Fifty years ago, my father Allen Tarses and his brother Sol owned a furniture store in Baltimore, Maryland called the North Company. Most of the furniture they sold was of low quality. I remember that my father used to tell people: “The only really good piece of furniture that most people ever buy in their lifetime is a coffin. Then they bury it in the ground a few days later.” That sounds funny, but it’s true! None of the furniture in most people’s homes is made as well as the average coffin. Coffins are usually made out of wood or metal. Coffins that are made out of wood are usually made out of solid hardwood, like oak or maple, not like Ikea furniture, much of which is just veneer over particle board. The joinery in coffins is typically of the very best quality as well, with dovetail joints. Coffins that are made out of metal are usually made out of brass or stainless steel. The finishes, paint, and varnishes are also top quality, and the inside of coffins are lined with silk. Now tell me, is the furniture in your house made as well as the coffins I just described? Probably not. You see, my father was right. It was true about coffins back then, and is still true today. There is nothing in the home of the average American that is made as well as the coffins they buy. Then they bury these coffins in the ground 1 or 2 days later, never be seen again. Doesn’t it seem that there is something odd about that? It wasn’t always this way. Until the 20th Century, only rich and famous people were buried in expensive or professionally made coffins. Nearly everybody else was buried in simple pine boxes or just put in the ground wrapped in a simple piece of cloth.