I have been preoccupied with thoughts of mortality since my Father’s death in September. Although his life ended as a result of natural causes, he barely escaped the odds of dying in a car crash or in a motorcycle crash. Of course these odds change as technology evolves. Everything does. And, it appears that more people are choosing cremation rather than a traditional funeral. This is what my Mother had chosen for him. A handful of children attended the memorial service at the funeral home, since there was no viewing, it seemed kid appropriate. Little did we know, there was another service scheduled across the hall from my Father’s, with a traditional viewing. Shortly after the service began, my tiny niece ran up to her mother and said “Mom! I just saw a dead body! A REAL dead body!” My sister was horrified. Then my niece looked around the room and with a puzzled look on her face, said “Where’s Grandpa’s body?” My sister told her “Grandpa’s body is in that box on the table.” My niece looked at her with a little grin. Clearly her mother was joking. “How did Grandpa fit in that little box?” My sister said “Because we had Grandpa cremated and his ashes are in that box.” My niece screamed “You set Grandpa on FIRE?”
With my preoccupation of life and death, I found some interesting statistics and other facts about death and dying. I wasn’t surprised that the National Safety Council’s table on an individual’s odds of dying from various causes lists motor vehicle incidents in the top four, with the odds being 1 in 112. The odds for a car occupant dying are 1 in 492. And the odds of a motorcycle rider dying are 1 in 922. The National Safety Council collects safety statistics for their annual Injury Facts publication, which includes this table on an individual’s odds of dying from various causes. But, still, the number one cause of death on the list is heart disease and cancer, which are 1 in 7 odds. Not good odds for any of the living and certainly bad news for those who are already gone.
And let us not forget the old hornet, wasp and bee sting deaths (1 in 75,852), legal execution (1 in 96,203) and being killed by a dog (1 in 103,798). Wait! I have three dogs that are seemingly nice. Tonight, I will be sleeping with one eye open.
Until next week …
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
The Odds of Dying in a Car Crash – Comedy Defensive Driving