Friday, July 13, 2012

Who wouldn't want to own someone else's coffin?

In his short story The Rich Boy, F. Scott Fitzgerald made the observation that the rich are "different than you and me."  The Notorious B.I.G. may have been making a similar point in Mo Money Mo Problems

I give you exhibit A on the list of differences/problems of the rich: attorney Alan M. Dershowitz.  The New York Times quotes Professor Dershowitz in a story about how rich people are having trouble selling antiquities.  What is Professor Dershowitz trying to sell?  Why, "an Egyptian sarcophagus," of course.  In case you don't recall, a sarcophagus is "the funeral receptacle for a corpse."  Commoners might call them coffins.  They might even call them used coffins since they were typically made for a specific person and not mass produced for sale at a market in Thebes.

Anyway Mr. Dershowitz is having trouble selling his sarcophagus because he has been unable to document how it got out of Egypt and auction houses are trying to cut down on selling antiquities that were obtained by looting, i.e., grave robbing.  This is not to suggest that Mr. Dershowitz engaged in grave robbing since he did not buy the sarcophagus until the 1990s.  However, clearly someone robbed a grave at some point in order for the sarcophagus to eventually wind up in Mr. Dersowitz's possession.  While owning a used coffin is perfectly acceptable, auction houses frown on grave robbing and/or the looting of antiquities.

If you find yourself asking why someone wants to buy (and evidently display) a used coffin, well then you just do not have the vision needed to become rich.  I am pretty sure that the answer is that someone buys a sarcophagus to show that they can buy a sarcophagus.  After all, it's not like anyone one can get a sarcophagus on Craigslist.  Or can you?

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