So, have you heard the one about the closeted homosexual who nearly dropped the dead lady on the floor of the morgue? Or how about the skinny white dude who saved the other dead lady from being upended in the elevator while trying to get her up to the waiting van? My, I do have a sorted past. For some reason, back in my earlier quite tender and impressionable years, I ended up having three pretty close friends who all just happened to be undertakers. It's definitely a 24-hour-a-day job. So, if I ever wanted to spend any time with them, I'd have to go with them on "calls" to pick up a body from a house/hospital/nursing home, take it to the funeral home, sometimes sit around making small talk while the embalming was done, and then we'd go have a taco or Big Gulp to round out the evening.
One evening, I was helping a male nurse's aide take an older woman who had died from the emergency room down to the morgue. We were then suppose to transfer her from the emergency room gurney onto the table in the morgue. I'm not sure how many of you have been in a morgue, but there are large stainless steel trays that the bodies rest on. They are not fixed to the tables but are designed to be moved. So, we were lifting up the lady who was wrapped up in a sheet and gave the "1-2-3 Lift!" count. The only problem is that we didn't lift her up quite high enough to clear the edge of the stainless steel tray and knocked that sucker to the ground. I don't know how much the trays weigh, but it's definitely enough to make one of the loudest crashes in history. Meanwhile, we've got said woman wrapped in the sheet and suspended in midair waiting...waiting....waiting..... and then we start laughing. Which does nothing to help concentrate our efforts to get her back to the starting position. It was terrible. Terribly funny, I'm afraid. In a pretty twisted sort of way.
Another evening, we were in the basement morgue of a different hospital and ready to take this dead woman up the elevator to the waiting van for transporting. We roll the gurney into the elevator and I run upstairs to the floor above and press the "up" button to bring her up. Meanwhile, my undertaker friend is down below closing the door behind her and then suppose to come upstairs. The elevator starts moving up and things were progressing nicely until we discovered that the gurney has been pushed just a little too far into the elevator and the end of it has caught on a non-movable, permanent piece of metal. So, one end of the gurney is continuing its upward climb while the opposite end of the gurney is stationary and not moving at all. The poor woman was being upended into a vertical position! So, I yell "Hey, we've got a problem....stop!" An understatement, I know. We lower it back down, fix the issue, and proceed as schedule. And guess who couldn't stop laughing again?
I guess I could continue into Embalming 101 here, but I think we'll save that exciting episode for another time.