Nancy and I were talking with some friends this morning about the unfortunate man who climbed the protective fence on top of Stone Mountain and fell to his death. This brought to mind other fatalities due to poor judgement - such as some people during an untimely cold snap in North Florida, who - without power - took the seemingly reasonable step of bringing in their charcoal grills for heat and died of asphyxiation. Or the man who posed for a snapshot on an unstable ledge of packed ice at the crater of Mount St Helens, and ... Well, you get the picture.
That is my greatest fear. Not falling to death of dying of suffocation, but terminal dumb-ass-ness. The people at my funeral wouldn't say, "At least it was quick," or "He was so brave," but, "What was he thinking?"
The warning signs are all there. My own stupidity hasn't gotten me yet, but that's owing more to luck than anything else. Idiocy, like other illness, is progressive, untreatable, and chronic. You can go into remission for days and even weeks, and then have a cataclysmic relapse.
"What was he thinking?" the mourners will ask each other. "Why would anyone take a leaf blower into the bathtub?" Or, "Dropping your cell phone into the pirhanna tank at the aquarium could happen to anyone, but why would you go in after it?" Or, "If you saw a palette of cinderblocks falling off a roof, would you try to catch it?"
A scary thought, isn't it? I'll probably get lucky; there's plenty of wasting diseases, not to mention heart attack and stroke. But still, I can't help but imagine. "Did you hear?" one of my pallbearers asks another, "the ambulance drivers were laughing so hard when they finally found the body, they dropped the stretcher three times."