Monday, March 12, 2012

Checking Out

What brought this particular subject to mind, I cannot say. But I've been thinking about the "Stuff you should know" podcast I listened to two-three weeks ago . . . it was about some of the bizarre ways people have died. Right up front the two guys conducting the program admitted their own curiosity about death, and then went on to say that they had found that the vast majority of people are similarly curious about the subject.* Of course I don't have any recollection of the several deaths they talked about on the podcast. But there is certainly no shortage of material on the subject of bizarre deaths. One need go no further than Wikipedia, which has a long list of bizarre deaths. You can also google "bizarre deaths" and come up with literally hundreds of references. After reading on this subject for over an hour--it's pretty absorbing--I quit. But right here in my library I don't have to go far to find material on this subject. For instance, I've got a book called Panati's Extroaordinary Endings of Practially Everything and Everybody (1989). It's got four chapters at the end of the book about the deaths of famous people, and some of those were pretty strange. Did you know that William the Conqueror died from acute peritonitis brought on by an injury from being violently jostled against the iron pommel of his saddle? Or that Isadora Duncan the famous dancer had her neck snapped when a long shawl she was wearing got caught in the spokes of the car she was riding in?

I've said it many times: there's only one way into this world, but there are a million ways out.

*Which, it seems to me, is the most natural thing in the world. It's a universal human experience, and a most intriguing one for all of us. We know it will for sure occur, but when and how . . . nobody knows till it happens.
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