There was an event today, probably minor in the big scheme of things, but it was a problem at the time. In the course of dealing with that, the thought crossed my mind that, somewhere, somehow, I had heard that people had been known to die while dealing with such a problem. It was rare, it might be apocryphal, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.
That got me to thinking not-so-deep thoughts about my (presumably) inevitable demise. I say “presumably” because I still like Kurzweil’s ideas about The Singularity. He might be a full of crap and just as batshit crazy as Hubbard was with Scientology, but we’ll see. Maybe I did make it in time to have medical miracles, DNA-rebuilding nanobots in my blood, anti-aging regimens, and a lifespan into the hundreds of years.
But probably not.
So, back to my (probably) inevitable demise. Of course, if we’ve gotta go (and we do), it would be great if we could all go saving a building full of orphans from a fire, throwing ourselves on the grenade to save our whole platoon, or anything generally noble, sacrificial, and leaving the world a better place despite our passing.
That would be great.
More realistically (I’m getting there, slowly but surely) most of us are going to die from some useless disease that has us wasting away for our last few months or years, or else some moron on the freeway is going to be texting and drunk when that light turns red and we’re going to be a somewhat squishy hood ornament.
I could live with any of those – well, maybe “live” isn’t the right term. But at least my final thoughts wouldn’t be something along the lines of, “How am I ever going to explain THIS to St. Peter with a straight face?”
Given the choice (and I won’t be), I would prefer to not die of something STUPID.
Because those methods of passing also exist all around us. The odds may be in favor of disease (eight of the top ten causes of death are medical conditions) or accidents (cars seem to be first, guns second) but there are all of those weird and low-odds accidental causes of death that just linger for us, out there in the long tail of the bell curve.
Some of those are just “sucks to be you” accidental deaths. You’re in the wrong place, wrong time, and all the planning and precautions in the world aren’t going to mean a thing. There’s a gas explosion, an earthquake, your cruise ship sinks, a tidal wave hits the beach, the plane crashes…
Actually, in my case, being in a plane crash is probably higher on the list than for most folks, simply because I have my pilot’s license and I occasionally (i.e., every chance I get) fly in old WWII planes and go fly aerobatics. I also want to go skydiving, and scuba diving, and hike the Appalachian Trail, and learn to fly a glider, and…
You get the idea. I don’t want to go out in an easy chair watching “Star Trek” reruns unless I’m at least 110. But at least none of those flying- or adventure-related deaths would qualify as “stupid” in my book.
Being hit by lightning? If it’s a “shit happens” event, fine. If you’re standing out on a golf course holding a metal club and ogling that odd-shaped cloud with your mouth open — stupid.
Watching fireworks which you dearly love and a freak accident detonates thirty tons of skyrockets all at once and you catch a piece of shrapnel while sitting a half-mile away? Not your day, sorry! Dying while making a “Jackass” video and lighting off M-80’s while drunk — stupid.
Pretty much anything that involves being a victim in a major natural disaster or catastrophe gives you a good story to tell while you’re in line at The Pearly Gates. If the National Guard, NTSB, and CNN are out there picking through rubble or debris looking for you, it’s probably not your fault. Tornado, earthquake, thermonuclear weapons, all are acceptable, at least so far as this particular idiotic rant goes.
Anything that involves the paramedics coming in and taking pictures to pass around at the station along while playing “Can You Top This?” — stupid.
“Yep, you think that’s good? We found this guy, wearing just a thong and his wife’s wig, covered in whip cream, spread-eagle, with this weird opera music playing full blast, and a goat in the room…”
No paramedics laughing so hard that they can’t even check to see if you’re still breathing. Please.