August 27, 2008

The man who wrote "100 Things to Do Before You Die" died -- at age 47 -- in a fall at his house in L.A.

He hit his head.

I'm starting a new list of things to do before you die:
1. Be careful!

102 comments:

Bob said...

I wonder if Discover the meaning of life? was on his list?

Host with the Most said...

Why does this make me think of Jim Fixx, the author of the "Book of Running", who died of a massive heart attack at 52 just after his daily run.?

Or Cardiologist Robert Atkins of the Atkins (High Protein, High Fat, Low Carbohydrate) Diet fame, who had a heart attack in 2002, and was overweight when he died from a fall the next year?

Simon said...

How many was he up to?

Theo Boehm said...

2. Take out the trash.

Ron said...

Simon, you know some wag is going to investigate and write that up...

SteveR said...

My wife took a fall at my daughter's volleyball game last night climbing down the bleachers. She hit her head pretty hard. Scary how easily something so common can turn so very bad. She's allright BTW.

2. Don't wait to tell someone you love them.

Pastafarian said...

3. Cast your absentee ballot for McCain.

(It will cancel out one of the thousands of dead people in Chicago and Cleveland that will be voting for Obama this November).

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew W said...

4. Tape down that wobbly carpet at the top of the staircase.

bleeper said...

I read that he had done about half of the things on the list. It was mostly about going places and seeing things. Experiential stuff.

I wonder about the materialism/experience dichotomy. I have been all over the world, and yes, when you die you take those memories with you.

Physical stuff gets left behind - more for your heirs to sort out, which is a good thing. Saves me the trouble of going through it all.

So what is the point of being alive? Doing? Being? Acquiring? Learning? All of the above?

5. Mind how you work on ladders.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann is such a wise ass.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not being a wise ass. I really want to remind people to be careful. You could kill yourself. Today. Don't forget! That's more important than the dubious value of witnessing a voodoo ceremony in Haiti (which was on the dead author's list).

Ann Althouse said...

God, if I die today it will be so ironic.

Ann Althouse said...

Especially now.

gophermomeh said...

bleeper - exactly. The acquiring of experiences is the essence of being alive.

6. Pay attention to what you're doing, right now.

Roger J. said...

Pastafarian beat me to it.

MadisonMan said...

Ann, I hope you're still alive. And still now.

What does happen to ballots of people who absentee vote and then die before election day?

Meade said...

Tomorrow's NYTimes obit:

Ironically, the much-loved/hated formidable blogger/law professor, Ann Althouse, died late Wednesday morning just after publishing to her blog yet another post widely perceived to be wise-assed...

Quick! Put your helmet on!

Ann Althouse said...

Still here!

Ann Althouse said...

Among the living.

Ann Althouse said...

That's assuming you're still here, I mean.

Maybe there's a dead reader -- in his underpants -- slumped over the keyboard right now.

Or right now.

Triangle Man said...

Ooh, death by irony. Ouch.

SteveR said...

Since we are reliving Camelot this year, counting the votes of dead people seems appropriate.

Ron said...

Death just past by, Ann? Whew!

Pastafarian said...

This thread is starting to creep me out a little bit.

I'll have to check back once every 30 minutes or so to make sure Prof. Althouse is still alive.

Ann Althouse said...

In your eagerness to check, Pastafarian, don't trip.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, I continue to live.

Ann Althouse said...

Rather amazing, really, isn't it?

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

Still reading, living.

In my pants.

Long pants.

Manly long pants.

Ubersexual manly long pants.


And, yes, amazed.

knox said...

Maybe there's a dead reader -- in his underpants -- slumped over the keyboard right now.


.... or in SHORTS

Meade said...

Let's see if the NYTimes prints a retraction tomorrow.

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

God told me what appears to be tragic down here is actually quite funny up there. He dares me to not be amused but warned me not to laugh, or he'll kick my ass.

Therefore, I remain outwardly stoic while inside I'm flipping out.

When I was a teenager living at home, a neighbor friend, too young to drink, fell off a barstool and died while visiting with his dad who was hanging out at a nearby VFW. We all pretty much blamed the dad for drinking inappropriately during the day time, as I'm imagining many VFW members are wont to do. I never satisfactorily resolved the habit of the father putting the end to the young son, and the devastation of a whole family. This makes me fell conflicted towards VFWs, where you can get a drink at half the price at an ordinary club.

UWS guy said...

This thread requires a post from a ghost.

bleeper said...

