All The Earth A Grave by Caroll Capps

And All The Earth A Grave by Caroll Capps

There’s nothing wrong with dying – it just hasn’t ever had the proper sales pitch!

So begins this amusing short story (reads in 16 minutes). At least I thought it was amusing, but my wife says that I have a dark sense of humor…. It’s really short; grab a link at the end and read it (or listen) and let me know what you think. Capps caught me off guard with this story about the power of marketing.

Essentially, due to a computer error, a marketing boss for a casket company sees an opportunity to increase Christmas sales.

Published in 1963, I think that this would have been around the height of the sales movement and the beginning of the marketing trends. The difference is subtle but important. With a sales focus, an organization will do anything to sell another unit. In marketing, the company looks to see what the customer wants and then fulfills the need. Or as in this case, the marketer creates a need to be fulfilled.

Sorry, I listened to this twice and just couldn’t help laughing at the absurdity of the idea. Would have made a great Twighlight Zone under Rod Serling. (In case you were wondering, Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone might have been the greatest TV show of all time.)

Its been a busy week, so I chose this short story instead of a full review on one of two other books. Maybe next week, I’ll have my review of Edison and the Electric Chair which studies the death penalty in the US. Intriguing….

Anyway, I would love to know if you enjoyed this story and your opinions and/or impressions. Also, what do you make of the ending? As a Christian, on one level I take offense; on another level, I think the author was poking fun at humanity and not attempting anything blasphemous.

Read it here
Listen to it here Note: excellent reader as well


4 thoughts on “All The Earth A Grave by Caroll Capps

  1. A very odd book I must say.
    It seemed as though the people bought everything that came their way that was out of the ordinary. Even though in real life it would be an absurd thing to try and accomlish.
    I think the bird’s actions struck me as the most humorous, even though the idea of eating people is gross.
    The end was a little confusing, what did the guy expect he could do with a mule? Unless he believes in evolution.

    I have heard of “The Twilight Zone,” I never saw it, but my Aba said it was really good.
    Good review, it was interesting to learn what time in history this book was written, and what may have inspired the author to write it.

  2. Well, I was of the impression that the author was poking fun at the willingness of people to be led around by marketers. People do some pretty strange things under the influence of marketing.

    They are told what they should desire and so they do.

    So I think the donkey (along with the old codger) were supposed to be symbolic, not blasphemous.

    And by all means, look up the Twightlight Zone. If you do, remember that besides being engaging, they are very much an analysis of human nature: fear, greed, love, hate, life, death and flashbacks (now called PTSD).

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