Is this post a book review or a dad memory? Oh, heck. No need to be parsimonious about it. The dad memory is PROMPTED by the book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, which is excellent but doubtless caters to a select audience.
I'm reminded of when my BFF gave me Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and stated, "you're the only person I know for whom I actually worried you might have already read it" (yes, she said for whom...those PhDs...).
Anyway, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a biting, darkly humorous (VERY DARKLY) account of a budding mortician. It states in the author's note, "For those who do not wish to read realistic depictions of death and dead bodies, you have stumbled onto the wrong book." Ah, that audience does not include me.
WHICH BRINGS ME to tales of dad, and no, not because he was cremated! Jeez. Before I was an ER nurse, I was a medical editor, and people justifiably balked at going into my office, because I had to size the figure art for medical journals. You never knew what you would find. But then I became a nurse, and everyone knows that nurses forget that not everyone can sanguinely discuss vomit, eviscerations, and amputations over dinner. In fact, we forget that anyone wouldn't want to hear about these things.
My dad was a pragmatic dude, but even he had his limits: at our family Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago, someone asked what I was doing for work these days. "AGH!" he faux-screamed, putting his hands up as if to fend off the forthcoming story. "Don't ask!" he said. "For God's sake, don't ask!"
Perhaps this was all just a flair for the dramatic, though; I heard his stories more than once of befriending a photographer for a children's hospital morgue.