There’s an ironic obituary in the paper today. Jimi Heselden, 62, a businessman who bought the company that makes the Segway scooter, died from a fall off a cliff in northern England, apparently while riding one of the vehicles on his estate. Local media reports said he was to believed to have lost control of his scooter Sunday on a wooded path that ran perilously close to a 30-foot drop into the River Wharfe.
Heselden was a coal miner who lost his job in widespread mine closures in the mid-1980s. He formed Hesco Bastion, a company that manufactures protective barriers that offer better protection against explosions than sandbags. They’ve been widely used by military all over the world since the first Gulf War. Perhaps he could have used some of those barriers along the cliff-side path on his estate.
There’s a great article at the Term Life Insurance website titled “Nine Hilarious Ironic Deaths” which really makes you think. Here are three of the ironic deaths described in the article:
Who: Felix Powell, songwriter and Staff Sergeant in the Royal Army.
How He Died: He shot himself in the heart using his duty rifle while wearing his uniform.
What Made It Ironic: Powell wrote the music behind the famous marching song, “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile.” His song became world-famous and was noted as “perhaps the most optimistic song ever written.”
Powell’s suicide just goes to show that even the most upbeat people among us can be cauldrons of boiling existential angst. Decent, caring people will find that deeply depressing. Thankfully, this is the Internet, and none of those people spend any time here.
Who: Jim Fixx was a major health nut, and author of the 1977 bestseller “The Complete Book of Running.” He was a member of Mensa, wrote a book of puzzles for geniuses, and was generally the most infuriatingly perfect person in the public spotlight. When he died, stand-up comedians everywhere rejoiced at having a year’s worth of material handed to them on a silver platter.
How He Died: A heart attack, while running. It was like a gift from God.
Why It’s Ironic: Fixx made a fortune convincing people that running could vastly extend the human lifespan, then he died while running. Take THAT, healthy people. Your puny exercise can’t stave off death’s sociopathic advances any better than our tactic of eating nachos in the bath tub and weeping silently.
Who: Jerome Rodale, one of the founders of the organic food revolution. Rodale was a ‘back to the earth’ naturalist hippy who supported clean living without the use of stimulants like sugar or caffeine. He would not have approved of eating Hot Pockets shirtless while watching Animaniacs re-runs.
How He Died: Heart attack at 72, right after an interview on the Dick Cavett show.
Why It’s Ironic: Rodale was a huge advocate for the life-extending benefits of a clean, organic lifestyle. Immediately before his death, during the interview, he told Cavett that, “I’m going to live to be 100, unless I’m run down by some sugar-crazed taxi driver.”
In the world of ironic living and dying, you can’t make this stuff up.
Click here to read about all nine ironic deaths.