04-18-2013   2 comments

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by death.  While in the service and during my years as a police officer I was forced to see a great deal of it.  I’m unshockable by death itself but not in the ways in which  some people exit this reality.

I’ve been a big fan of the annual Darwin Awards for decades because they highlight the funny and odd ways people die.  It’s not really macabre because humor makes dealing with almost anything easier.  The Darwin Awards pick out a few selected incidents each year and give a fairly graphic description of their stupid, funny, and sometimes ironic deaths.  I guess my one wish would be to die in any fashion that keeps me off their list.  Dying in a stupid or embarrassing manner is just not acceptable.

I always knew there were many deaths that the Darwin people chose not to publicize so I decided to do some research of my own.  Here are a few that caught my attention even though they didn’t make the cut for Darwin. They are from many countries and cover many decades of time.

  • In New Orleans in 1985 a guest at a party for lifeguards celebrating their first drowning-free swimming season in memory drowned Tuesday, the director of the New Orleans Recreation Department said today. Madlyn Richard, the department director, said the body of Jerome Moody was found on the bottom at the deep end of a department pool as the party ended. She said Mr. Moody, who was 31 years old, was not a lifeguard, but four lifeguards were on duty at the party.
  • Jim Fixx died in 1984 (ironically his arteries were plugged with too much cholesterol). He left a legacy of thousands of joggers and runners that he introduced to the pleasures and benefits of jogging and the sport of running. His book, The Complete Book of Running, became a best seller among running books. When Jim first took up running in the 1960’s, he weighed 220 lbs. By the time his book was published, he had trimmed down to 159 lbs, and was an accomplished runner.
  • An ice cream truck driver in Thailand died while laughing in his sleep. Damnoen Saen-um, 52, laughed for about two minutes yesterday and then stopped breathing, the Nation newspaper reported. Damnoen’s wife tried to wake him but he kept laughing. An autopsy suggested that he might have had a heart attack. "I have never seen a case like this. But it is possible that a person could have heart seizure while laughing or crying too hard in their sleep," said Dr. Somchai Chakrabhand, deputy director-general of the Mental Health Department.
  • A 38-year-old lawyer with the Toronto law firm of Holden Day Wilson, did indeed plunge to his death from the 24th floor of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower in front of several horrified witnesses. The firm’s spokesperson said “He was testing the strength of the window. There was a lot of joking about how the window wouldn’t open on a hot day. Apparently, it was the second attempt [at testing the window] that one of them popped out and he went through."
  • A church organist was found dead at his Teesside home naked inside a giant plastic bag. Ian Kemp, 48, from Stockton, was found alone in his house bound by his wrists and shins, an inquest heard. A vacuum cleaner was also connected to the bag and it is believed Mr Kemp died after the machine had sucked all the air out of the bag.  Teesside Coroner Michael Sheffield said such incidents were sometimes connected to sexual gratification.
  • "Escape artist The Amazing Joe Burrus, a recovering drug addict, wanted to give back to society by performing a Houdini-like stunt for a rehab-clinic benefit in 1990. For the act, he was covered under six feet of dirt and wet cement in a locked coffin while bound in chains and handcuffs. After the nine tons of glop were poured on, the coffin collapsed and Burrus was buried alive."
  • Brent Tyler and Chelsea Tumbleston (both 21) worked together as waiters at the Wild Wing Café in Columbia, South Carolina. Now this is the Deep South: You must understand that here, lovebirds follow strict courtship rituals. Brent told Chelsea she was pretty as a picture. Her heart a-pitter-patter, Chelsea told Brent he was a most worthy gentleman caller. Then they went for a midnight fuck on the roof. We know they waited to get naked until reaching the building’s metallic pyramid-shaped roof because their clothes were found there. Their nude bodies were not so lucky, discovered lifeless on the street 50 feet below.

I recently had someone tell me in conversation that death by fire was a “terrible way to go”.  I think he was full of it because in my humble opinion there is no good way to go. I’ve had people tell me they’d prefer to die while making love. Sorry, I’ll pass on that one too.  I never want to die no matter what the circumstances.  I plan on going kicking and screaming all the way.

2 responses to “04-18-2013

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  1. Wow… I don’t even know… Just wow.
    Agreed, I don’t want to die EVER…but especially not in a stupid way. Just wow. I think I’m abusing the word “wow” but just wow lol.

    • I heard a joke once where one morning a drunk was stumbling along the sidewalk in front of a brothel in New Orleans. As in my posting a couple had been making love on the roof during the night and fell to their deaths on the sidewalk just before the drunk arrived. The drunk knocked on the door of the house and told the young lady who answered, “Hey lady, your sign fell down. Wow!”

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