Friday, July 3, 2009

Menu of Death

Bizarro is brought to you today by Abstinence.

We all spend at least a little time wondering what certain types of death are like. They say drowning isn't as bad as it sounds because you pass out rather quickly, your brain being unable to open your mouth and take in water. Still sounds terrifying to me. Freezing to death is also said to be merciful because you "just fall asleep." But I hate to be cold. What about all those hours or days of misery before you fall asleep?

Beheading seems quick and almost merciful, but I wonder. How long does your brain stay conscious after separation? It's got to be at least a few seconds, right? Are your last thoughts and sights that of being upside down in a basket? Does your neck hurt? If someone picked your head up really fast and turned it toward your body, would you be able to see it?

The most peaceful death would be an overdose of sleeping pills, I suppose. But I also think I would not mind having my head blown off by surprise. Sounds terrible, I know, but let's say I'm walking down the street, whistling a happy tune, I spot an attractive lady in a short skirt carrying a cute puppy and I smile, then my hat explodes. What do I care?

I have often said that if there is ever a major nuclear attack within 500 miles of me, I want to be at ground zero. I'd much rather go up in a flash of light and be done with it than die slowly of radiation poisoning or spend a couple of years in a basement with god-knows-who, eating god-knows-what, wondering WTF? I would rather die than live in a world like that.

Of course, I feel the same way about a Sarah Palin presidency.

16 comments:

Michael Tallon said...

What about burning to death? That's my worst fear.

betsumei said...

if you must freeze to death, try and do it in water - if it's cold enough (40F or below), you'll probably only have minutes before you pass out. And struggling will only speed the heat loss.

I think the best way to go would be to go out doing something fun, like skydiving. If you've gotta die sometime, might as well enjoy it!

Yet Another Steve said...

Back in the 1970s, there was much merriment when it came to light that the government's plan in case of an impending nuclear attack was to evacuate major cities, including Los Angeles, in twenty minutes. Hey, you can't even get TO a freeway in 20 minutes here, much less make any progress when all 14 million people are trying to leave at once. So, we instantly came up with a sort of parlor game: When the sirens go off, how will you spend your last 20 minutes? My perpetually dieting friend Ruth said "That's easy: look for me in the supermarket, head-down in the Haagen-Dazs."

Prospero said...

Well, what a cheery post! I've always hated the thought of being stabbed to death, liek Janet Leigh in "Psycho." Give me a nice peaceful death in my sleep, thank you.

Dave and Brigette at the Inn on Mill Creek said...

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the head does live for a few seconds after beheading... I would think that would logically be the case; as long as the brain remains intact, and only dies when the blood in the brain is finally sapped of oxygen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillotine#Living_heads

I remember hearing the story of Antione Lavoisier making his final experiment be how many times he could blink after being beheaded (15 times the story goes), but a cursory Google search doesn't return anything definitive.

Dave Stratton said...

Looks like we're not going to have to worry about the Sarah Palin presidency any more. Can't wait to learn the back story.

She's looking good, though. http://www.runnersworld.com/photo/sarahpalin/slide2.html

Penny said...

At this point the news of Palin's resignation as governor of Alaska is about three hours old.

I've been in a really good mood for about three hours.

I don't think she's going to run in 2012. I think there is some big, honking, stinking, rancid mess that's about to come to light, and she's trying to scuttle away while the scuttling's good. I could be wrong, but she was totally rattled during that bizarre speech today.

There's something amiss.

Pagani said...

One thing drowning and beheading would have in common is the terror of knowing you're about to die. Other than that....

Beheading is interesting. People tell all kinds of stories but nobody ever comes back from a beheading to tell us how it was (challenge to any faith healers out there; restore a severed head!)

Putting urban legend material aside, I think it would be quick. 1) Pain... nerves are routed through your spinal cord, which is presumably severed.
2) Consciousness: Think about the instant drop in blood pressure. It is a drop in blood pressure within the brain that causes jet pilots to black out during high-g aerobatics. And their blood pressure is dropping a lot but not to zero, as would be the case with a beheading. So forget the legends of twitching eyes and lips; involuntary muscle fibrillation does not equal consciousness.

Ultimately, it is all just going to sleep. Long, dreamless sleep. And time won't pass, either.

I like to look at it this way: We spend a chunk of our lives unconscious ANYWAY, death is just another version of that. And whatever material that is the essence of matter...cosmic strings or what have you, that IS what you are. And what you are has always been here - and always will be.

Oh and you've probably heard about Palin resigning by now, hmm? No doubt a sign of the THE END TIMES. :)

Anonymous said...

Acutally, I hear that the type of beheading you drew would be a slow and painful way, because the ax wouldn't always get the head off all in one go. I imagine that could get painful quickly.

Me? I want to fall to my death from as high as possible. I hear you pass out before you hit the ground if you start high enough, and even if you don't it's not like the SPLAT takes too long. And what a view!

Oh well...

Robert Gidley said...

More discussion on living heads with no bodies:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1172/does-the-head-remain-briefly-conscious-after-decapitation

Keith said...

This is my first time visiting your blog. Wow! It's very cool. I like it a lot. I hope you are having a cool & swingin' weekend. Cheers!

Waldo said...

... I have heard that you have 70% chance of survival from a skydiving mishap if, on only if, you survive the fall before impact. Supposedly, most of the deaths that occur are because of a heart attack before they hit the ground. Thus, in theory, if you chose to believe, if you can survive to the point of impact, then you have a good chance of survival.

Just land like a cat with all limbs sprayed out to distribute the force of the impact.

So we had a frat boy in the office the past 8 years and now a representative from Sorority row is lining up next?

Michelle in Alaska said...

You remind me of my biggest fear of being the recipient of a Darwin Award.
BTW, Palin is in my 'hood unfortunately but at least she resigned...for now.

David said...

Very cute cartoon :)

The Commentator said...

What if the executioner is incompetent or a rookie and he botches the job?

I say go guillotine to be safe.

Colbys said...

In the wonderful book called "Stiff" there is a whole section on beheading and what, if any, consciousness exists immediately after. It's a great read!