I often think about death.
Well not often, but I do think about it.
Not so much my impending mortality, the brevity of our short lives, nothing quite so highbrow. More along the lines of embarrassing deaths and how to avoid them.
Is that weird?
There are the obvious ones – dying on the toilet, dying in the bath, dying while gardening naked. (I garden fully clothed, sometimes in pyjamas, but it would be embarrassing if you did garden starkers and had a nasty turn.)
And I know I will be beyond embarrassment if I am dead, but still, you want it to be dignified.
I have a list – you know I love a list. It’s not definitive or even in any particular order but it’s a list, nonetheless. Do you want to see?
First are the clothing mishaps.
Death by wide-leg trousers – tripping on your flares and falling to your death or more embarrassingly just falling over and hitting your head.
Death by platform shoe – I once fell off a particularly vertiginous pair of platform clogs straight into the road. What if there’d been a bus or a lorry coming? I‘d have caused a scene, upset the driver and probably the folk on the bus all because of my inappropriate footwear choices – how mortifying would that be? (Let’s just skip over the whole image of me in clogs)
Death by bra – I’m thinking strangulation by those pull-on things that get twisted and garrot you halfway on.
While we’re at it, death by boobs – suffocation by the sheer weight of them (if you know, you know.) Or running with boobs. Or vigorous country dancing – you can take more than an eye out, you know.
Then there’s deaths in embarrassing places – or death with embarrassing objects (I don’t mean that, filthy – get your mind out of the gutter!)
I have various death-by-wheelchair scenarios – most involve the wheelchair trapping me – underwater, under snow, underground, under a giant pile of marshmallows.
It’s not so much the deaths here that are embarrassing, as my being mad enough to try to get to these places. Falling into the river could be comical, drowning under my wheelchair less so.
There is also the ever-real risk of my wheelchair tipping as I misjudge climbing a particularly steep bank or decide to go off-road in the woods. I could be trapped and die of starvation – lost, never to be heard of again, having forgotten both to charge my phone and my wheelchair. Batteries fading, my weakened cries unheard.
There’s the death while having sex thing, but I’m a menopausal woman and way too hot, (why thank you, I am.) So the chances of that right now are pretty slim, still I live in hope.
There’s death by inhaling window cleaner – my excuse for not doing that particular job.
Also see death from oven cleaner, death from bathroom cleaner, death from polish. But more embarrassing, would be death from the shame of my long-dead matriarchs seeing my house in such a mess, which top trumps much of the above.
My mother-in-law once commented on the dustiness of my skirting boards, and you could hear the rage of my working-class ancestors for weeks – never mind I’d not polished the front step. ‘All it needs is a damp cloth and a bit of elbow grease.’
I think when we are ready, we hope for a dignified death, a peaceful death, not a comedy moment that someone’s bound to film – ooh death while walking looking at a mobile phone, that could be a whole category in itself.
Is it morbid, all these thoughts of death?
Is it tragic?
Am I revealing some deep inner neurosis?
God, I hope not, I would die from the shame.