Sunday, 14 December 2008

Morbid Thoughts

Everyone's got to die from something. Most causes of death are pretty hard to confront or joke about because you'll probably know someone in your own family who's died from it, or at least know of someone who has. And that's not the ideal starting ground for a humerous anecdote.

But whereas Pancreatic Cancer is generally accepted to be 'not very funny', some ways of dying are very funny (or at least pretty cool), and deserve to be celebrated. My favourite way of dying is Fatal Hilarity, where people laugh so much they can't breathe and die. Upon first thoughts, that sounds like a perfect death; enjoyable, fun and it doesn't involve months of anguish as you slowly waste away toa putrid, jaundiced shadow of yourself. But in reality it would be horrible. Just as when someone's tickling your feet and it looks like you're having the time of your life (but what's really happening is that you're really in pain and beside yourself with panic), the same situation would apply here. It doesn't matter if you're laughing, you're still suffocating to death and that would be a pretty distressing way to go.

Some of the deaths in this list are not really funny at all, and the more recent ones a actually quite grisly, but it makes some good reading anyway. Here's a few of my favourites...

1981: Jeff Dailey, a 19-year-old gamer, became the first known person to die while playing video games. After achieving a score of 16,660 in the arcade game Berzerk, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. A year later, an 18-year-old gamer died after achieving high scores in the same game

1978: Claude Fran├žois, a French pop singer, was electrocuted when he tried to change a light bulb while standing in his bathtub which was full of water at the time

1940: Marcus Garvey died after suffering either a cerebral hemorrhage or heart attack while reading his own obituary, which stated in part that he died "broke, alone and unpopular"

1911: Jack Daniel, founder of the Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning six years after receiving a toe injury when he kicked his safe in anger at being unable to remember its combination

207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after watching his drunk donkey attempt to eat figs.

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