Wurly - what? I think there is a McCain blast in there somewhere, but I can't really figure out what you wrote. And I don't really care for McCain, so, I ask again, what?

Chip Ahoy said...

fell=feel

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

He's channeling his inner Althouse. Projecting, actually.

Chip Ahoy said...

As stated on AOS, projection, it's not just a river in Egypt.

Meade said...

I was doing a job for clients that required my getting up on a 24' ladder. When he noticed me, the husband opened a nearby window and said, "I hope you have Workers' Compensation. If anything were to happen to you, my wife would kill me."

Sweetest thing ever said to me by another guy.

Peter V. Bella said...

AJ Lynch said...
Ann is such a wise ass.

Most serious injuries and accidental deaths occur in the home; especially if one drinks and walks. Then of course there is the significant other who rearranges the furniture and does not warn you. You come home late at might, in the dark, and trip and fall on your ass. While you lie there like a dying cockroach, she yells at you for waking her up. Tripping over ones pets can be hazardous too. For some reason the pets never get hurt. There are myriad hazards in the home and they can be detrimental to your life. Home is a dangerous place.

Ann Althouse said...

Everyone knows "underpants" is the funnier word. And now I'm inspired to do a new post... before I die.

Ann Althouse said...

Go look... before you die.

Meade said...

Well hurry up, girl. No telling when that bell will toll.

Drew W said...

This thread makes me think of a great question from a George Carlin routine:

If you've been put on hold, and you die, does the little blinking light go out?

Bissage said...

I shudder to think the very next Althouse post might be the very last Althouse post.

I sure hope it's not about Salmon Mousse.

SteveR said...

Hecks bell

bill said...

Because Blogger now allows publishing to a future date/time, a blogger could be dead for days before anyone noticed.

Chip Ahoy said...

Ha ha ha ha ha X 4. Gets his knickers in a knot about the word underpants.

Sometimes I answer the door in my boxer briefs. I figure, if you just come up here and knock on my door this early then you deserve it. Plus I think it's funny.

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bleeper said...

I cannot speak to the moralistic implications of having stuff versus doing stuff. I make stuff, so I hope people stay materialistic and continue to buy my stuff. Buying stuff is an experience I want all my potential customers to have.

dbp said...

Ann,

You can be like Sir Archy and just 'keep on blogging', even after death.

Much better than waiting for some flake to hold a séance.

MadisonMan said...

Ann, if you die outside, I hope the ants stay away from your eyes.

I'm still here.

Bissage said...

Meade, your 11:14 reminded me of a story.

When I was a young buck I had a job in the city where I had to go down into people’s basements in some pretty dilapidated neighborhoods.

One time I was at this little old lady’s house and she was being very kind to me and I started down the steps and she says, “Now you be careful, young man, because if you get hurt I don’t have any money.”

Quite the eye-opener.

Ha!

Ann Althouse said...

Sometimes, I think, if I died, I could be offered the afterlife of continuing to blog. Nothing going on but access to the internet and the ability to keep doing the blog (posting and comments and linking and being linked). I'd accept that. I've always had the idea of the afterlife as an offer that you could accept or decline. (If you decline, you get nothing.)

As a kid, I used to think, what if, after death, you could just keep watching TV and nothing more. You're there in a coffin, but there's TV. Would you want to do it? Forever? Surely, at some point, your lack of existence in the world would cause you to lose any interest at all in it. But with the internet, if you could blog, you'd still be in it in some way....

David said...

On his list may have been "Decide whether there is a God."

Perhaps he knows now.

AJ Lynch said...

Regular blog comenters should ask the blog to be notified when they die. Then no one would just disappear mysteriuosly.

Heck put it in your obit.. so and so was an avid, slightly deranged commenter on the Althouse blog.

Ron said...

I'll bet if he had a chance to mention it, Elvis would have had TV in the coffin...just in case!

Does this qualify as Most Morbid Althouse thread?

Maybe when blogging becomes a World Dominating Force, when you die, Ann, they may preserve you like Jeremy Bentham (or Lenin!) as an icon for future generations of bloggers...

mcallen3 said...

“This life is a short journey,” the book says. “How can you make sure you fill it with the most fun and that you visit all the coolest places on earth before you pack those bags for the very last time?”

We live in a stupid age. Would anyone with any wisdom think this is a good way to live? Who would trade a thousand "fun times" for seeing your kid graduate from collage?

-m

Ron said...

Regular blog comenters should ask the blog to be notified when they die. Then no one would just disappear mysteriuosly.

