Anthony, Peter, comes closer. We’ve had a good run my boys, haven’t we? But it seems my time has come to its end. I don’t begrudge the Lord for taking me—He’s provided quite enough bounty for a lifetime. From my first job at the Vlasic jarring facility in Detroit to my current stint as CEO of this fine company, it’s been one hell of a ride. But now I’m destined for whatever comes after this earthly realm and so I have only one last request:
Pickle my remains.
No, no, Anthony, you heard me quite well. After I’m gone, I want you to put my body through the pickling process. You recoil! Why? Don’t you see this is the most natural end for me? I’ve pondered it through over these past months and it seems nearly self-evident now, as pure and obvious as fate itself.
I don’t understand… I thought you two would be happy that I found peace with my final resting place, and yet you seem horrified by the very prospect! Don’t you see I deserve this? Sons, I have run Vlasic too goddamn well for you not to pickle my remains. I won’t accept otherwise. It simply won’t do to be cremated or buried in a box like some ho-hum nobody who spent his life doing something besides pouring sweat, blood and passion into Vlasic.
No, there’s no way around it. For me, there’s only one option, and that’s the pickling of my corpse.
How would it even be done? I’m glad you asked Peter. Why, by putting into practice all of the knowledge, innovation and hard work that have come to define the Vlasic brand over the past seventy-five years. You two know better than anyone else that what a Vlasic man puts his mind to is always within reach. Why, Peter, wasn’t it just a decade ago that our competitors called the very idea of a hamburger-sized pickle unfathomable? Where are they now? Playing catch-up, I bet. They said the same about me when I first proposed I have my earthly remains submerged in a salty brine bath, seasoned with garlic and then placed in a large jar covered with cloth.
They’ll learn to regret those words.
And you, Anthony, what did our investors call you when we announced our plan to start producing relish? I’ll tell you what they called you, because it’s exactly what they labeled me when I wrote into my will that my cadaver be immersed in Kosher vinegar, spiced with dill and displayed in a glass case in the lobby of the Vlasic factory: They called us madmen.
Would they dare call us madmen now?
Now, boys, I’ll agree with you that my intentions are unorthodox. Hell, they might even sound downright odd if taken in the wrong light. But isn’t that in the very lifeblood of this company? The testing of eccentricities. The manifestation of whims. The fostering of wonders. Ah, I can see it in your eyes. You believe it too, don’t you? Now, come, be dreamers with me! Bring in the vat! Call for the white mustard seeds!! Quickly, boys—We have work to do!