Saturday, March 22, 2008

Death By Fish

The bizarre death yesterday of a Michigan woman (57) who was killed when a 75 lb eagle stingray (age unknown) hit her when she was out on a boat near Marathon in the Florida Keys, highlights that fishing is up near the top of the League of Dangerous Occupations.

Apparently cutting down trees is No.1 and fishing is No.2. I'd have to think that being in the military would be pushing for a top spot but that's just me. Or being a football referee in Uruguay. Or being a Belgian Cartoonist. You can think of occupations yourselves. Go for it.

But this poor unfortunate woman (57) wasn't some multi tattooed, muscle bound, deep sea trawler type who was hauling in a drag net bursting with vicious barbed stingrays. Oh no. This was your typical tourist out with her family on her dad's boat only a few miles from shore. There she was, standing in the bow of the boat, minding her own business, when would you believe it, a 6ft stingray flew out of the water and hit her on the head. Whack.

I mean what were the odds ? I know the bloody thing looks like a Vulcan Bomber but it's not supposed to act like one and kill you.

Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time ! It's all a bit reminiscent of the tragic death of Steve Irwin of course but in his case, he'd deliberately gone into the water to be with the critters down there. This woman (57) wasn't even Australian for goodness' sake.

Given the passage of enough time, some deaths, or at least the causes of the deaths, can be mildly amusing or even hysterically funny. It's impossible to say how long this passage of time should be as the deaths of even people who are not friends or relatives can be so upsetting that we can never think of them as funny.

Maybe the deaths had to have happened long before we were born. Yes, that's a good starting point.

Attila The Hun died of a nosebleed - on his wedding night.
Napoleon Bonaparte was killed by his wallpaper.
Alexander 1 was killed by his pet monkey.
Francis Bacon died after stuffing snow into a chicken.
Aeschylus (father of Greek tragedy) was killed by a tortoise.
King Adolph Frederick died from overeating dessert.
Jack Daniel died after stubbing his toe.
Isadora Duncan was killed by her scarf.
Actor Vic Morrow was decapitated by a helicopter rotor blade.
Tennessee Williams choked to death on a bottle cap.

Ok so most of those were only bizarre and not very amusing (well Attila The Hun's was worth a giggle) but the point is, they all happened a long time ago and so can be talked about without causing any upset or distress over a pint in the pub, at half time in the footy game or any time Gail Tilsley is on screen in Corrie. An amusing mix of trivia banter and necrophilia always goes down well, I find.

So the death of Mrs Zagorski (57) was undoubtedly bizarre but we can't really mention it in terms of Jack Daniel. We can't have a quick laugh. In fact, it's so bizarre that we may NEVER be able to laugh at it. Even in, say, 100 years.

The various reports of how the event happened ARE funny though. National newspapers and wire reports have the stingray all but viciously attacking Mrs Zagorski (57) with a blunt instrument. She seems to have been standing on the bow of the boat, lying sunbathing on the boat and fishing off the back of the boat all at the same time. Depending on which report you read, the stingray either flew into her face causing her to fall and fatally bang her head on the deck, impaled her neck with its barb causing her to fall and etc etc or, according to one report on the internet, the stingray sneaked up over the side of the boat, lay on top of the poor woman while she was sunbathing on the deck and slapped her to death with its 'wings'.

In any case, her death was a tragedy for her family and friends and no laughing matter. Yet.

I kind of hoped she HAD been fishing as then her death might well have been the very statistic needed for 'fishing' to overtake 'tree felling' as the numero uno most dangerous occupation. I mean come on, lumberjacking !!!

I think Monty Python had the right idea about that lot.


Daphne said...

There was a short (fictional) film years ago about a boy whose father had been killed because a pig fell on him. Every time the boy mentioned the cause of his father's death, everyone fell about laughing.
I fear this poor lady's family may eventually have the same problem.

Silverback said...

Oh I donno, Daffers. Death by fish stands no comedic chance alongside a 'flying' pig.

Anonymous said...

but ........ if you skip the "fish" part and substitute "eagle ray" it sounds somehow more eerie...... a new secret weapon perhaps?? ..... something from outer space??

Also, Daphne, could you please try to see that Ian lays off the caffine (I think the Coca Cola is getting him......)

Last summer whilst Mary & I were trveling to and in Alaska, I lost Ian's blog site - I shall be interested to see what he "pen's" when over there.... we shall miss him here

Daphne said...

I'm sure you will miss him, Clair, and of course I've enjoyed reading all the posts from the USA - but we in Blighty are looking forward to having him back again. I'm sure there'll be some interesting things for him to write about on this blog.

debby said...

Personally I'd rather have been stuffing my chicken with bacon...hmmm I wonder if that would have been cannibalism for poor Sir Francis? I shall be awake all night pondering why anyone would want to fill their poultry with snow.

I shall be waiting for blogs from across the pond myself. They won't be quite the same as watching them being typed :-(

Anonymous said...

Ummm didn't Mama Cass die from choking on a ham sandwich???

Best one I heard - was an obituary that my dad read to me:

90 year old man - dead. Hit by car while rollerblading.

That one made my day

Silverback said...

Her 'death by sandwich' is an urban myth as an uneaten sandwich was found at her bedside. She actually died from a weight related heart attack.

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