Although it’s a little dark and demented, I’ve been thinking lately about life’s one great equalizer, the one thing we all share regardless of age, gender, race or any other variable: death. I know it’s morbid, but watching movies like Stephen King’s “It” and “Saw” got me wondering about the worst possible ways to die. Sure, we all hope for a peaceful and natural death, but playing the odds means some of us might experience a messier or more traumatic demise. Here are some ways I definitely don’t want to go.
This has been in the news a lot, especially since 24-year-old Aimee Copeland lost parts of four limbs because of these deadly bacteria. And even though the experts always point out how rare this actually is, I keep noticing more and more cases in the headlines. The latest comes from Virginia, where 36-year-old Seifu Hilawe had an abscess on his rear end that developed into another case of the flesh eaters. And I’m only one state away from Virginia. Things are not looking good.
Food for thought
Another terrible way to die is to become dinner for some wild animal or worse, another human being. Okay, so the cannibalism thing is a little far-fetched, but it could happen. It’s rare, but over the years I have heard about people going insane, murdering their victims and then ingesting their remains. Jeffrey Dahmer, for sure, but other examples of “normal” people doing this pop up from time to time. For instance, I remember hearing about a woman who cheated on her husband, joined her lover in murdering him, and then spent the weekend dismembering and eating him, also taking some photos with selected body parts and such. Pretty sick.
Of course, being eaten by some kind of wild animal doesn’t sound much better. I always think of a shark, the obvious place to start, and reminisce about the terror I felt after seeing “Jaws” for the first time. Incidentally, I was vacationing in Myrtle Beach with my family at the time. I spent the rest of my beach time in the shallow water. And my little brother was even afraid to use the toilet for fear a shark would emerge from the pipes to take a big bite out of his bony little butt. A bear might also work, but I certainly don’t plan to be in the woods without being heavily armed first, so this isn’t really an issue for me.
Sugar, Splenda, Sweet & Low or rat poison with your coffee?
In case you didn’t catch it, the rat poison in the coffee reference in this subtitle is a small tip-of-the-hat to the film “9 to 5,” which centers upon three secretaries who accidentally plot to murder their sexist boss. At one point, Lilly Tomlin’s character convinces herself that she inadvertently added rat poison to her boss’ coffee. When he is found unconscious on his office floor, she panics and initiates a string of hilarity worth watching if you get the chance.
Being poisoned has got to be a horrible way to die. Believe me. I’ve lived through all sorts of stomach pain, including an intestinal parasite (gross, I know), but nothing comes close to having poison burn its way through you. Down your throat into your stomach and through your organs. Very nasty stuff. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be very careful about what I eat and drink.
No food or water
I’ll lump starvation and dehydration because both result from some kind of nutritional deprivation. Hunger is hard enough to handle, but throw thirst into the equation and you have a definite recipe for disaster. Thankfully, I have enough fat on my body to live a bit longer without food. Water, on the other hand, is a different story. As a fan of the reality show “Survivor,” I often watch contestants simply shut down physically due to dehydration. Their muscles contract, their minds fog and they completely lose all functioning and dexterity. It’s actually quite terrifying. I don’t care to experience either of these, especially to the point that I die from them!
Bedpans and respirators
I also find terminal illness unappealing and hope that if I do end up in a hospital bed somewhere—brain dead and being kept alive by machines or something—that someone will shoot me up with morphine and let me drift happily. Sadly, this doesn’t really happen and these poor victims of terminal illness simply wither away and die, often after days, weeks, months or even years of misery, discomfort and pain. No thank you.
Kiss the dirt
In Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill, Vol. 2,” Uma Thurman’s Bride is buried alive by Michael Madsen’s Budd. Thanks to her expert kung fu training, The Bride is able to escape this death trap. I wouldn’t be so lucky because, let’s face it, I’m no kung fu expert. If I find myself buried alive, I’m sure I’ll freak out, suck down the remaining air in record time and suffocate within minutes. That’s why I plan to stay the hell away from fresh graves, construction sites and anywhere you might find large holes in the ground. And you won’t catch me anywhere near an open coffin. Not unless someone I know is in it, I mean. How depressing is that?
In old Salem, Massachusetts, suspected witches were often burned at the stake. I simply cannot imagine how horrible this must have been for the victims. There they are, tied to a stake and standing in a pile of tinder and fire wood. The fire starts slowly and gradually rises until slight heat becomes a steady burn. Skin, hair and fat all melt away as the pain becomes unbearable. If they were lucky, these “witches” would pass out from shock quickly and die without pain. Unfortunately, I think the opposite likely happened. So please, please, please don’t let me burn to death.
Earlier, I mentioned how I recently watched “Saw,” the gory, psychological thriller with the serial killer, Jigsaw. And a film where dismemberment—in this case self-inflicted dismemberment—plays an important role. When I was younger, I once looked for the most disgusting photos on the web that I could find and, you guessed it, dismemberment pictures were everywhere. Suffice it to say that I have seen some really nasty things that can happen to the human body. And I don’t want to be the guy who got decapitated on the highway or chopped in half by a chainsaw. Ending up in one piece is pretty important to me.
Although people who have returned to tell the tale say this is a peaceful way to die, I am still very freaked out by drowning. What gets to me is the fact that you’re still alive when you realize your next breath will be your last. And I can’t even imagine sucking in a bunch of water with no opportunity to cough it back out. It’s like those seamen in “Pearl Harbor” who find themselves trapped in the USS Arizona as it sinks to the sea bottom below. There’s no chance to escape and they know they’re going to die. Chilling.
I know this post is a little on the morbid side, but that’s what happens when you try to blog and watch horror movies at the same time. Perhaps I’ll switch over to something more positive and uplifting, like the local news.