Bury me in a rhombic dodecahedron

Hubby and I have talked about where our cremated remains will go one day. Like, what kind of box. (Still keeping an eye out for a good columbarium.) I’m thinking of a Hollinger box, the kind archivists use. I use them too. They even have human remains boxes, though I suspect their intended use is a bit more anthropological.

But one of my unlikely-favorite blogs is box vox, about packaging. It has an article about boxes that stack without lost-space voids, but aren’t cubes.  One is a rhombic dodecahedron. I wouldn’t mind knowing my remains end up in one of those.

Death by cuboctahedronFellow geeks might think, like I did, of the Star Trek redshirts who were reduced to foam-like solids, by the Space Baddy in “By Any Other Name.” (One of which, pictured here, was crushed to death.) I suppose that’s the opposite of having one’s mortal remains preserved in a polyhedron, but since they’re cuboctahedrons that’s different.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I always think that burying is best. Give your body back to the soil. Let your body feed the land and encourage growth

  2. As a confirmed urbanite, I would rather remain (as remains) in a city and modern burial is far from green. Green “forest” burial is an option, but has a built-in carrying capacity. See, too, the problems American Muslims have in finding and maintaining burial grounds and even these are hardly places of vegetal fecundity.

    I’ve written on the greenest possible disposition before: burial at sea, which is a legal option provided it takes place beyond the limits of the continental shelf. See these posts: http://boyinthebands.com/archives/green-burials/ and http://boyinthebands.com/archives/ethical-man-the-end/ and http://boyinthebands.com/archives/epa-page-for-burial-at-sea/ and http://boyinthebands.com/archives/coast-guard-collect-more-about-burial-at-sea/

    I didn’t realize I had written so much about disposition of the dead.

  3. While I can appreciate the idea logically, the ick factor is pretty high. And what if you lose it? (A sentiment shared by some office mates a few weeks back when the subject came up.)

    Of course, it does permit an overly complex revenge scenario: convert a secretly loathed relative into a diamond . . . and then hock the it.

  4. Please don’t bury me
    Down in that cold cold ground
    No, I’d druther have “em” cut me up
    And pass me all around
    Throw my brain in a hurricane
    And the blind can have my eyes
    And the deaf can take both of my ears
    If they don’t mind the size
    Give my stomach to milwaukee
    If they run out of beer
    Put my socks in a cedar box
    Just get “em” out of here
    Venus de milo can have my arms
    Look out! I’ve got your nose
    Sell my heart to the junkman
    And give my love to rose

    Give my feet to the footloose
    Careless, fancy free
    Give my knees to the needy
    Don’t pull that stuff on me
    Hand me down my walking cane
    It’s a sin to tell a lie
    Send my mouth way down south
    And kiss my as* goodbye

  5. Strains of “Bury me not in the lone prairie” David?

    This reminds me. That cowboy standard is based on “The Ocean Burial” (“Bury me not in the deep, deep sea”) by — wait for it — Universalist minister Edwin Hubble Chapin.

    And we’ve come full circle.

  6. the song David was quoting was by John Prine entitled “Please Don’t Bury Me”
    – John was (is) a country or folk singer, most influential in the 1970s. It says on Wikipedia that he got the Artist of the Year Award for 2005 from the Americana Music Association. I have no idea how hip or lame the Americana Musical Association is….
    I had not heard about E.H. Chapin and the Ocean Burial
    – so (assuming they were in Richmond at the same time), did Chapin and Poe know each other?

  7. Thank you for the link to my packaging blog. Surprising how often religion is popping up as a topic there–the designer of the box in my article is the author of a Quaker tract entitled “Jesus Christ Forbids War”–and here you are (a Unitarian Universalist Christian paster?) also with an interest on rhombic dodecahedrons!

    When I was a kid it was to a Unitarian church in Jacksonville, Florida that my mother would take us. I always remembered how the minister there used crutches and had a special van which he had to be loaded into lying down. The story was, that he had suffered some sort of injury and was given the choice of spending the rest of his life in a standing position or in a sitting position and, being a minister, he chose the standing position.

  8. @R.L. Small world!

    My other readers might also want to read http://www.blog.beachpackagingdesign.com/2008/05/close-packing.html and http://www.blog.beachpackagingdesign.com/2008/06/fred-baurs-fune.html
    for more about close packing and the funeral use of packaging.

    I can imagine there are plenty who would like to spend eternity in a Toblerone wrapper. Or perhaps I can think of life before death and the best use of resources and design. Either way.

    And does anyone out there know about the Jacksonville minister?

  9. If you wished it, you could have your cremains put into a dodecahedron mold with a mild coagulant. Then it would be possible to have the cremains ceremonially crushed a la the Andromedans in Star Trek. Any undertaker could probably accomplish the molding of the cremains.

    As strange as this seems, I imagine that if I presented this idea to the Trekkers I went to college with and most of my long-term friends, they would all be saying, “Wow! What a great idea!”

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