Heck put it in your obit.. so and so was an avid, slightly deranged commenter on the Althouse blog.


Great thought, AJ! Maybe when Reynolds goes, his obit will be the only Instapundit post to allow comments...

Sic Transit Gloria Blogi!)

chickenlittle said...

Ann Althouse said: Sometimes, I think, if I died, I could be offered the afterlife of continuing to blog.

Perhaps you should start squirreling away some posts, never releasing them like Hendrix did with recordings. Instruct you executor that the postings should be dribbed out slowly on special occasions. You could amplify your legacy.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickenlittle said...

Dammit!

"you" should be "your"

chuck b. said...

It will surprise noone who knows me if I die from a clumsy fall. Or choke on something I swallowed because I was eating too fast.

Zeb Quinn said...

I don't know how this guy fell, but I've known personally two men who died at the prime of their lives (under 45) in falls at home. One was a family member. So it doesn't make for a funny thing to me. That AFLAC commercial with the guy falling over backwards off the ladder while cleaning his gutters is especially unamusing, because that's exactly what happened to one of them.

Ann Althouse said...

Zeb, we are not laughing at someone dying from a fall. I genuinely am trying to tell people to be careful, because you can get killed at any time.

former law student said...

I'll be careful -- I learned this as a child:

Don't ever laugh as the hearse goes by,
For you may be the next to die,
They put you in a big black box,
Then cover you up with dirt and rocks,

All goes well for about a week,
Then your coffin begins to leak,
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play Pinochle on your snout,

They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes,
Your eyes fall out, and your teeth decay,
A rotten end to a lovely day.

gophermomeh said...

We live in a stupid age. Would anyone with any wisdom think this is a good way to live? Who would trade a thousand "fun times" for seeing your kid graduate from collage?

I agree - or any milestone that you have the honor of witnessing.

Ron said...

"Always go to other peoples funerals, or they won't come to yours." -- Yogi Berra

LutherM said...

Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Excerpt from Tennyson's ULYSSES

William said...

I had a friend, ex-Airborne, who felt an overwhelming need to celebrate his 60th year on earth by going sky-diving. I went with him to haul his sorry ass back if something untoward happened. While at the sky diving office, I was given the hard sell and decided what the hell. Sky diving is on every one's bucket list. So I went sky-diving. It's like a very scary, hyperexpensive amusement park ride. The only real satisfaction is telling people afterwards that you went sky-diving.....I always wanted to go with an expensive call girl before I died. Spitzer ruined that for me. That woman with her tattoos and wish for a recording career, I would spend money to avoid. I thought expensive call girls were moonlighting Victoria Secret models. Guess not...I'm thinking of eating at a 4 star French restaurant before I die but the whole concept of snails and sweetbreads turns me off. Haute cuisine is probably like call girl sex.....That was your best ever wisecrack. Woody Allen said every one should make a perfect wisecrack before they die.

Bissage said...

I just called Mrs. Bissage to see what’s up. She had some news. She said a nuthatch flew into the sliding glass door and fell into a potted geranium. It was suspended in the air, hanging upside down with one foot caught on a flower stem. (Kind of an unpleasant way to go, actually.)

So she got it free but it was nearly dead. She made a bed for it with a bath towel, anyway, and she used a little watering can to give it some water. She kept watch over it as it lapsed in and out of consciousness. She eventually got it to eat some safflower seeds.

It recovered in full after about an hour. It flew into a nearby birch tree and the two regarded each other for a while.

This all made Mrs. Bissage very happy and she wondered out loud whether she was meant to be there to help the little bird. The funny thing about it, she said, was that she had taken special note of a new, especially friendly nuthatch earlier in the day and she was pretty sure this was the same one.

So . . . does anyone want to know what I said when Mrs. Bissage asked whether she was meant to save the little bird?

I said, “I sure hope so.”

ricpic said...

Don't forget your glasses or your keys and everything else takes care of itself.

vbspurs said...

3. Post on blogs as "TitusFabulous RareClumbers".

vbspurs said...

Doesn't this poor guy's death remind you of Jim Fixx? The guy who popularised jogging for bettering health, and promptly croaked one day, aged 52.

The best part about it? He was jogging at the time.

I know I'm cruel.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Lest we forget: Althouse laughs at death.

'Funny dead' might be a necessary tag, ya think?

UWS guy said...

#43 Dance in the Shower

vbspurs said...

Quoting Ann's words via the Ruth Anne link:

Don't worry about being morbid. Althouse laughs at death.

