The Final Frontier

Newsflash: We’re going to die.

Now if even Arthur Dent can figure it out in the first Hitchhikers book, why is “snuffing it” such a taboo subject? I dont know about the rest of you, but have you ever noticed that whenever the conversation even approximates heading towards the topic of “terminal”, every one twitches.

Which is weird because if the shrinks are to be believed we have seen about 12 gazillion “deaths” on the television, in the movies, front pages of newspapers and lets not forget the Roadrunner cartoons. No wait, they’re just violent, the coyote never dies… ever.

Anyway what prompted this is the article by Lee Aundra Temescu in DISCOVER Vol. 27 entitled.
20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Death

Here are a couple to get you started…

  • The practice of burying the dead may date back 350,000 years, as evidenced by a 45-foot-deep pit in Atapuerca, Spain, filled with the fossils of 27 hominids of the species Homo heidelbergensis, a possible ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.
  • Never say die: There are at least 200 euphemisms for death, including “shuffle off this mortal coil,” “just add maggots,” and “sleep with the Tribbles” (a Star Trek favorite) and my favourite “snuffed it”.
  • No American has died of old age since 1951. That was the year the government eliminated that classification on death certificates.
  • The trigger of death, in all cases, is lack of oxygen. Its decline may prompt muscle spasms, or the “agonal phase,” from the Greek word agon, or contest.

It’s a good (if slightly weird) read.

Categorized as Culture

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