The final indignity: Jay Richardson gazes bleakly into his father's casket before putting it up for sale.
File this story under "Disappointing but not surprising."
On February 3rd, 1959, Jiles Richardson Jr., along with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, plummeted earthward to their snowy demises in four-seater prop plane. The deaths were a national tragedy, and remain a bitter patch of rock history. But when plans were hatched to exhume Big Bopper's corpse to determine his cause of death in 2007, plans to sell his casket quickly followed. Presumably, selling off a dead man's casket is easier to do once you've already defiled his final resting spot. In this wintry economic wasteland, who can be blamed?
According to a CNN article, the casket has been on display in the Texas Musicians Museum since the Bopper's remains were exhumed in January of 2007, and the consensus now is that the thing might fetch some dough.
There's plenty to scratch your head about in this story. Firstly, the reason for exhuming Richardson was to perform an autopsy on his cadaver and determine the cause of death. Surprise surprise, they won't be amending his death certificate-- the autopsy maintains that he did indeed die of a plane crash.
Then there's the statement from Jay Richardson, Jiles' son, born three months after his father's death. "I have no personal use for the casket," he said to reporters. It's relieving that the Big Bopper's son is neither planning to die nor commit murder in the foreseeable future, but it remains a perplexing thing to say about your father's coffin.
Lastly, there's the reasoning cited by Tom Kreason, founder of the museum in which the casket has been held since the exhumation. "Certainly there'll be some distaste," he said, "but I think this is a piece of history that is very special." And what better way to preserve a man's legacy than by selling his casket in a public auction, right? Isn't it the cosmic end we all secretly hope for?