How to Fossilize and Profit.

September 24th, 2014

When it comes to living forever, everyone’s an expert.
With that kind of introduction, who’s going to want to listen to me, right? Well, here’s what I’m selling: something proven. Something that’s been done before and worked, something that’s been tested through time in the most obnoxiously literal way possible: fossilization.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not going to pretend that this is a perfect solution, because there IS no perfect solution. Fossilization has several disadvantages over most competing immortality solutions: it takes time, and a lot of it; it takes patience, and even more of it; and if you do it wrong you’re liable to get whittled away helplessly by surface erosion over many humiliating centuries with no ability to stop it. That said, the positives are weightier: if done properly it’s as sure a thing as can be (no hidden Achilles heels waiting to be jumped on – don’t worry about hiding your heart inside an egg inside a duck on an island!); it’s extremely low-key and low-maintenance; and finally it’s great for peace and quiet since the process demands solitude and passivity in the first place. If you’re still with me, then read on and I’ll go over the general idea of how the process should work out.

First off, you’re going to want to pick a good spot to fossilize. Remember, you’re going to be spending a long, long, LONG time here – plan for the future and don’t get sloppy. Trusting Mother Nature to sort it all out is a good way to end up burned when it’s too late to fix things. Important don’ts: don’t use upland environments because there’s too little sediment to shelter your bones; don’t use acidic soils because you’ll get mulched up before the mineralization kicks in; and don’t under any circumstances use the deep ocean if you’re planning to stay more than two hundred million or so years unless you enjoy being subducted into the mantle and pulverized under unimaginable heat and pressure. You want something with sediment: deep marine environments might be risky, but coastal deltas, floodplains, riverbeds, and anoxic spots like swamps are great places to stash your body where nosy scavengers and oxygen-consuming bacteria can’t get at it while you rot in relatively undisturbed peace. You’ll thank me when your head isn’t detached from your spinal column by curious racoons.

Next up, you’ll need to die. For many of you this will come naturally; others may require a bit of effort and work to really grasp the concept. The following methods have proven reliable, though none of them have a 100% success rate. Experiment to discover which works for you.
-Attempt to consume prey conveniently trapped in a bog/morass/tar pit.
-Become old and weak with at least one debilitating injury. This is a perennial favourite.
-If you’d rather your entire species came with you, try to develop a crippling overspecialization in a single incredibly narrow niche, like only eating a particular kind of leaf from a single species of tree, or refusing to reproduce anywhere but three tiny islands separated from each other by tens of thousands of miles.
-Loudly ask yourself “I wonder what this does?” prior to examining any unfamiliar object/organism.
However you do it, do it. Before you know you’ll be dead as a doornail – and remember to aim for the sediments on your way out, before consciousness fades. There’s nothing more embarrassing than managing to die on the one exposed piece of bedrock for a hundred miles, or getting lightly buried and then flushed out by the very next flash flood to come through the gulley. Don’t count your diageneses before they’re lithificated.

Once you’re dead and buried, you’ll have to bake for at least ten thousand years. Remember, that’s just the minimum period – the maximum is as damned well long as you feel like – and even then it’s fuzzy. Timing may and will vary depending on your size, the exact circumstances surrounding your death, the immediate environment, and roughly every other factor imaginable and unimaginable. Incidentally, the wording of the heading isn’t just a cooking reference; you’ll be literally ‘becoming one with the planet’ in the process of this and the subsequent mental effects can be disorienting, especially by the time your brain’s been dissolved and your skull is undergoing permineralization. Just try to kick back and enjoy it a little, because there’s nothing quite like it. If you can feel yourself beginning to panic, remind yourself that you’re dead and it’s too late to care about anything because you’re dead now. Most people aren’t the quickest thinkers when they’re embedded in sedimentary rocks, so by the time you’ve noticed any potential flaws in that logic you should be almost done!

Now that you’re officially fossilized, escaping your prison is your new goal, but ‘goal’ might be a bit of a strong word, and so might ‘prison.’ A fully-fossilized body preserved in a sedimentary matrix is like a warm blanket on a cold morning: most people don’t want to leave it. But don’t worry; unless some unlucky geological upheaval shoves you under a craton until the planet’s eaten by the sun (low odds), you’re more or less guaranteed to popout at some point or another. Wait long enough and oceans will vanish, rock will erode, and then there you are, peeping out at the sun as fresh as a daisy and three times as mineralized as before. Now is your time for motivation – you’ve probably got just a few short centuries before the rocks around you fall apart, so you’d better get your head back in the game or you’ll go with them. If you’re very lucky maybe some nosy busybody will spy you peeking out of the stone and have you chiselled out, and if you’re luckier still you might be put in a relatively safe, dry place for a while after that where you can get your shit together at your own speed. That said, don’t bet on it and don’t let your guard down. Sometimes you’re being dug up to be stuck on someone’s mantelpiece, sometimes you’re being dug up to be ground into dust and used as a virility drug.

Finally and most crucially, it’s time to enjoy the benefits! Those bones have held you down for millions of years in shiftlessness, time to get them crackling again! You can wear them like a cheap suit that weighs six tons or you can shed them like a chrysalis to reveal whatever horrifying true form of amalgamated minerals and somnombalic spite you’ve been nurturing under them for longer than is physically imaginable, whichever makes you happier. Once you’re mobile you can revel in the sad sensation of revisiting a planet you willingly abandoned, but try not to get too depressed over whatever horrifying changes have emerged since you decided to commit to the Big Nap. Whatever happened is de facto not your fault, and hey, if you feel any lingering resentment over it – say, if whatever pitiful little groups of subspecies you used to think of as food items have displaced your descendants from their planet – why not reign over them as a terrible, undying god-king, devoid of flesh and mercy? It’s dead simple – literally! – since you’re almost bound to spark ancient primal fears deep within their psyches simply by existing. Intimidate, dominate, consume, bully, and terrorize to your heart’s delight.
Not that you’ll have a heart anymore.
Or a stomach, so the consumption will be strictly cosmetic.
But hey, you can still please yourself, and really, isn’t that what this is all about?

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