Monday, August 02, 2004

The Dead

Filling out the disclosures on our condo last night I was struck by an odd question. After the usual list of questions about earthquake, flood, and hurricane. After disclosing every water stain, chipped tile and crack in the walls. And after informing the prospective buyer of chirping birds, traffic noise, and cat feces. Near the end of the document the question was posed, "has anyone ever died on the premises, to the best of your knowledge".

Now I can get behind asking, has anyone ever died and not been discovered for more than a week on the premises. Or if someone died of a highly contagious disease. But the fact that someone has died by itself should be something that one needs to disclose seems odd to me. Has anyone given birth on the premises? I don't see that question anywhere. Seems like both are normal events that happen to us at least once in each lifetime (depending on your beliefs about reincarnation or being born again, etc.).

I lived in Holland for 11 years, and saw that in other countries it is fairly normal that both birth and death occur in the home. In America we have made an effort to hide both events behind the doors of hospitals. And now, that someone might have peacefully passed away in their sleep, while residing at your address, must be disclosed to warn the unsuspecting purchaser that, wait, don't buy this house, it has been visited by the grim reaper himself, is disturbing to me.

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