Pabst casket? A blue-ribbon idea!

Here's a way to have your casket and drink it too...

Aaah, PBR! Let Budweiser claim to be the king of beers; Pabst Blue Ribbon doesn't aspire to such lofty heights. Pabst is the beer of the working man, the hard-core drinker, the one that I'd pick up at the bar when I'd already gotten drunk and couldn't feel my nose. Pabst doesn't waste time on things like flavor or bouquet. No, it's a no-nonsense, get-you-drunk-and-happy beer.

In spite of its shortcomings, PBR has a surprisingly loyal fan base, including my grandfather, my friend John, and Bill Bramanti, a 67-year old Chicago Heights man who recently decided that he wanted his burial to have a little pomp and circumstance. While the Vikings went to Valhalla on flaming ships and the Pharaohs entered the afterlife surrounded by retainers, Bramanti wanted his death to say something about his life. With that in mind, he bought a casket from the Panozzo Brothers funeral home of Chicago Heights and had it customized by the Scott Sign Company, of the same city. Now, when it's Bill's time to enter the great big dive bar in the sky, he's going to do it in style, wrapped in a great big can of Pabst.

In the meantime, neither Bill nor his final vessel are wasting time. Rather than let his custom casket gather dust in the back room of some funeral home, Bramanti is using it. Shortly after getting it home, he filled it with ice and his favorite brew and threw a big party for his friends. As his daughter put it, "Why put such a great novelty piece up on a shelf in storage when you could use it only the way Bill Bramanti would use it?"

Maybe Bramanti is onto something. After all, there's a lot to be said for a casket that lets you live your life the way you want to. For a few thousand dollars, he's gotten a great casket, an awesome conversation piece, and the ultimate beer chest. I wonder if I can get one done up like a bottle of absinthe. For cremation, of course...

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He's wondering if funeral homes will give discounts on Mickey's Wide mouth caskets.
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