The world is a hell of a dangerous place, isn’t it? Terrorism, airplane crashes, gangs, robbers. Lions. Of course, if you just live a conventional, calm life, you can avoid getting maimed or killed in some tragic calamity. Play it safe, don’t take unnecessary risks, get married to a nice girl or guy, work out regularly, pop out a few kids and spend the most dangerous times of the day inside watching TV or playing Yahtzee. Doesn’t sound so hard to have an enjoyable, safe life, does it?
Except that, believe it or not, all of those activities from getting married to relaxing on the couch… can straight up murder your safety seeking self.
I’m not trying to frighten you (OK, I am trying to frighten you). What I am trying to do is convince you to get out and live your life and have a hell of a good time, because even when you play the game as safe as you can, you’re still running a great risk of dying in some pretty horrifying and, frankly, embarrassing ways.
In the words of Redd Foxx, “All those health nuts are going to feel pretty stupid when they’re lying in bed and dying of nothing.” While being embarrassed may not be foremost on your mind when contemplating your passing, when you are passing, you’re probably not going to regret watching fewer sitcoms. But you might regret not having made it to the Serengeti.
In this article I will describe to you five common, conventional activities that – believe it or not – can very easily end up with your worm eaten corpse cooling in a coffin. Most of these activities are things you’re planning on doing at some point in your life. Some are things you’re already doing or have done. All of them are things you’d consider to be completely safe.
And, quite frankly, if you’re careful you don’t have to die from any of these causes. Pick your spouse well! Don’t raise a murdering child! Don’t sit yourself to death (didn’t see that one coming, did you?)! And for goodness sake, get out and live. No matter how safe you try to be, I guarantee that one day you will die.
Getting married is pretty dangerous, and not just financially (as the old jokes go). Being married means that you allow someone to be closer to you than anyone else and, as the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Picking the right spouse is about more than picking a good partner; it’s about finding someone that you really connect with. Someone who you can imagine spending every day with for the rest of your life. It’s about finding someone who won’t murder you in cold blood at the first opportunity.
Yeah you read that right. A great deal of murderin’ is going down between spouses. Most murder victims (80 percent) are men. Around 10 percent of those were killed by their wives. Of the remaining 20 percent of murder victims, which grade school math explains are females, half of them were slain to death by their husbands. That’s about 2,700 people a year killed by their spouses – a whole lot more than are killed by serial killers. I guess the answer is to marry a serial murderer.
So you got married and managed to survive the horrific terror of being married. Somehow, by the skin of your teeth, you managed to get knocked up and have kids without being stabbed, shot, or poisoned by your partner. Congratulations! But now you better run and hide, or at least make sure to treat your babies right because you have a not insignificant chance of being murdered to death by your kids.
Well it turns out that having kids means accepting a one in a million chance of getting killed by those kids. If that sounds like it’s not that big a deal, understand it’s arrived at because a kid (or kids) murders a parent in the United States almost every single day. Lightning strikes, sharks, bears – all kill with less frequency. So the solution here, it would seem, is to make sure your child is an electric shark bear?
OK, it’s not actually television that is dangerous to you. But watching it is. Why? Because when you’re sitting around watching TV you’re not doing anything else. You may not know this, but as you sit doing nothing your body adjusts to your inactivity by basically shutting down processes – sort of like a computer going into sleep mode. If you’ve sat for four hours you’ve nearly entirely stopped burning calories and, as we all know, getting fatter makes you less healthy. But the degree to which inactivity makes you less healthy is staggering.
According to an Australian survey, if you sit and watch four hours of TV a day, you’re increasing your risk of death from all causes by 46 percent. But that’s small in comparison to the whopping 80 percent greater chance you have of dying from cardiovascular disease. Yup, doing nothing is bad for your heart. Your heart was meant to pump, dammit, and the solution to this problem is as clear as day: Get out of the house!
Talking While Driving
By now you should already know that talking on your cell phone is not only illegal but dangerous. You should definitely know that texting and driving is about as smart as reading a novel while piloting a passenger jet. Now it’s obvious why texting is so dangerous: It takes one of your hands and both of your eyeballs. I’m no driving expert, but I have found that hands and eyeballs are critical to maintaining control over a motor vehicle. But why should talking on the phone be any more distracting than just having an interesting conversation? Well, surprise, surprise, it’s not.
Yeah you read that right, and if you think about it it shouldn’t be so shocking. When you’re distracted you react slower, and cars go bloody fast. Humans weren’t designed to move any faster than we can run, and even bicycles are many times faster than that. Imagine how much trouble you could get into if you were running and texting, even if you weren’t in traffic.
Tripping, running into a wall or a tree – hell, I’ve walked into glass doors and seen them coming. Now just multiply the speed by ten or twenty times and you understand why increasing your reaction time is a big problem. There have been many studies on the subject and most of them find that just talking about something you find interesting makes you more prone to accidents. In other words, having a stimulating passenger can actually kill you!
For all those of you out there who are already calling bullshit, just hang in there, because not only is this true, it is most true when you’re supposed to drink as much water as you can. Believe it or not, the most innocuous substance in the world next to a Jewish grandmother’s kasha varniskes can actually kill you.
As bizarre as this sounds to the uninitiated, there is such a thing as too much water. You could say that it’s possible to drown on dry land, but the reality is just a bit worse than that. The good news is that it almost never happens under normal circumstances. The bad news is that it happens right when you need that water bad.
Water poisoning, AKA hyponatremia, is a dangerous dilution of your body’s electrolytes that happens when you drink way too much water. You may know electrolytes as that stuff they say is in powerade, gatorade and every other sports drink. If you’ve taken a mid-level biology or sports medicine class then you should know electrolytes by another name: Salt. Plain old, everyday salt.
And your blood? That’s mostly water. The proper balance of salt and water is necessary for your neurons to do their daily electrochemical business. Too much water and not enough salt and your nerves can’t fire from one to the other. And just what do nerves control in your body? Oh, just little things like everything. When they stop working you stop living.
The people that are most at risk for hypontremia are people who are out in the hot sun or exercising hard. In other words, people who need to drink a lot of water. Now, it takes a whole hell of a lot of water to disrupt your brain functions and murder your ass, but you won’t know it’s happening.
The best way to prevent water poisoning is to drink the amount of water you feel you need, but don’t do it too fast. If you lose a whole lot of sweat and try to replenish quickly with plain water and get a headache, nausea, fatigue, or confusion, then for the love of god, pee. Pee and keep on peeing and take a diuretic to help you pee some more!