What's the worst way to die?

Asked by Jane Belanger

March 17, 2010

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Robert Joseph

From Mission Valley (Architect)

Getting pecked to death by turkeys. Turkeys…I mean, it would take a long time! And they’re really quite vicious. I was confronted once and I’ve never forgotten it. I used to think getting eaten by a shark would be the worst way to die, but then I realized that’d be really quick — although very violent, relative to being pecked by turkeys. It’d just be a lot longer. Once you couldn’t try to fend them off anymore, there’d probably be a good 20 minutes of just being pecked and scratched. And there’s a humiliation factor there because they’re turkeys.

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Frank Melching

From South Park (Nuclear Mechanic)

The worst way to die would be, I guess, not knowing you’re dead. The French would guillotine people, correct? Well, the head doesn’t die for two minutes. Sucks, huh? Can’t talk; can’t do shit but just sit there and expire. You know you’re in trouble. But some people actually look forward to where they’re going next. Like they have a choice.

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Paulina Urias

From Chula Vista (Student)

My fear has always been being stranded in the middle of the ocean, because there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t call anybody; you can’t really provide for yourself. I’ve thought about it before. It’s just the thought of being out there in the middle of nowhere by yourself and there’s nothing you can do. And then, there’s sharks, too. It’s a scary way to die.

Photo of Harvey Selverston

Harvey Selverston

From Clairemont (Retired)

A long, excruciating, painful death like cancer would be the worst way to die. I always like Woody Allen’s line, “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” I think a quick death, like a heart attack, or something where you die in your sleep would be much preferred to some long, drawn-out type of death.

Photo of Hassan Jama

Hassan Jama

From North Park (Respiratory Therapy Student)

Being left alone by your own family. They should be there, you know? I’ve seen a lot of these things because I work in a hospital. I’ve seen so many people left to social workers and nursing homes to deal with them. I keep asking myself, Don’t these people have families? That’s not a good way to die. Your loved ones should be close to you when you’re going.

Photo of Poeshae Eugene Smith

Poeshae Eugene Smith

From Downtown (Door Security)

Being in an earthquake or being buried alive would be the worst way to die. I haven’t been in an earthquake, but it’s my biggest fear. I was born in Mississippi, where they’ve got tornadoes and hurricanes — so I guess it’s better than that, but you could still be buried alive. And with tornadoes and hurricanes you can kind of prepare. I guess it’s not really earthquakes…it’s being buried alive that would be the worst.


David Dodd March 17, 2010 @ 9:55 p.m.

In front of a live audience; it's your last act and if you screw it up you don't get another take.


Rocket_J_Squirrel March 18, 2010 @ 3:17 p.m.

DROP DEAD ON A TREADMILL at 24 Hour Fitness, then, when it shoots you onto the carpet, have people watch and do nothing as your face, head and shoulders are belt - sanded into nothingness.


SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 4:30 a.m.

Ask me what's the worst way to LIVE. That's scarier ;)


Catwoman4u March 20, 2010 @ 10:44 p.m.

I think the absolute worst way to die is to die alone. Laying there in the hospital bed, not having any visitors and knowing that the hospital staff is pretty much feeling sorry for you because no one cares enough about you to say good bye? That would also be humiliating. What a sad legacy to leave behind. That's always been a fear of mine. Purrs, Catwoman=^..^= & Mija (my furbaby)


magicsfive March 21, 2010 @ 11:56 a.m.

Excellent point, SD. i think Huntington's Disease would be (one of) the worst says to die (and live).


SDaniels March 21, 2010 @ 10:31 p.m.

Yeah magics, we could get into some major diseases, and Huntington's is definitely right up there.

As for Catwoman, I like your little cat icon! Whiskers, too! ;) Catwoman is describing a death that many Americans suffer, because the family structure has disintegrated. Not just through divorce, but through an emptying of meaning, a lack of will to maintain family relationships.

I love the idea that one can make one's own family, and that we have many freedoms in the wake of the disappearance of oppressive familial obligation, especially forced marriage and ridiculously gendered roles... but what is happening now to all of these grandmothers and grandfathers, ending up to die alone as Catwoman eloquently describes?

I've been in that hospital bed, and can tell you--if I had not had wonderful family caring for me all the way--I'd definitely want it to go quickly. Especially in a home for the elderly. Nursing homes can be things of horror--the hospital is a much better proposition in comparison.

The question is, can we find a way to reintegrate the elderly in our society, and find the use and benefit of their presence in our daily lives?

In Mexican society, European cultures, and pretty much everywhere else in the world, people keep their elderly close, and treasure their wisdom. Their final job in this life is to teach grandchildren a few things. Otherwise, they should be able to enjoy the sun and breakfast, and a good book or television, and the company of loved ones. Can we do this still, without putting them in homes? The problem is, we don't have the same family support we used to--sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, etc. etc. --all of these people who used to live together and create a unit that could handle care of the elderly. Without this kind of structure, it doesn't seem likely we'll ever be able to provide the elderly with a meaningful life closing, outside of visits to the home. Sorry for such a long post on a depressing topic, but it's been bugging me...


CuddleFish March 22, 2010 @ 9:02 a.m.

The elderly these days have a lot of complicated medical issues and treatment that all the sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, in the world are not qualified or capable of treating. Nursing homes provide medical and physical care when the family is no longer able to provide for the needs of the elderly family member.


Robert Johnston March 22, 2010 @ 11:37 p.m.

When I was struck down by MRSA back in May of 2005, I knew that something horrid had invaded my body. I knew that inch, by inch, my life force was leaving me...and if all went according to Nature's Plan, only my disease-ridden husk would be left in that hospital bed.

And yet--I never was afraid. When I felt at my lowest (not being able to rise up and eat dinner), I uttered a prayer to God:

"God, if you can spare me to continue my mission, I beg of you to do so. However, if it is not to be, then send The Reaper, and do it quickly! Either way, So Be It and Amen!"

I awoke the next morning, neither in a sea of flames or hearing angelic choruses. I was still on Earth...and God had given me a new lease on the life I was living.

The only thing I fear about dying is that I cannot come back to complete my mission. Otherwise, when God sends The Reaper for you...The Reaper WILL be leaving with you, no buts about it! Besides, if I do pass on, I'll probably be in a better place.

"And God only knows, and God makes His plan/ The information's not available to the mortal man!" --Paul Simon, from "Slip Sliding Away."



SDaniels March 23, 2010 @ 2:15 a.m.

Yes, true, many elderly suffer from medical conditions requiring complicated care, but I've been in a lot of nursing homes stuffed with people who do not, people who just sit and stare blankly because they have lost the will to live. These places try to provide a standard of care, but they end up feeling like incarceration, too--lonely, isolated, and smelling always of urine...


Mango March 23, 2010 @ 12:49 p.m.

I recall a story about a man named Rafael Jimenez who was killed in April 2008 by being sucked into a wood chipping machine. According to reports by the LA Times, KTLA.com, Signonsandiego and other news organizations, Mr. Jimenez was a senior tree trimmer for the city of Inglewood, California. After his death, his family sued the manufacturer of the machine, Morbark, Inc., after hearing reports that the company knew, previous to Mr. Jimenez's tragic and gruesome death, that their machines possessed faulty safety equipment. Also, the city of Inglewood was hit with three citations and a fine by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for not having proper written safety instructions, with regard to the wood chipping machine, available to its employees.

There are many gounds maintence workers in the city of San Diego who do a superb job by keeping our parks and beaches looking beautiful, despite many budget cuts to their departments. Keep up the good work people and stay safe!


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