Sunday, July 06, 2008

Stone Cold

A handsome young baseball coach who is killed by a line drive in Arkansas. Two young workers fall a thousand feet to their deaths from the tower near Topeka. An elevator worker here in town who slips and literally drowns in a mountain of grain. An old woman in Virginia who is attacked and eaten by pit bulls. The Brazilian who is swallowed whole by an anaconda. Teens dying on amusement rides. . .

No one really wants to die, but no one wants to die in pointless ways like the people above. There are good ways to die and there are bad ways to die. There is something unworthy, or shameful, or unjust, or unfair, or just not right to die after being beaned in a baseball game. Or how about the relatives of that man swallowed by the snake? What do they talk about at the funeral? Hmmm! No one wants their obituary to read: Elmer Fudd, 56, died at home yesterday after choking on a chicken bone. These sort of deaths negate an entire lifetime simply because an odd or ridiculous demise sticks; it is the last, lingering thing we remember of the victim.
No matter how much was accomplished, no matter how many good deeds done, the grand culmination of years and years of living is: He had his head chopped off by a helicopter blade. That will be the last mortal act of the deceased and the first thing remembered about a person: He tripped and fell into a vat of acid.

The way I definitely don't want to go? "Poor Tom . . . he died of rectal cancer." Or "Poor Tom . . . a piece of space junk fell and hit him square in the skull!" Or "Poor Tom, ha, ha, ha. . . . And, to think, he was a vegetarian, and to be killed like he was . . . smashed flat by a meat wagon as he crossed a Wendy's parking lot!"

No, if we must go down then let us go "in our sleep," or just via a simple heart attack, or please, just with normal lung or brain cancer. Better still, let a man go down doing something grand, something heroic: Like dying while saving a bus full of nuns as the runaway vehicle is about to careen over a cliff, or while rescuing caged animals at a burning pet store, or in a gunfight after killing all three muggers attempting to rob and rape a woman. Now those are deaths I can live . . . rather, those are deaths I can die with.

Necro-nut that she is, coward and selfish person that I know her to be, Deb's dream death, I'm sure, is to simply drop dead in a grave yard w/o saving anyone, preferably at the cemetery in Richmond where all those rebels are buried, or the one overlooking Plymouth in Massachusetts, or the one in Metarie, Louisiana, or Selma, Alabama, or Hank's grave in Montgomery, or, if she's really lucky, she'd love to catch the A Train in the Père-Lachaise in Paris. Death could be scripted no better for Deb.

My dream death: To just drop stone cold while I am walking along the banks of the Kaw by myself. If I miss the river and fail to fall in and am not flushed away to the Gulf of Mexico, that's okay too, just as long as my body is never found. I will fertilize the tree I fall near, or provide food for some scavenging animals, will be no fuss or bother to anyone, and I will save Deb about 10K in funeral expenses.

Final note: A year or so ago, a guy was killed in Kansas City in a fight over a woman. Where? The Wild West Saloon. No kidding! Poor devil. But you gotta love his sense of history


Future bike of the Day