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The Daily Tar Heel

George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” could also be called “Seven Words You Can Never Say in Chapel Hill Cemeteries.” That’s just the beginning of behavioral control at the cemetery.

The estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” is often cited as one of government’s biggest offenses. Perhaps you’ve heard an uncle recite the saying, “They tax you even when you’re dead!”

But I think I might have found a worthy competitor: cemetery regulations.

Most of Chapter 6 Carolina&customBanner=19952.jpg&imageclass=L&cl=19952.txt of the town code deals exclusively with cemeteries: behavior on cemetery grounds, who can be buried in what fashion and fees associated with grave plots.

Using the cemetery as a playground or a parking lot, making an indecent exposure and using profane or indecent language are forbidden.

Reading through, I’m reminded that a lot of times rules are put in place because of that one jerk who ruins things for everyone. One would hope that people are quiet and respectful in the cemetery because that’s the appropriate thing to do, not because of any law on the books; it’s depressing that we feel the need to legislate against this kind of thing.

I wouldn’t have any complaints if someone wanted to recall mother fucker what a “crazy mofo” a loved one was. What if they were, in fact, a “crazy mofo?” Who’s the judge of that?! And who’s checking for this stuff, anyway?

I can’t say I’ve been to either of the public cemeteries in town — and I don’t hope to go anytime soon! — but I’m starting to wonder if there’s someone sitting there just waiting for someone to use indecent language. I referenced the “seven dirty words,” but what constitutes “profane or indecent language” anyway? I think it’d be much better to see those words written out explicitly.

It gets worse! Not only are the living controlled, but so are the deceased. Every person buried within Chapel Hill town limits must be buried in one of the two public cemeteries: Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery and West Chapel Hill Cemetery.

What would the almighty, infallible Founders think? I visited George Washington’s resting place at Mount Vernon, where he spent much of his life, including time as president. Thomas Jefferson, too, is buried at his own Monticello.

It seems that if you want to be a “Tar Heel dead” that stays in Chapel Hill, your body must remain under town supervision. It seems that churches, private estates and other private lands will not be tolerated.

Oh — if you don’t want a grave liner, the container that houses a buried casket, the town’s attitude is bizarre. The code seems to read: “Yeah, your personal/religious preferences are bizarre — we’ll bury you without the grave liner, so long as you pay an extra fee.”

Want to leave artificial flowers at a gravesite for more than two weeks? No.

I guess the spirit of suffocating regulation has extended its long, strong arms even into the afterlife.

Thanks, Obama.

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