7 Interesting Bits About Death

Death is not a subject generally welcomed in polite conversations. Understandable, considering that no one truly wants to cease life on earth. After all, it is fun being alive.

But mortality is not something we can beat. Sure. There are billionaires now funding programs that extend life or defy aging, hoping to someday unlock the secrets to immortality. With sci-fi like ideas from today’s researchers, cryogenics will seem like Betamax. There are talks of digitizing the brain and reprogramming human DNA. But these might not turn into reality for those of us in the 99 percent.

So while the ultra-wealthy try to solve the “problem of death,” let’s preoccupy ourselves with seven of the most interesting things about death — and live life to the fullest while we can.

1. Alexander the Great had the most luxurious funeral in history.

How do you honor the life of a man who conquered most of the world? You honor him like the boss that he is — with a funeral that, when calculated in today’s money, costs $600 million. With this kind of dough, the phenomenal general was placed in a gold sarcophagus, covered with pricey purple cloth that had gold thread. His golden coffin was put in a golden chariot, dotted with precious stones and designed with intricate animal carvings.

2. Napoleon mistakenly ordered the death of Turkish prisoners with a cough.

Napoleon was thinking over what to do with 1,200 Turkish prisoners when his cough came on. The general reportedly uttered, “Ma sacre’ toux!” which meant “my damned cough!” But his officers heard, “Massacre tous!” which meant “kill them all.”

3. Doctors have such bad penmanship that it kills.

Around 7,000 people reportedly die every year because of doctors’ bad handwriting. Meanwhile, around 440,000 deaths occur from preventable medical errors annually.

4. Someone commits suicide every 40 seconds.

In New York, more people die by their own hands than from murder.

5. When you die in Amsterdam, you’ll have poets write and recite poems at your memorial.

If you have no friends or family coming to your funeral in Amsterdam, a poet will write a poem for you and then recite it at the service.

6. Vending machines could kill.

And not because those snacks are bad for your health. The Discovery News reports that 37 people have died from 1977 to 1995 when a vending machine toppled over them after retrieving a quarter or soda. Annually, vending machines kill 13 people.

7. You don’t die of old age.

You die because of disease or inactivity. In fact, lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally. Meanwhile, tuberculosis has killed 1.5 million people worldwide in a single year, making it a larger cause of death than AIDS. “Old age” is not a scientifically recognized cause of death although you might hear people say, “He died because he was old.”