"...Some get the awful, awful diseases,
"Some get the knife, some get the gun,
"And some get to die in their sleep,
"At the age of a hundred-and-one."
-- Warren Zevon, "Life'll Kill Ya," Life'll Kill Ya, 2000
You may have seen the story about the unfortunate woman from Michigan who died in the Florida Keys the other day when she was out boating with her family and an eagle ray jumped out of the water, hitting her in the face and killing both the woman and the ray. It's like a lot of the crazy ways that people get killed when they're unlucky enough to be in just the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. In this case, it was a matter of physics: A person moving through the water at 25 miles per hour and having her face suddenly come into contact with a 75 pound object is going to die immediately from blunt force trauma to her head. Judy Kay Zagorski, 55, had no chance, because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Multiple skull fractures, brain injury, death. Or as we said back in my military days: "S.O.L. -- Shit Outta Luck."
And even if the ray had been slightly lower and hit her in the chest instead of the head, she still probably would have been killed, since the blunt trauma would likely have shattered her rib cage and cause cardiac arrest. When you hit an object of that mass at that velocity, there are no good outcomes. Sometimes, you're just screwed, no matter what you do.
We all carry within ourselves the seeds of our own destruction. Most of us will die from heart disease, cancer, pneumonia, or various other organ malfunctions, if accidents or homicide don't get us first. We are all mortal, and our genetic makeup and our lifestyle choices will probably determine the cause of our eventual demise. If you're fortunate, you'll go fast. If not, you'll linger, and you'll envy the people like Ms. Zagorski who check out quickly.
In Warren's case, he got one of the "awful, awful diseases": Mesothelioma. He died on September 7, 2003. But I commend his music to you, my friends. He's gone, but the music lives on. And you could listen to a whole lot worse. If you're unfamiliar with his work, start with this: Genius. If you like it, consider going more in-depth. I have to say, I liked his version of "Raspberry Beret" (with the Hindu Love Gods) even better than Prince's. But that's just me; you'll have to make up your own mind about that.