Dass cold, sistah!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

You haven't gotten a tattoo today, have you Althouse?

gophermomeh said...

Fixx was at extremely high risk for heart disease with too many heart disease risk factors stacked against him early in life - smoking, poor diet and a strong family history.

Running probably extended his life, a bit.

UWS guy said...

I'm gonna steal that line Ricpic.

Ron said...

Well that's it! I bet you thought Althouse left for awhile, but, nope, she's probably toes up as we speak, heaven forfend! She'd have wanted her last post to be about Pee Wee Herman...and underpants.

UWS guy said...

That would be like having a heart attack while trying to pinch out a loaf...

Meade said...

Okay, considering that Ruth Anne's first adoring husband will outlive me by at least 30 years, and considering a deceased blogging Althouse will still need someone to boot up her Mac for her and pay the gas and electric bill even when she's, as Ron so poetically put it, toes up, and considering the, you know, benefit package of a fully tenured law professor at a top tier Big Ten university, considering all of that... I am now willing to reconsider that sweet romantic pity-marriage proposal I so ungraciously turned down just the other day.

I am.

Really.

This time, I promise.

Cross my heart and hope to... you know.

MadisonMan said...

gophermomeh: Yes. You can't fight genetics.

chickenlittle said...

vbspurs said 3. Post on blogs as "TitusFabulous RareClumbers".

I think titus killed titusis going home and it was a suicide.

vbspurs said...

What an awful thought, chickenlittle. Me going to workout sad. :(

dr kill said...

Speaking of VFW's and drinking, the best VFW bar ever is on East 32nd Street in Hialeah. They serve twice the drink at less than half the price, and last time I was there it was 8AM on a Sunday. That's what I'm talking about.

Try and visit before you roll a seven.

Henry said...

mcallen3 wrote: "Who would trade a thousand "fun times" for seeing your kid graduate from collage?"

Or just watching your kid at soccer practice? The most pleasurable hour of my day yesterday was spent doing absolutely nothing but watching a bunch of six-year-olds run in circles.

Peter V. Bella said...

AJ Lynch said...
Heck put it in your obit.. so and so was an avid, slightly deranged commenter on the Althouse blog...


...who valiantly fought off police trying to rescue him after falling into the vat of beer.

Peter V. Bella said...

former law student said...
I'll be careful -- I learned this as a child:


I learned this as an adult; Remember, life is a journey, but you never see a luggage rack on a hearse.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm still alive and just wanted to check in to say that when I wrote this post, I knew Ruth Anne would comment "Althouse laughs at death."

Ann Althouse said...

But I do hate death and consider the laughing to be a means of fighting it.

ballyfager said...

Then there was the character in Catch 22 who was so afraid of death he wanted to make his life longer.

His way of accomplishing this was by only doing things that bored him. Thus, his life would at least SEEM longer.

blake said...

"Althouse questions her commitment to ironic commentary." Heh.

I'm reminded of Dr. Helen who has the "Death. Been there. Done that." t-shirt.

Grilled C. said...

Althouse: I'm not being a wise ass.

True enough. You're being a regular ass.

Issob Morocco said...

Eat Kashi Good Friends Cereal everyday!

Pogo said...

It's not funny as in mockery, but you do laugh at the absurdity of life in such moments.

How fragile we are. There's a million ways to die, and you can only visit one. Do you collect the most toys, or experience the most places, or satisfy your appetites to excess because tomorrow we may die?

In the past two weeks I've diagnosed three cancers, two of which will not see 2009. A woman learned she had MS rather than Lyme disease. My parents are disappearing, eroding, memory by memory slipping away.

Marcus Aerelius
"For all such things as these "are produced in the season of spring," as the poet says; then the wind casts them down; then the forest produces other leaves in their places. But a brief existence is common to all things, and yet thou avoidest and pursuest all things as if they would be eternal. A little time, and thou shalt close thy eyes; and him who has attended thee to thy grave another soon will lament."



7. Buy some giant underpants, and make a swing.
La la laaaaaaaa!

Kirk Parker said...

MM,

"Ann, if you die outside..."

Not gonna happen. Too many squirrels out there; I'm sure she's taking special precautions.

Theo Boehm said...

The silver Swan, who living had no Note,
when Death approach'd, unlock'd her silent throat.
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
"Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
"More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise."
—Orlando Gibbons, First Set of Madrigals and Motets of 5 parts (1612)

blake said...

Link to Orlando Gibbons.