He who dies last wins

Death & star trails

Death & star trails, originally uploaded by Midnight-digital.

An excerpt from "Mine Is Longer Than Yours," by Michael Kinsley in the New Yorker:

The government statistics on how people die are lavish and fascinating. Let’s forget for a moment that it’s a catalogue you can’t really shop from. And yet you also can’t put it down and say “No, thanks” to the whole thing. So what’s your pleasure? Or should I say, “Choose your poison”? In 2004, five thousand eight hundred people did choose poison, and suicide in general—the only option that you actually can choose—ranked eleventh among causes of death, with thirty-two thousand people casting their votes for it. Half of these people used guns. About twenty-one thousand people died of poisoning classified as “accidental” in 2004. That’s almost half as many as died in car accidents. Accidents in general ranked fifth, with a hundred and twelve thousand out of a total of 2.4 million deaths.

For me, reading this essay was like sitting down next to a stranger and striking up a conversation, and discovering first that the stranger was witty and erudite, then realizing that he’s a marvelous raconteur. I recommend you go read it for yourself.