disgust. Here's the Vampire Stake coffin:
And the bullet coffin:
And of course the artificial flower tapered urn coffin:
It does, however, seem as though it is dramatic evermore with each turn of the screw. It also looks pretty difficult to do.