04 November 2008

Drunk Coffin Wagon Drivers

I have recently began reading Tom Hickman's Death: A User's Guide, and it is quite interesting. Here is a tidbit I felt compelled to share:
In late eighteenth-century Europe the dead were often driven to the cemetery after dark, though not for burial -- they were "parked" until the next day. Many countries had the problem that in the daytime drivers of coffin wagons used to stop off at taverns, then went on their way roaring drunk. Laws were passed making night delivery obligatory. Even if the drivers tippled, at least fewer citizens were around to be shocked by their behavior -- or at risk from their road use.
Mr. Hickman's book has thus far lived up to its front-cover wording: "From famous last words to quirky undertaker tales, from bizarre burials to unusual hereafters -- the ultimate guide to the world's most-talked-about subject..."

Oh, by the way, I voted today. You?

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