(Sound of running water)
JOE VITACCO: I’m here in Chicago and I have a female, died yesterday, and I’m in the process of positioning her.
I’ve been doing this for forty-one years. I just go from place to place — embalm the body, put the make-up on, put it in the casket — that’s all I do.
I’m shampooing her hair. Look how dirty it is.
I do move. I do move. Fastest one I ever did: embalmed, dressed, cosmotized and put them in the casket — thirty-five minutes. These guys can’t even have the features done in thirty-five minutes.
(Sound of cutting)
Okay, now I’m going to raise the right common carotid artery.
You have to do your best, I’ve had guns pulled out on me, ”You better do a good job or else! That’s my brother.” I say well, ”You can’t make a racehorse out of a jackass, what do you want from me?”
I’m now cutting the esophagus.
If ma comes out looking like pa, well they’re not going to call me back.
Now I’m going to try to hit the heart, and there it is. I’m constantly, constantly clearing it.
When I go to parties, all of a sudden, I’m in the middle . . . Joe tell a story, well then by then I’ve got a couple of pops in me, a couple yakie-daks and I’m warming up. But see, I don’t want to do that. I want to hear their stories — but nobody wants to hear their stories, they want to hear these stories.
The whole trick is, when it stops leaking up here, at the carotid incision with the jugular — then that tells me I got the heart; it’s cleaned out.
If the family starts to cry, you know you made it.
I’m right in her throat in her . . . in to the tongue level.
I made it from nothing to the top of the mountain.
Looks like we got her
I just do ’em. I just do ’ em — that’s all I know
What’s the best part of my job? . . . Closing my grip, that means — (Sings) ”Until we meet again, happy trails to you” (Sighs.) She looks wonderful.