While the city celebrates the 42nd annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this weekend, last Sunday, the town was a-twitter about the finale of the award-winning TV series and what happened to the main character, Walter White.
Guess what? He died. And a local “Breaking Bad” fan club placed a paid obituary death notice in the Albuquerque Journal on Thursday, which prompted a front page story.
Here’s how this notable obituary read:
WHITE, WALTER: a.k.a. “Heisenberg,” 52, of Albuquerque, died Sunday after a long battle with lung cancer, and a gunshot wound. A co-founder of Gray Matter, White was a research chemist who taught high school chemistry, and later founded a meth manufacturing empire. He is survived by his wife, Skyler Lambert; son Walter “Flynn” Jr.; and daughter Holly. A private memorial was held by his family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a drug abuse prevention charity of your choice. He will be greatly missed.
Then it made international news. In today’s Albuquerque Journal, another front-page story reported that Thursday’s story was the most-trafficked article the paper had ever had since they started keeping track in 2006.
Because it was not a “real” death, rather, the death of a TV character, this obit appeared in the paper on page A4. It did not run with all the other actual death notices. I’ve got a copy if anyone wants to buy it!
The cost of placing a death notice in the Albuquerque Journal is charged at $2.45 per line per day. For purposes of estimating linage and cost, approximate 30 characters including letters, spaces, and punctuation per line. While it’s not listed on the web site, I believe photo placements cost $35 per placement. So, Walter White’s obituary would have cost about $84 plus New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax of 7%, which equals a total of $89.88.
The point is, even if you pre-plan and pre-pay for a funeral service, costs for obituaries are outside of the control of the funeral home. The cost for an obituary will have to be paid out of pocket by the family at the time of need.
This small obituary for Walter White costs almost $90 for a one-time appearance in a relatively small circulation newspaper. The bigger the newspaper, the more expensive the placement costs. Families need to know about these kinds of expenses when they budget for a funeral.
In today’s follow-up story, the Journal listed several Albuquerque drug abuse prevention charities. If you’d like to make a donation to one of these charities, here’s the contact information:
Endorphin Power Company, 509 Cardenas SE 87108. Services: Transitional housing for persons with substance abuse problems and the homeless. endorphinpower.org, 505-268-3372.
Good Shepherd Center, 218 Iron SW, Albuquerque 87102, 505-243-2527. Services: Alcohol and drug addiction recovery program for men, overnight accommodation and clothing for homeless men, a community meal for men, women and children daily, mail service for men and women.
St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, 1201 Third NW, Albuquerque 87102, smhc-nm.org, 505-242-4399. Services: Alcohol and drug treatment, food and shelter, mental health services, job assistance and programs for the homeless.
The Salvation Army, 4301 Bryn Mawr NE, Albuquerque 87107, 505-881-4292. Services: Provides alcohol and drug rehabilitation for men, food boxes, clothing, toys, church programs, work therapy, rent and utilities aid.
Albuquerque Rescue Mission, 525 Second SW, Albuquerque 87103, 505-346-4673. Services: A Christian ministry helping homeless and near-homeless men, women and children with services including shelter, meals, clothing and computer training.