Recently I caught an episode of Conan O’Brien wherein the star of Crossing Jordan recounted a horror story about getting locked inside a casket for a while on the set. If you are like me, a flood of questions comes into your head regarding this event. Of course, if you are like me, chances are you are too busy cleaning out your belly button to read this. It is only through a heroic effort that I am able to put aside the thoughts of the blue-gray sweater that is marinading in there long enough to write this. But I digress. Almost immediately one question blocked out all of the rest. I became confused. Locked? Caskets have locks?
It is my understanding that locks serve only two purposes. Keeping things in and keeping things out. I have difficulty finding need for either of those two services in regards to a casket, but for the sake of argument, let us analyze the possibilities. First, keeping things out. They say you can’t take it with you, but casket locks would imply that a disproportionate amount of people are trying. They are loading their various trinkets and knickknacks into their fancy box and locking it like some eternal safe deposit box, because you never know who might want to steal it. Is grave robbing still a problem? If so, you would think that six feet of dirt is deterrent enough. If a crafty fiend is able to surreptitiously excavate a few dozen cubic feet of soil, chances are that lock isn’t going to turn him away. ?Aw, Gee Whiz. I need a shovel and a key? Screw that!?
Alternatively, there is the ?keep things in? theory. This would imply one of three things. First, coroners don’t want people finding out about their mistakes. And who can blame them, really. If you were incompetent enough to put a living person into the ground, you sure as heck don’t want them digging themselves up and ratting you out. How would that look on a resume? Next, zombies. Again, a reasonable precaution. If a $5 lock could prevent the scourge of the undead from wresting control of the surface from the living, then you would feel pretty dumb for not taking that trip to the hardware store. Not to mention it is about time 2Pac let the living have their turn at the billboard charts. Finally, a variation on the last possibility, vampires. As we all know, vampires, like Michael Jackson, make it a point to sleep in caskets. Making it a policy to have locks on all caskets makes it easier to get the drop on them. You just sneak up and lock them in an viola, no more king of pop, or count of Transylvania. Equally noble pursuits, if you ask me.
So maybe there is something to this casket lock business. Anything that could keep your posthumous possessions safe and rid the world of a pop artist who has gone mad with power can’t be all bad. Join us next week when we assess the value of the other postmortem security measure, the coffin nail.