You are going to die one day. No one likes to think about it, but it is a universal truth. And while the actual dying part probably won't be any fun, that doesn't mean your funeral has to be boring. While you would think mourning your dead would be pretty self-explanatory (dig a hole and then cry over it for a bit) history has proven that there is no end to man's creativity when it comes to funerals. Ever since we first invented ritual burial over 100,000 years ago, people have been experimenting with new and sometimes outright crazy ways of disposing of our dead. These days most people stick to your average burial or cremation, but saying goodbye to a deceased loved one can be so much more exciting than that. Okay, so maybe the tradition of eating your relatives or hanging their coffins off a high mountain should stay firmly in the past. You still have plenty of options.
In Los Angeles, residents can make sure funerals are as convenient as possible by holding them at the city's drive through funeral parlor. In Taiwan, strippers can help liven up the otherwise sad event. Even if you want your funeral to be relatively low key, take a page out of the Australian residents who had their coffin lowered into the ground to the tune of "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred. Or try and make your send-off one for the history books, or at least the Guinness Book of World Record. Funeral-related records are hard fought, including the fastest hearse, the largest funeral procession, and the most expensive coffin (available in mahogany or gold plated.)
The options are there, so go all out. After all, it doesn't matter if something goes wrong; you won't be there to find out.
Kathy Benjamin is the author of the new book Funerals to Die For: The Craziest, Creepiest, and Most Bizarre Funeral Traditions and Practices Ever.
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