Posts tagged “death”

  1. There's something that's been bothering me for a while, but I've been reluctant to bring it up until now. At first I wasn't sure if it was a fluke -- weird things happen in Manhattan, you know? A penguin once told me he'd tested positive for Hep B over a Tom Collins at Pravda. I don't judge. But when I started seeing it in the outer boroughs -- when it came to my favorite corner…

    55 comments
  2. Unlike those who donate clothes to the homeless or ladle soup to the hungry, April gave her time to the dead. As a volunteer coroner, she’d hoist bodies into vans, transport corpses to the morgue and examine the flesh with scrupulous detail, as if to prove that those who are gone need help too.

    I was unaware such community service even existed until April emailed me one day, ecstatic over her new…

    3 comments
  3. 1. In the week after your death, you visit many of your loved ones in their sleep. Everyone has some vision in which you appear, smiling and tender, touching them gently and dispensing words of wisdom (or, as was often your wont in life, Spice Girls lyrics). To most of your friends and family, there is comfort in this. Through the ache of your death, the almost unimaginable emptiness of a world without you in…

    35 comments
  4. For years and years, since I was a little girl, what I really wanted was to be an architect. Specifically, what I wanted was to renovate and restore old houses, to find crumbling unloved buildings and patch them up. Oak floorboards, high ceilings, polished staircases, duck egg blue walls; I wanted to play with windows and light. I wanted to clear out the tangled gardens and strip back the plaster to the original bricks, sand…

    35 comments
  5. The real Voight-Kampff test of our era is whether you have ever searched "grizzly man death footage" after watching the fascinating but ultimately unsatisfying Grizzly Man. You yourself have looked for it many times, late at night, usually alone. One night -- expecting nothing -- you find yourself clicking on a new link reading simply "Grizzly Man Dies." The video loads. At first there is only darkness. Suddenly, a piercing scream fills your small…

    95 comments
  6. Previously: Choose Your Own P.G. Wodehouse Adventure.

    You are born. If you cry, turn to page 61. If you fall asleep, turn to page 14. You have made it through your first year of life. If you take a step away from your mother, turn to page 23. If you decide to crawl, turn to page 39. You have made it to the age of four! If you decide to follow your brothers down…

    77 comments
  7. The feature “Read This With That” pairs old and new, complementary pieces from the Internet like so much fine cheese and wine. In today’s installment: New Yorker writers Ariel Levy and Aleksandar Hemon. (Previous installment: Taffy and Sugar.) In our culture, even serious people do not like to think about death. There are some exceptions: the fictional Harry Burns (“I spend hours. I spend days”), the semi-fictional Woody Allen (“I was suicidal…

    4 comments
  8. I’ll never forget the year I ruined Christmas. December 26th, early afternoon. I was still pretty green, only three months in and the newest member of the obituary department. Back when everything was fresh and interesting, before I answered the phone with any bitterness in my voice. I volunteered to check the department voicemail. I thought it would be low-key the day after a holiday. The first message started at 6:30 a.m. A woman said…

    18 comments
  9. My mom had been dying for so long, I couldn't tell what dying meant anymore. Everything the nurse had told us to watch out for had already happened, sometimes more than once: the purpling of the feet, which showed that her heart was not pumping effectively enough to get her blood to her toes; the inability to swallow, which meant either that her muscles had finally stopped responding to her brain (thanks to end-stage brain…

    25 comments
  10. “Guilty Conscience,” Eminem – I was afraid of cursing. Technically that’s an understatement because at the time I was afraid of almost everything, but I was especially afraid of cursing. The first time I heard this song, in the summer of 2000 (kids who are afraid of cursing are not the kind who actively seek out Eminem albums) the Tourette's and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that I had always shown minor traces of had begun to…

    26 comments
  11. Taylor Swift's "Twenty-Two" is maybe the blandest song to ever have been generated by a pop-country songwriting machine. For those who aren't familiar, a copy can be found here. (For those who are unfamiliar and at work, it recounts the bland-but-accessible adventures of "ditch[ing] this whole scene" and "dreaming instead of sleeping.") It’s a vanilla milkshake in song form, with a chorus of, "I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22," backed by…

    24 comments
  12. Previous installments of The Toast’s advice column from two disparate and imperfect persons can be found here. Last time: Nails and Aisle-Walking. Hi! I have a bit of a time-sensitive question, but no pressure! It's also probably easy, if that helps? My next-door neighbor's husband died two days ago, in a horrific and sudden way. I've only been their neighbor for about 10 months, we are just hi-bye friends, though we've had a…

    50 comments
  13. Previously: A Canticle for Leibowitz. Peter Beagle is one of my absolutely favorite writers, so I was fairly surprised last year when I realized I'd never even heard of his first novel, A Fine and Private Place (which he wrote when he was nineteen. What were you doing when you were nineteen? I remember what I was doing, and it wasn't writing beautiful novels). The title comes from Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress: "The grave's a fine and…

    28 comments
  14. n late 2008 I thought Zac Efron had a weird plastic mannequin face and my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer. Three months later, I still thought Zac Efron had a weird plastic mannequin face and my mother was dead. This isn't the cancer essay or the dead parent essay; for those, may I direct you to the rest of the internet and also to a considerable part of contemporary literature? Fuck cancer,…

    26 comments
  15. Previously in this series: Who is the saddest girl? If there is one thing the current crop of indie rocker neo-stompist lumber-throwback-jacks loves to do, it's sing about dead women. Not just any women: historical dead women, and the deader the better, whether they fling themselves off of a lighthouse or a crumbling keep or some sort of whimsical jigging apparatus. One can't turn on one's radiograph without hearing about burned seamstresses or strangled…

    92 comments