I’m very cynical about death-positive bods, death-studies geeks and bioarchaeological boffins incessantly framing themselves and their lives with mortuary artefacts and images, including human remains. Yet, equally, I’m not completely adverse to the occasional death selfie when the occasion arises. I’ve even acquired a skull suit for suitable mortuary public occasions…
I just think we needn’t always immerse ourselves in the traces of past lives to justify our own senses of identity incessantly. But the occasional quick dip is surely ok?
And in my defence, as mortuary archaeologists always say, context is everything. Hence, having a gift of a bone-related artefact isn’t so bad when it is (a) from my MA Archaeology of Death and Memory students, and (b) acquired by said students from the Shop in the Clouds at the Ponderosa Cafe on the Horseshoe Pass. These two dimensions together allow me to completely dispel any feelings that having a skull goblet might just be the slightest bit cheesy and gaudy. Moreover, they make the dissemination of a selfie of me with said artefact an essential requirement of my personal and professional identity.
Put these two things together, and I find myself delighted and proud to be owner of my first-ever skull goblet. The pic above is of me using it ‘in anger’ during a live death lecture to my MA students. It contains mortuary coffee (or just possibly death covfefe, it’s hard to tell). The goblet has miniature skulls all over the bowl, and the stem is composed of vertebrae.
How cool is that!?
“Very cool”, is the answer.
That’s it. That’s the blog post. There’s nothing further to say. Just that I’m now proud owner of a skull goblet and I don’t care. You know why? Because it means I’m winning at both life, and death, simultaneously!