A shuffle board so long that the curvature of the earth matters

I only ordered two pint glasses from Etsy but I received three business cards in my box from the artisan

I bet that pulling office pranks on your co-workers is a really fine challenging line to navigate when you’re in the medical examiner field. It would be really really tempting if you were the recipient of a body and you knew that one of your colleagues was going to be the one to examine it and try to identify a cause of death to do something which would throw them off the scent … but oh boy could that ever go wrong.

Let’s say a body shows up and you just happen to have gallons of fruit juice sitting around. You might be tempted to drain the body of it’s natural body fluids and replace all of them with fruit juice and then close it back up before your peer went to do their job. They’d get in there and they’d be examining and at some point they’d probably be like “oh obviously if you replace all your blood with fruit juice that’s going to friggin kill you”, and they’d write that down on their paper and they’d consider it a pretty easy closed case and move on to the next one.

But then later on they’d have to have a conversation with the family and they’d be like “yeah, I know this is hard to hear, but Dave died of fruit juice. He just had way too much” and the family would be sort of confused at first, wondering if maybe he died of a sugar high or something. Then the examiner would have to explain “no, not like he drank too much … like literally there was too much. He was all fruit juice” and the family would be so confused and be like how would that even happen? That doesn’t sound like Dave? and so on.

Eventually this would come back to the person who played the prank and they’d have to either play dumb about the whole thing or be like “yeah, uh, I did replace all his fluids with fruit juice instead as a joke” and admit what they did. If you played dumb, it seems like the whole thing could just spiral out of control and an unnecessary police investigation might get started. If you fessed up, I feel like it is probably a VERY RARE family indeed who would see how funny this was and start laughing along with you — knowing that now they’d never find out how Dave actually perished — and not get really upset and ask why the hell you’d do something like that to their loved one.

Sort of related to that, when someone says that someone “died doing what they loved”, there’s sort of a lot to unpack there. Like let’s say Dave had really loved playing billiards but there was some sort of unfortunate racking triangle accident that took him away from us too soon. Maybe his Aunt Sally would be like “well, at least he died doing what he loved” because she knew he was just an utter pool shark and loved not just the solids but also the stripes.

I guess on the one hand Aunt Sally makes a good point here. Better that if Dave had to go out, he went out in some last pleasant moments with friends in the pool hall, rather than some more horrible death that could have befallen him. But the “at least” here is sort of packing in a hidden concept — which is that the now-deceased Dave can have some sort of opinion or feeling about or maybe even judgement of how he actually went out. Putting aside topics of afterlife or spirituality, I think this is probably not true. I think Dave probably can’t have an opinion of how he went out; and I think even if Dave could have that opinion, he doesn’t have a way to get it back to any of us, including Aunt Sally.

So if Aunt Sally is making some sort of benign comment on the tragic comedy of life here, I guess she’s in the clear. But if she’s making a bigger point about Dave I think it’s a harder sell. The problem is that if Dave can in fact post-judge his own demise … than isn’t Dave assessing his own demise with the knowledge of that demise? Maybe even if Dave really loved playing pool (aka THE GREAT GREEN GIGGLER) a lot he might re-calibrate his enjoyment and passion for the game if he knew that a racking triangle was going to someday take him out. Maybe he’d have approached every game with fear and trepidation. He’d hate when he had to rack. He’d start playing less.

If he knew all that maybe he’d change passions, and instead of playing pool, diving with sharks would be his new passion, and then — sort of weirdly — Aunt Sally’s comment would no longer be valid because Dave retroactively and posthumously hated playing pool (a totally safe activity) but loved diving with man-eating sharks (which is sort of like asking to die with sharks).

Please stop attaching sticky labels to things I have to put in the dishwasher

One really dumb word joke that my brain won’t stop making (but which I never say out loud) is around the “novel coronavirus” phrasing. What “novel” actually means in this phrase is that it’s never been “seen” before by humans or our immune systems. It’s hard to know if this is literally true, but it’s at least true enough that science and journalism can say it and they know what it means and also just to be really really clear: I know exactly what it means and why it’s being said that way.

And yet, the way my brain works is that I can’t stop my brain from internally monologuing something like “Novel coronavirus! ha! — guess we should have went with the college essay coronavirus or the short-film coronavirus! We’d be done by now!?” or whatever. I don’t know that my brain working this way is useful or not useful, and I don’t know if I’d want to undo it even if I could. It happens pretty consistently.

I guess this is a variation on the “I just heard three words in a row that reminded me of a song I haven’t heard in 25 years and now I’m going to sing the rest of it in my head” phenomenon, maybe?