When David Giffels was 50 years old and completely healthy, he decided to build his own coffin with his 81-year-old, master craftsman father. Why? Well, I ask him that on today’s podcast. David Giffels is a writer who previously published a book of essays about growing up in the Rust Belt of Ohio in the 1970s. That title is called The Hard Way on Purpose. In his latest book, Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life, he recounts the experience of building his own coffin with his father and the lessons about life, aging, and death that he picked up along the way.

We begin the show discussing why many in the Rust Belt live by the motto, “The Hard Way on Purpose,” and how it manifests itself in their undying loyalty to their sports teams that come up short year after year. We then shift gears and discuss David’s project of building his own casket with his dad, the expectations he had going into it, and why lying in your own coffin is, unfortunately, not as profound of an experience as you’d think it would be.

Show Highlights

  • The character of the Rust Belt 
  • Ohio’s relationship with their losing sports teams 
  • The difference between losing and almost winning
  • Why David decided to build his own coffin 
  • How the fates intervened in David’s exploration of mortality 
  • How the project changed after David’s mother and close friend died in short succession 
  • What’s it like to lose your parents and see them in decline
  • Were any life lessons imparted by David’s dad during the building of the coffin?
  • Why David didn’t get the epiphany he expected when lying down in his coffin

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With David

David on Twitter 

David’s website

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The post Podcast #443: What Building Your Own Coffin Teaches You About Life, Death, and Meaning appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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