The Cheerful Subject of Death

There is something strange with death, the dead and the dying, and after a very strange couple of weeks, it has now officially pissed me off.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is nothing new in the Piss-Off-Dan-Department, and quite often narks me to the back teeth, but it seems to have gotten to a point where I have to rant or I might implode and take three-quarters of the world with me.

Yes, scary fallout from my innards becoming outards.

Week before last, Jaysen and myself trundled off into Jolly Old London, and hit the British Museum together* and without a care in the world, we set to wandering the halls, exhibits and corridors, looking at everything from Ancient Egypt, Roman & Greece, to a clock exhibit (and most of the clocks were wrong... Sorry, OCD moment) and everything in between. Considering it was a Sunday - and we got there ten minutes before it opened - it was quite busy, but not unbearably-so.

We moved through in no particular order, knowing we wanted to see a few different things, but in no hurry. Lots of people were moving through the exhibits, only glancing at most things, but we took our time. Granted, we tended to skip most things that were NOT in short supply - Pots & Urns - but most things we looked at.

At one point, the people around us seemed to get more condensed, and after shuffling at a snails pace, we discovered the reason for the slowing was The Lindow Man. Long story short - in the first century, he was stuffed in a peat bog, and the conditions there mummified him.

And the crowds were gathered, peering in, staring, taking photos and really taking their time.

A little strange, but maybe it was a group that were studying it or whatever... And so we moved on.

Upon reaching Ancient Egypt, most of the areas were clearish and free-flowing. Up to a point. You guessed it, that point where people were pooling and gathering was looking at those that had been mummified thousands of years ago. Men Mummies, Women Mummies, Child Mummies - the crowds all around were phenomenal. I honestly couldn't work it out. Yes, don't get me wrong, it is very interesting, it's an ancient civilisation, but people just wanted to stop and stare, knowing that was a dead person they were examining.

Once past the mummies - the sarcophagi for example, the grave goods (including Mummified Cats, Eels, Crocodiles, Hawks, Snakes and so on) the crowds once again vanished.

Some parts of the museum were pretty much silent, and a lot of the Ancient Greek areas were almost deserted.

Seeing people flock around like vultures actually got me quite pissed off. With everything going on in the world, it seems that people are always attracted to the morbid things in life. Or death, as the case may be.

Excluding fictional stuff, the TV is often covering all the horrific stuff that goes on in the world in great detail - if you remember when Gahdaffi was caught and killed, his body was all over the TV during dinnertime programs. But people watched almost transfixed.

Various times in the past, I've been in a car, and the traffic slows down, you hear sirens, see flashing blue lights, and think something bad must have happened - only to find the accident is on the other side of the road, and idiot rubberneckers are slowing down on THIS side of the road to get a good look at what has happened.

It's morbid, it's gross, stop it.

Today, Kellie and I popped into town to grab a few bits for her evening out when a paramedic car went past through the pedestrian zone. After a bit, we could see where it was going, because people all over town had stopped and were just watching and staring - not going about their business as they should have been doing.

As someone that has experienced the effects of death first-hand, the last thing you want during that most traumatic time is complete strangers staring and watching you, your loved ones, your raw grief - staring as though it is just something on a reality TV show.

Real Life is NOT a TV show. You don't get to stare and gawp at someone in a desperate time - be it someone receiving chest compressions in a shopping centre, someone crying in a hospital waiting room, or the emergency services pulling people from a car accident.

When did death become a form of entertainment? All I can think of, is the world slowing drifting to produce TV Shows like The Running Man, The Hunger Games, Death Race - movies portraying game shows wherein the losers die, usually in some awful way. OK, yes, these are just movies, but it's like the world is becoming desensitised to the suffering of others.

And it needs to stop. If death fascinates you that much, I suggest you talk to someone that has to deal with it on a daily basis. Buy someone in the emergency services a pint and ask them what it is REALLY like...

*No, we're not international Art Thieves or anything, you know what I mean.

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3 Responses to “The Cheerful Subject of Death”

Unknown said...

What we all need to do is drive a Google car and take pics of everything to review later at our leisure or upload to facebook/ etc. Lots of happy memories for rubberneckers and free-flowing traffic (in as much as traffic flows freely on British roads). Problem solved, happy days! :-)

Tattooed Mummy said...

we often obsess over things we fear - it can be a way to deal with a difficult subject. I am fascinated with the ideas many peoples had (and still have) of an afterlife, I Don't think of it as morbid, it's the unknown and human nature makes us hate not knowing and want to discover, it's what separates us. With regard to actual real and private moments around death however, of course I wouldn't gawp. Horrible.

PS you have horrible captcha thingys on - no one likes them, they restrict comments - just a hint

debbie said...

I think its awful what people do, Yes I have been to the Museum and i cant stand the mummies cause i know there dead people, Death does scare me sometimes as i know many who have died but never witnessed it, maybe some of the illness various relatives. I to hate it when Nosy sods look at the traffic accident,, But what has got me more than anything ever is when my son was in the Ambulance at our local being set up to be transported to london, when a Hospital VISITOR opened the ambulance door and asked him to move the ambulance out of the Loading bay he needed to get his mum in the car, That Paramedic when mental,, I would never ever consider opening a ambulance door,,
it was horrid,