How not to check out

By John Toth

It’s been going through my mind as I approach another birthday ... how will it all end?

Not that I want it to end. There are too many exciting things ahead. Like what will Google think of next? And, how many grandkids will I wind up with? Not exactly in that order, but I already typed it.
Or, what will I get for my birthday?

I don’t want much. We’ll probably all go out to eat, and I’ll pick up the tab.

My daughter always surprises me with a special present, as she already did this time ... two weeks early.

But it’s not my birthday yet. Don’t rush it. I am still a year younger than I will be in two weeks.

But I can’t wait, dad. You’ll love it. It’s something you always wanted.

And she is right every time.

I’m not saying that I consider myself old, although I am much older than I used to be 30 years ago ... and much wiser, I’d like to think.

If I knew back then what I know now, I would have been winning the lotto jackpot each week for the last 30 years.

But seriously, it has probably occurred to many of us slightly over 49 how we will be checking out ... much, much later, we hope.

There are ways, however, that I hope I can avoid.

I definitely don’t want to check out like Eddie Archbold, who passed away after feeling sick while trying to win a rare snake at Ben Siegel reptiles in Deerfield Beach, FL.

It was a roach-eating contest. He won the contest and an $850 ivory ball python. Then he left the store and collapsed.

I won’t go into the details why he died, although it was an interesting read, but enough said that this is probably one of the worst ways to depart.

Action-adventure movies save this method for the super evil guy wearing a brown shirt and a thin mustache who has almost killed the star a few times, but luckily the star was smarter and escaped.

Then the star discovered how to take the brown shirt out of action (usually near or at the end), and that’s when you see the gross way the evil one dies, which Archbold re-enacted. You get the picture.

I also don’t want to check out in a Wal-Mart parking lot with an “associate” choking me. That’s how an alleged shoplifter died after being subdued by two store workers. They call them associates.

The man took two DVD players from a Wal-Mart in suburban Lithonia, Ga., and was chased down in the parking lot. The preliminary investigation indicated that the victim was placed in a chokehold by the “associate” security officer.

The Wal-Mart statement indicated that the associate, who “may have put the choke hold on the man, is no longer employed by Wal-Mart.”

I would have hated to be this guy’s boss and be given the task of canning him.

How come you’re firing me? Well, you sort of killed a guy today.

It could be an awkward few minutes. I’d stay a considerable distance away from this associate and probably make sure there is at least a desk between us.

I definitely don’t want to check out like Jennifer Strange, 28, of Sacramento, Calif., who had a different kind of drinking problem.

She tried to win a Nintendo Wii by drinking more water than the other contestants at a radio station that decided to see if people can drown from the inside out. She did.

She won the Wii and died of water intoxication, which is almost as bad as choking on bugs.

Here are some more ways we probably don’t want to check out:

• In 2005, a 28-year-old Korean video game lover died at an internet cafe after playing Starcraft for almost 50 hours straight. Video games are not worth dying for.

• In 1996, a person was killed when he entered the cage of a tiger at a zoological garden in Calcutta, India. He entered the cage to put a marigold garland around the tiger’s neck. They must have some strong hallucigens in India.

• In 1277, Pope John XXI was killed after his scientific laboratory collapsed on him! So much for early-day science.

Needless to say ... OK, I won’t say it, since it’s needless.

Back to needed.

Yes, dear readers, Thank you for all of the birthday wishes you would have sent me had I printed the date.

I decided not to because this way, I will stay in your mind forever young.

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