There is a story in the May 29 Chronicle of Higher Education that immediately reminds me of the 1988 movie Rocket Gibraltar with Burt Lancaster and the still young Macaulay Culkin. In the movie, there's a story about how rather than allowing his grandfather to be buried traditionally, Culkin, vows to ensure that when his grandfather passes during a family ocean-side retreat, that he will be set to sea and burned on the water, sending his ashes a float around the world.

The little boy's theme to his fellow cousins is that there will be "No worms," for grandpa. 

As the kids are racing off to get grandpa afloat before being stopped by the kids' parents, their rallying cry is "no worms."   It's a very moving ending to the movie. The kids accomplish the task and even at the end, Culkin dramatically talks to grandpa saying, "No worms."

Well, come now 21 years later, a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In a story called "Granny's Ashes Not Welcome Here," and it is a story about people wanting to pour their loved one's ashes out on some special spot of a university campus.  (I know one person whose final resting place actually is on the football field at Auburn.)

But the fourth paragraph of the story includes a quote from the ED of the Alumni Association of the University of Texas in Austin that shows the need to be sensitive when interviewing with the media. 

When Jim Boon gets a request, he always says no.  Mr. Boon, executive director of the alumni association at the University of Texas, says people often want to throw ashes off the Waller Creek Bridge, a picturesque spot on the Austin campus.  But allowing that would raise questions about who could scatter, and where, and whether ceremonies would be permitted.  "It would open up a whole can of worms," he says.

I know during interviews we can all tend to get a little nervous, but this is really, really bad wording. Maybe he should have said, "This is just not something we're going to do out of respect for those who have loved our campus, and for those yet to come."  




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