Jeff Vrabel: This Christmas, give the gift of a casket

Jeff Vrabel

If you are running out of gift ideas and time this Christmas season -- and, let's be honest, you are, I can see the cold desperation in your eyes -- boy, do I have good news for you. But I must warn you that it's gonna hinge a little bit on what your definition of "good news" is; I'm being honest when I say that when you buy someone a casket for Christmas and watch them unwrap it, it's going to make things more than a little weird around the old family hearth for a good 15 minutes or so. (Also, it's gonna take a ridiculous amount of wrapping paper; you may want to hit the Sam's Club. Try and find a good hiding place for it, too: You can't just hide a casket under the bed. Well, you can, but you need a super-tall bed, and still it would probably freak the bejesus out of the kids.)

"For the love of all things holy," you may now be muttering to yourself between horrified gasps and gulps of eggnog, "What kind of monster are you? Caskets for Christmas? Isn't that more of an Easter thing?" True. But I ask you to look on the bright side: I'm not just talking about caskets, I'm talking about caskets with stuff on them! Good stuff, like sports logos and movies and cats! See. And you doubted me.

For instance, if you've recently been made dead but are determined to put your friends and family through an extremely awkward subsequent few weeks, might I humbly suggest the Star Trek Casket, which is being made available in 2008 -- so hold off on the Baconators for a bit longer, kids -- by a company called Eternal Image, whose slogan includes the word "funerary," which I think means "funeral" but sounds like the punchline to an extremely dirty joke.

The Web site for Eternal Image ( -- which I demand you quit working, eating or paying attention to your children and seek out at once -- claims the company is out to celebrate the "passions of life," and by "life," they mean "death," because they sell wacky, decorative caskets and urns. And that is most certainly a plural -- it ain't just "Star Trek" here, people. According to the Web site, which lists no prices, tragically, your dearly departed can embark on their voyage into the great hereafter in wicked awesome style, rocking a Major League Baseball casket (nothing says grace and class like the insignia of the Kansas City Royals), a Precious Moments urn (Precious Moments are, of course, worse than death) and whatever is behind this link to the Vatican Library Collection; there's no amount of Baconators that could make me click on this link, people. (Also, there's a Fox News interview about the company. Seems a little low-rent of a story for a classy joint like Fox News, but maybe they just did it to kill time while waiting for Sean Hannity to finish gumming down his nightly horse-feed.)

The slogan for Eternal Image? "Why, when our lives are so full of passion, do funerals – events designed to celebrate a life -- have to be so plain and boring?" I'm not kidding; you can Google that (I agree, by the way -- they're also total downers). Elsewhere on the site, a bright Featured Products note alerts the wary reader that Eternal Image's "Striking Art Deco Pet Urn Design Approved for Production by the Cat Fanciers' Association," a group that evidently spends a lot more time thinking about death than you might imagine.

So ... anyway, I ... alright, so I clicked on the Pet Urn link. I did it because 1. There is nothing I wouldn't do in support of Legitimate Journalism and 2. It's a darn good thing I did, because this picture of a sprightly and not at all dead-looking kitten jumping out of a basket is the absolute last thing you'd expect to see on a casket company's Web site, with the possible exception of a video of 100 clowns juggling or an entire Thai penitentiary doing the dance from "Thriller." As for the urn itself, I am not a funerary specialist, but it looks a little like a feline urn, and a lot like something that would be on the cone of a futuristic Egyptian cat rocketship from space. (And don't be getting any ideas, cat people: "This product is for pets only," so if you had your heart set on your ashes being scooped into a second-unit prop from "The Mummy Returns," you better just find yourself a new urn company.)

But let's get back to Star Trek, or in particular the Star Trek(TM) Line of Urns and Caskets, which will be "an important discovery indeed," according to the ad copy written by someone who utterly lacks a soul. Unlike the Pet Urn, the Star Trek Urn looks nothing like a spaceship, except the top part, which looks completely like a spaceship. Does everyone on the planet want to be buried in a spaceship? Do you guys know something I don't about the spaceship thing? Is someone coming? ARE THEY?

Anyway, the Star Trek urn looks like something you'd find at the Sharper Image, if they sold urns, which I don't think they do, although I haven't really looked around there; I usually just sit in the massage chair for as long as I can until the mall closes or security throws me out. But the urn has nothing on the Star Trek casket, which, the site boasts, is "inspired by the popular 'Photon Torpedo' design seen in 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.' " See, this is what I'm saying: You're not giving a casket, you're giving a casket shaped like a torpedo! I'm totally down with this, as long as they can engrave a Kansas City Royals logo on it.

Jeff Vrabel is a freelance writer who'll scare you more than any ghost would ever dare to try. He can be reached at