Calling him the “undertaker for the overshare generation,” NBC News posted a lengthy shout-out to Caleb Wilde, a member of the youngest generation of Parkesburg’s six-generation undertaking family.
Through his blog, twitter feed and Facebook page Caleb, according to the NBC article, “demystifies death and shines some light on the funeral industry with a mix of humor and helpful hints.”
The money quote from the article:
“Funeral directors can take advantage of people, and a lot of them do,” he says, citing gougers here and there who encourage the bereaved to buy a casket before a cremation, push the most expensive merchandise, or convince the grieving their loved one must be embalmed at extra cost.
“Educating the public also dispels misconceptions, like the idea that funeral directors are rolling in it, he says. Wilde drives a BMW M3, but it’s a 2001, and “the bank owns most of it.”
““We don’t make a lot of money. It’s a living but it’s not an upper-class living.”,” he says, pegging the average salary of an independent mortician at about $50,000. Plus, as he noted in a blog post, the hours are brutal, and so are the smells.”
While Caleb’s father Bill finds his son’s approach to the family’s business “cool,” not everyone is so enamored. Eighty-four year old Bud Wilde, Caleb’s grandfather, is quoted by NBC in the article saying of his grandson’s Confessions Of A Funeral Director blog, “I don’t read it. I don’t think I’d like it.”
To be sure this isn’t the first time there’s been a generation gap between a young man and his grandfather. Nor the last.
Bud’s considerable experience, gentle dmanner and good nature aside, its hard to argue with Caleb’s social media numbers. Every day thousands of reader around the world find Caleb’s witty insight and preternatural wise perspective both refreshing and humanizing.
His incessant posts and tweets serve as a daily reminder of life’s fleeting brevity and that no one, absolutely no one, gets out of this thing called “life” alive.
When that day comes, the best any of us can hope for is that there is a sensitive soul like Caleb Wilde around to gracefully, and if we’re lucky, with more than a little humor mixed in, shepherd what remains of our mortal existences through life’s final portal.
If Caleb is there you can be confident both your remains and surviving family members are in good, competent, creative hands.
The entire NBC News article is here.