How Ikigai Helped Me Become my Best Grave Robber Self
By Larry Kahaner
(This story first appeared in The Haven)
Finally, I have reached my true calling. I am the world’s most accomplished (and best loved) grave robber. I owe it all to the Japanese concept known as Ikigai.
As many of you know, Ikigai is a way to learn what you should be doing with your life. Let me show you how the four principles have helped to shape my blessed and awesome lifestyle of excavating those from the hereafter.
What you are good at. How could I not be good at something that I feel passionate about i.e., freeing a dead body from its earthly prison, giving it new life in a medical school, a necrophiliac’s basement or placed in someone’s bed to persuade them to do the ‘right thing.’ We all want to help others live in God’s light, don’t we? If I can be part of that then I’m totally on board.
I am so proficient at grave robbing that I even invented a special device to help expedite the process. I fastened a flashlight to my hat so both hands are free. Yes, I know that miners have been doing this for years, but I’m doing it overground.
What you love. I admit it. I’m a cadaver whore. The exhilaration of anticipating how far a corpse has rotted, watching the joyous maggots living their own peak lives (insects benefit from Ikigai, too) and the ghastly stench that propels me into cosmic consciousness are special gifts. It’s like Christmas morning in the dead of night whenever I’m lifting carcasses. When I thrust the spade into soft earth it’s like, dare I say it… sex. And when I feel that first shovel-tap on the casket…
What the world needs. Grave robbing has a long and cherished tradition in art and literature. (Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, yo.) Sadly, it’s become a lost practice. I don’t know what’s with young people these days that they don’t want to do this kind of work. They think it’s beneath them or something to wear a top hat and torn slicker while skulking through graveyards. There’s a growing movement to bring back artisan handicrafts like pickling, knitting, or making clothes from hemp. In a world full of digital this and virtual that, I am doing my part to promote old world, shovel-in-hand skills. You’re welcome.
What you can get paid for. Are you kidding me? Do you know what a corpse goes for these days? A pretty penny, I tell you. I’ve got orders backed into next year. It’s supply and demand, baby. With so many people wanting dead bodies and few of us offering this service, I have job security like you wouldn’t believe.
You know how your parents were always telling you to have something to fall back on if your writing career didn’t pan out. Grave robbing is the key to lifelong financial security. Career tip: Find a guy who buys rings and other jewelry items without asking too many questions. You make bank both ways. That’s good biz in today’s gig economy.
In conclusion, I know that grave robbing isn’t right for everybody, but is it right for you? Keep digging (if you know what I mean) until you find your own calling through Ikigai.
Larry, this is hilarious! Your sense of humour is reminiscent of my son-in-law’s (okay, ex-son-in-law, but still), particularly in his novel, “Necropolis.” In fact your “chosen profession” also kind of relates to his book. You guys should team up, honestly. You could be Graverobbers Inc. Btw, his name is Shane Simmons.
Thanks, Ellie. I will check out Necropolis.