Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stuff I didn't want to know

Handsets get taken to the grave:
More people than ever are asking to be buried or cremated with their mobile phones when they die, say researchers.

The trend, which began in South Africa, has now spread to a number of countries, including Ireland, Australia, Ghana, and the US.

Martin Raymond, director of international trend-spotting think-tank, The Future Laboratory said that this had started off "in the realm of the urban myth", but was fast becoming fact.

"You hear about it, the idea that people are being buried with their mobile phones, but you can't really believe it," he told the BBC World Service's Culture Shock programme.
Given that it's the BBC and a professional "trend-spotter," I'm still a tad dubious, but rock on:
He explained that the first cases of people asking to be buried with their phone originated in Cape Town, where some people's belief in witchcraft meant they feared that "they could fall under a spell, be put to sleep and actually be buried.

"In fact, they were asking for the phones to be put into the coffins with them in case they woke up."
And one service in South Africa will put a number of batteries in the coffin just in case the dead person wakes up much later and finds their own battery has run out.
Sheesh, now I believe it. I'm surprised that they don't furnish an aboveground antenna and a powerplug too. But it's not just the imperfectly civilized:
Mr Raymond said that in Australia the trend was more about affluence.

"People wanted to be buried with the totems that they felt represented their lifestyle," he explained.

"We came across one guy who asked to be buried with his mobile phone and his Blackberry, and also with his laptop."
Maybe there's a special instant messaging icon like a tiny coffin signifying "permanently offline."
He added that in many cases, being buried with your phone is part of what he termed limelight funerals, people wanting to be buried like celebrities.

The phone is put in the coffin along with diamonds, jewellery, expensive suits, and gold watches.
If the relatives and the funeral home employees don't get there first, I guess. More:
"When we looked at this in Chad and Ghana, there was part of that implicit in the burial service - that you were taking things with you that would be useful," Mr Raymond said.

"In Ireland, where we came across this, it was more to do with people being buried with things they liked. One guy we came across was buried with a pack of cigarettes and some matches.
No Guiness and a bottle opener? Over in the USA, the story takes a different twist:
In some cases, they are even taking their mobiles into cremation.

"We came across this in places like South Carolina in the US - people were being burned but unknown to the crematorium, they had left the phones in their jackets," Mr Raymond said.

"If you heat a mobile phone battery, it tends to explode, and the first reports were about explosions, and that's how they started noticing this trend."
I guess I'll have to forget about the Remington pump loaded with double ought buck.