There's a company out there, Space Services Inc., that will take your loved one's ashes and launch them into outer space -- for a substantial price, of course. Remember now, I said "ashes." They will not launch your mother-in-law before her time.

My feeling is that only eccentric people will buy this service. By the way, an eccentric is a crazy person with lots of money. If you are crazy and don't have any money, you can't be eccentric. You can only be loony.

Eccentric people can appear on talk shows. If you are just loony, people will just stare at you.

For $995, this company will launch a gram of your ashes. For $4,300, they will launch seven grams. If you can't afford to have all of you launched, I guess one might be put to rest just east of Orion and just west of Albuquerque. And let's face it, the memorial service won't get higher off the ground than the top doorstep. Private space travel is just not that advanced yet.

This Houston-based company buys unused space on rocket flights that drop satellites into outer space to transport your remains.

Now being the Baptist I am, I don't think that being launched into space is going to get me any closer to heaven. I know my remains would be really high off the ground, but in the big picture I don't think there's any advantage to being shot into space in this format. I'm just hoping God grades on the curve and a conventional burial will suffice.

Now if I was going to be cremated, I would have no interest in my ashes being launched into space. I would prefer that they be sprinkled over a mowed corn field right before a good dove shoot -- or maybe scattered down a dirt road somewhere under a canopy of live oaks. Make sure that road is not on a road paving priority list. But even then, I could be assured of solace for several decades, I suppose.

Then I read about another company (I forget the name) that will take your charred remains and compress them into a diamond. When I first heard about this I thought someone was pulling my leg. But one night on television they showed the process.

Basically, they said what was happening was that modern technology can do in a few days what it takes nature millions of years to do. So my thought was this, if they can turn charcoal into diamonds by recreating what nature does at high speed, then why can't we mimic the process that creates crude oil?

And let's face it, while diamonds have great value as trinkets, they can't power automobiles and other machines. Or to quote a famous line from that old movie "The Dirty Dozen", with some edification, "They are pretty, but they can't fight?"

And I don't know how I would feel if Aunt Beulah was compressed into a diamond and I had her set into a tie pin. I guess it all depends on how I felt about Aunt Buelah when she was still baking tea cakes and breaking switches.

My friend, The Earl of Stumpworth by the Ochlocknee, said he has seen marriages that had enough pressure in them to turn coal into diamonds. Of course he was not referring to his union with his wife, The Earlene. Theirs is the perfect bond -- a match made in heaven without the aid of space flight.

Of course we should not be surprised anymore of the gimmicks that appear on the marketing scene. They run the gamut. And launching human remains into heaven might even be considered poetic, given that some of these people may have worked themselves to death trying to pay off our national indebtedness which in some ways must now resemble those "black holes" they talk about in outer space. Yep, our federal spending has taken us to where no man has gone before.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail:

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