In Which We Don’t Fear No Stinkin Reaper

Laughter In The Dark

by Tess Lynch

Heaven, to some artist: the strange child of the Bel Air Hotel and The Scientology Center

“Don’t Let Me Die Nervous” — Califone (mp3)

“Memorial” — Explosions In The Sky (mp3)

Because I am morbid and enjoy life with self-conscious, hypochondriac abandon, I am often thinking about the most stylish way to die. There’s something to people going out the way the band members did on the Titanic, or having the wherewithal to ask “Why did I do that?” as you jump from a building; it’s the difference between being Thelma or Louise and someone out of Requiem For A Dream. I don’t mean to say that death is good — in fact, it’s something I’ve spent my whole life trying to avoid — but clearly one of these scenarios is more attractive than the other. When your time comes, a point which will arrive in the distant, distant future (I hope; because I like you and you read the blog, I’d like you to live forever if possible), it’s just way better to be prepared.

“If You’re Feeling Sinister” — Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

“Like Foxes Through Fences” — American Analog Set (mp3)

The Way To Go

This wikipedia article chronicles the weirdest deaths of all time. It has like a zillion, so some highlights are below:

1. Philitas of Cos died of insomnia because he was brooding about The Liar Paradox. It is a very boring paradox. One time this happened to me because I thought too much about what happens the moment you lose consciousness, and then answered myself three days later by thinking, “Wait. It doesn’t matter.”

2. Chryssipus died of laughing when his donkey got drunk and tried to eat some figs.

The Blobfish.

3. St. Lawrence was grilled, like a burgair. His last words were that one of his sides was done, so they flipped him and he expired.

4. Valerian, a Roman Emperor, was tortured, being used as a footstool for a while before he was killed; his skin was stuffed, of course, with straw and poo and he was made into a trophy.

5. Tycho Brahe was rumored to have died of having to pee so badly that it killed him. He was sitting through a very long meal and didn’t want to be rude. DUDE, totally.

The Dumbo Octopus.

6. Francois Vatel, Louis XIV’s chef, committed suicide when his seafood dish took too long to arrive at a party. Ashamed, he did himself in with a sword.

7. Adolf Frederick of Sweden ate himself to death, with the fatal combination of large quantities of:

lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring, champagne, and semia in bowls of hot milk.

I think he would have lived if not for the hot milk.

Pygmy Marmosets.

8. Zishe Breitbart was demonstrating driving a spike through boards with his bare hands (more like BEARHANDS); he pierced his knee with a stake, got blood poisoning, and died. Oops.

9. Jack Daniel (the whiskey guy) died when he got blood poisoning after he couldn’t remember the combination to his safe, kicked it, hurt his toe, and died of injury-related blood poisoning six years later.

10. Alex Mitchell, my personal favorite just because explaining his death has to be so specific, died of laughter while watching the episode of The Goodies in which a dude dressed as a Scotsman “used a set of bagpipes to defend himself from a psychopathic black pudding in a demonstration of the Lancashire martial art of Ecky-thump,” (all that from the original wiki list); he laughed for 25 minutes straight and then was done.

Beetle Juice Beetle Juice Beetle Juice

“Big Dipper” — Built To Spill (mp3)

“Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space” — Spiritualized (mp3)

Worst way to die: bees????

Spontaneous Combustion Section

At my mother’s request (??), a special section on spontaneous combustion stories.

Spontaneous Human Combustion (or SHC, if you talk about human combustion all the time) may or may not be for real, but some people think it occurs because of a “wick effect,” where your clothes soak up liquefied human fat (of course) and ignites. Others say it’s static, and naysayers are like, “This can’t be possible because humans are very wet by nature.” They should tell that to Robert Francis Bailey, Mary Reeser, and Jeannie Saffin.

He ain’t no human wick.

More On The Sweet Hereafter

Sad? Don’t look at this suicide note compilation.

Famous last meal requests, including a single olive (with pit).

Near-death experiences and the afterlife: a handy linktopia.

Famous epitaphs (mine would be “You should see how thin I am now”).

“Stardust” — Willie Nelson (mp3)

Tess Lynch has died of laughter a few times, and come within mere donuts of stuffing herself to death. She would like to climb the stairway to heaven by being mauled by a rogue flock of peacocks at the age of eighty-three, or else by insomnia caused by the paradox of (Alex’s mother’s favorite included) Lost theories. Except long after the show is off the air. Thankfully this outcome has now been delayed by at least a year.


To Molly, Alex disappointed = as bad as death

To Danish, True Love Waits — but death waits for no one

To Alex, art = death + some great mp3’s

11 thoughts on “In Which We Don’t Fear No Stinkin Reaper

  1. I’ve always been particularly fascinated by the celebrity death of Alexander Skryabin, a Russian composer from the early 1900s. In his old age (which, for him, was 30) he went a bit nuts, became convinced that he was a god, and thought his music could bring spiritual and physical transcendence to humankind. He designed this awesome mountain-top concert hall with a roof meant to open up at the end of a three day concert (three days!) so that when the music transformed the audience into ethereal creatures they would be able to float up to heaven without the bother of a ceiling. Before he could finish composing the symphony, however, he cut a zit on his face while shaving and died.

    If his ridiculous death is not proof of a jealous god, I don’t know what is.

  2. Well, according to gossip, Catherine the Great had a death that is infinitely interesting to me (whilst making love to a horse – she had a dash of bestiality) but it’s just psychotic Russian royal family lore and most likely not true.

  3. Alexander Skryabin sounds like my kinda guy. Kind of weird that the word “skin” is hidden in his last name AND THAT IS KIND OF WHAT KILLED HIM. Kind of. I left out CTG because I figured enough people knew, though it is also one of the best death-stories out there.

  4. This was amazing. Extra points for “I’m On Fire.” Now please rewrite it in the form of a poem a la The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and then accompany me to the puppet theater version of the Gashlycrumb Tinies (and potluck!) at the Marionette Theater this weekend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s