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Some of us work for a better living. I work for a better post-deathing. As a one-woman funeral service in the rural town of Boring, Oregon, I am eschewing big profits to prophet old-school burial practices that are kinder to humans and the Earth.

Like a lot of passionate professionals, I met my dream career in childhood. My mother and grandparents died when I was young. I read about different cultures' death rituals in National Geographic magazine, had a mock cemetery on my dresser, and when friends' pets died, I would perform the funeral. My father worried that mortuary school would severely limit my career path and encouraged me to study journalism, a nice, “normal” field of study.

And so, I majored in communications in college. Did commercials. Taught ballroom dancing for Arthur Murray. I could have gone on this way, dancing La Vida Traditional-Professional, had Opportunity not knocked its bony hand on my door. I was offered the chance to be a live-in night keeper at a funeral home on a big hill, and I slept in a trailer on the spooky edge of the cemetery with a shotgun under my bed. It was the scariest summer of my life.

So what else? Living out loud, that's what! I'm currently the voice of the autopsy exhibit in the forensic wing at the United States National Museum of Medicine, and am back to the ballroom. My dance partner, Scott, and I teach the brilliant students at Reed College how to cut the rug. No more “the man is the frame; the lady is the window.” These kids are too cool for school.

So refill your Super Big Gulp, get cozy in your chair, and take some time to read about my world. I'm glad you're here.