"Nowadays, you have the TV remote... That’s like the hottest thing."

Since the beginning of burials, man has often gone to the grave with company. These days, funeral directors grant most requests: a shotgun … a case of beer … a bottle of Jack Daniels … some favorite cigars … golf clubs, usually putters … a clarinet … a tool belt … homemade wine … Oreo cookies … hot peppers.

“Out here, everyone gets buried with their cell phone,’’ said Noelle Berman, a family counselor at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. “Cell phones. Blackberrys. Wii Consoles.’’…

“One time, a guy asked if he could stay while his buddy’s casket was being closed,’’ said Bill Hagen, another funeral director from outside Philadelphia. “He’d written a check for a million dollars. He tucked it in his buddy’s suit jacket. He said his friend always wanted to die a millionaire.’’

The guy stayed by the casket until it was sealed, Hagen added, to make sure “that check would never be cashed.’’