Saturday, October 25, 2003

Death by the Numbers

In this complex world of ours its all too likely that each of us will one day end our lives as a statistic in some colossal database somewhere that will one day be studied by scholars for insights into our ancient civilization.

If this is the way I am to be remembered I can at least feel comfort knowing that opportunities for immortality exist even in this dry quantitative data wasteland.

The Centers for Disease Control spends an inordinate amount of time classifying the many ways people die. Wouldn’t it be great to stand out in the crowd and rather than be one of the hundreds of millions of people who will die of heart disease, be a singularity.

Oh to be one of the lucky few ever to expire because of unspecified cataclysmic earth surface movements and eruptions (E909.9) or battering by grandparent (E967.6) or how about death from unintentional human bite (E928.7) or perhaps suicide by paintball gun (E955.7) or fall from a toilet (E884.6). Death by terrorist depth charge (E979.0) sounds pretty cool. Or what about having the bad luck to be hit by a falling aircraft (E979.1) hit by an anvil while riding a funicular (E806c), die because you knocked yourself out while floating weightless in a spacecraft (E928.0)?

That’s a lot more manly than dying from a mosquito bite (915.4) or a splinter in the buttocks (911.4)

Interestingly, uncontrolled diarrhea is death cause number 007 as though James Bond would ever meet his end that way. I’d have figured he'd go as an E910.1, or an E843, E962.2 or maybe even an E979.5.

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