Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: The Mary Katharine Ham Museum, and how to dispose of a body without getting caught

Matt Labash Columnist

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Dear Matt,
Just curious, but when is Mary Katharine Ham going to clean out her old office here at The Weekly Standard? I mean, really — there’s piles of files and papers plus a weird menagerie of bulldog sculptures in there (and a used sports bra that an MKH admirer in Texas offered me $100 for when he heard about it — do you think I could get more for it on eBay?) Anyway, we put some boxes in there for her to use, but she’s never come by to get the hint. – Yers, Philip

This is sort of an inside question. But for readers not in the know, Philip Chalk is our design director at my home publication, The Weekly Standard.  And Mary Katharine Ham, was, until recently, a cherished member of the Weekly Standard family. That is, until she decided to take the money and run, succumbing to the enticements of all-you-can-snort cocaine, cases of grape Four Loko (before they took the caffeine out), and the fast cars and faster men which are readily offered by internet news startups, and which have become synonymous with Mary Katharine’s debauched celebrity lifestyle.

After receiving Phil’s request, I crossed the hall and visited Mary Katharine’s old office, which is just sitting there, empty, like Jesus’s tomb (O grave, where is thy sting?) Sure, she’s taken most of her treasured belongings with her: the free office supplies, her first edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” the “O’Reilly Factor” diorama.

But left behind – and I’m not kidding in the least – was a Mary Katherine Ham bobblehead, a yellow sports bra, and a pair of stylish heels. My first inclination was to box these up, and have them sent to the Caller offices. But then I thought: Why? These are revenue-challenged times in the journalism industry. With her legions of (mostly male) fans, maybe, just maybe, leaving these artifacts behind was Mary Katharine’s gift to us, her former colleagues. So we’ve decided to turn her old office into the Mary Katharine Ham Museum. There’ll be a five dollar admission charge for viewing, seven dollars if you want to touch something, and ten dollars if there’s anything you’d like to sniff. Visits are by appointment only.  For scheduling information, please contact Philip Chalk at docent.chalk@weeklystandard.com .

Right off the bat I have to say that I love your writings, but I must admit that I do not always love your politics. That said, my question is: What is the best way to dispose of a human torso? Not the whole body mind you, just the torso. Particularly, Mr. Labash, how would one dispose of this torso in such a way as to not alert the delicate sensitivities of people who fancy themselves “authorities?” Please advise and thank you. – Mike

Whatever your leanings, this is an important question that transcends politics, and one that comes up often when I’m lecturing in schools and churches. Your first mistake when finding yourself in possession of a body in need of disposal (and I’m not asking why – because my job isn’t to ask questions, but to provide solutions), is to only dispose of the torso. Leaving spare parts for the lawman to find is where the trouble usually starts.

That’s why I suggest going with the Jeffrey Dahmer/Plains Indians hybrid approach. Dahmer, you might recall, was renowned for cannibalism. The problem was, he didn’t eat the whole body, just the parts he found tastiest. Any amateur can eat tender thigh meat or pick ribs clean, but choking down a gall bladder does take a higher level of dedication, and is a taste you might never acquire, which is why it’s advisable to dispose of bodies in winter or during allergy season, when you’re much likelier to have a stuffy nose.

Similarly, don’t be greedy, and start freezing everything like Dahmer did. You didn’t just go shopping in the meat department at Costco. Volume is the enemy. You want to reduce stock, not increase it.  Besides, if you’re a family man, it’s kind of creepy. What if your kids reach into the freezer to fetch a popsicle, and pull out a human head instead? Be conscientious. Just because you’re a cold-blooded killer doesn’t mean you have to set a bad example for your children.

This is where we turn to the Plains Indians, from whom we can learn a lot, or from whom we could have learned a lot, before we slaughtered most of them, swiped their land, and made the rest of them blackjack dealers. When the Indians killed a buffalo, they used the whole thing, eating everything that was edible, and many things that weren’t. Then they’d make rattles out of the hooves, knife cases out of the rawhide, and headdresses out of the horns.

Similarly, you’re going to need to get rid of things like human teeth. I suggest collecting all of them in a vitamin dispenser, then swallowing at least one every day until they’re gone. Most are no bigger than a fish oil supplement, so this shouldn’t be too hard (unless you’re disposing of Gary Busey – that one’s got some choppers on him). Yes, they’ll pass through your system. But collecting that DNA specimen is not an episode of “CSI” anyone wants to star in, so you’re probably safe. If you can’t bear to swallow them, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. So maybe think about homemade jewelry. Nothing says “I’d kill for you, baby” like slipping your wife some human-teeth earrings or an understated tennis bracelet fashioned from back molars.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.