Sunday, September 03, 2006

Morbid Fascination

I have a dark side. It's not blaringly obvious. I don't light kittens on fire or poke people with hat pins while I'm walking down the sidewalk. No, it manifests itself in other ways.
Like an appreciation of weird deaths. I have a preference for the more ironic deaths, like Redd Foxx dropping dead of a heart attack and everyone thinking he was faking it. Not that I have anything against Redd Foxx, but come on: the irony is perfect there. To be fair, in the case of celebrities, when one of them dies, I don't get all that choked up. I think there was only one instance where I actually cried when someone famous died. I didn't bawl or anything, but I did tear up when Glenn Quinn died, but that's the only one I can think of. For the most part, I just say, "That's a shame", and go about my business. I'm not uncaring, not by a long shot, I just don't see any point in getting upset every time there's a death in the world. If I did, I'd cry all the time.
I do have some guilt, because there's quite a few instances, upon hearing of a particular cause of death, I have actually laughed out loud. Someone dies on the toilet? I'm on the FLOOR. I can't read about the Darwin Awards without being doubled over in pain. I'm just not a very nice person. Here's a few deaths-some well known, some not-that I found to be unusual. To quote Homer Simpson: "It's funny, 'cuz I don't know him."

453: Attila the Hun suffered a severe nosebleed and choked to death on his wedding night.-(Way to go out with your boots on)

1016:Edmund II of England was rumoured to have been smacked in the head by a soldier who was waiting for him behind the toilet.-(Wah, wah, Waaaah.)

1327: King Edward II of England, after being deposed and imprisoned by his Queen consort Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, was rumored to have been murdered by having a red-hot iron inserted into his anus.

1884: Allan Pinkerton, detective, died of gangrene resulting from having bitten his tongue after stumbling on the sidewalk.-(That's going to be what happens to me, I just know it.)

1911: Jack Daniel, founder of the famous Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning due to a toe injury he received after kicking his safe in anger when he could not remember its combination code.-(Or possibly this.)

1916: The English satirist, novelist and wit Saki was killed in France, during World War I by a sniper's bullet, having reportedly cried "Put that damned cigarette out!" to a fellow officer in his trench lest the glowing embers reveal their whereabouts.

1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and broken neck when her scarf caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger. Her last words before the car drove off were "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire". (Farewell, my friends! I go to glory!)

1953: Frank Hayes, jockey, suffered a heart attack during a horse race. The horse, Sweet Kiss, went on to finish first, making Hayes the only deceased jockey to win a race.

1971: Jerome Irving Rodale, an American pioneer of organic farming, died of a heart attack while being interviewed on the Dick Cavett Show. When he appeared to fall asleep, Cavett quipped "Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?". The show was never broadcast.

1987: R. Budd Dwyer, a Republican politician, committed suicide during a televised press conference. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver.-(This one makes me wince. Despite talk about how great a guy he was, he took bribes and killed himself on live televison. During a statewide snowstorm. The schools were closed that day-get the picture?)

2005: Kenneth Pinyan, an Enumclaw, WA. man, died of acute peritonitis after submitting to anal intercourse with a stallion. The man had done this before, though apparently this time his partner was a little too keen, and he delayed several hours to visit hospital wishing to avoid official cognisance. The case led to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington.-(I don't know what's worse here: How he died, or the fact that the state of Washington needed any impetus to outlaw bestiality)

I've gone on long enough, but I can't leave out the story of Lupe Velez. Lupe was a film star back in the 1930s. The official story is that she was upset because she was pregnant and her married lover wouldn't leave his wife. So, she took some pills, they made her sick and she dropped dead on the bathroom floor. The UNofficial story, and in my opinion, the GREATEST DEATH STORY EVER, is that she was upset because her career was on the wane. She wanted to be remembered as being glamourous and beautiful. So, she gussied herself up, took a cocktail of tranquilizers and lay down on the bed, waiting for death to come and whisk her away. Unfortunately, the spicy meal she had earlier decided to repeat on her. She got violently ill, ran into the bathroom and died with her head in the toilet, which was how she was found. Now, which story do YOU like better?

You can read about more hilarious, bizarre or just downright pathetic deaths here: