Sunday, November 1, 2015

How Unnecessary Were Nineteenth-Century Deaths?

I recently read a New Yorker piece that deconstructed the mythical status of Henry David Thoreau in America. Aside from the fact that Thoreau was a bigger dick than the rocket ship from Austin Powers 2, the thing that stood out most from the article was the causes of death for Thoreau and his brother. His brother John died at age 27. Of tetanus. And old Henry David met his demise at 44, of tuberculosis.

Can you imagine living back then? Stepped on a nail? Dead. Cut yourself shaving? Say hi to St. Peter for me, bro. Stayed out in the cold a little too long? Buh-bye. Drank some dirty water?

Got a little case of the runs?

I once wrote about all the eras I'd like to visit by way of time-travel. After reading about the Brothers Thoreau and their now-avoidable deaths, I can't even fathom living in the nineteenth century. It would take a helluva lot of XXX whiskey to convince me to try my luck back then.

If you want to subscribe to How Blank, just type in your email address on the right side of the page. You'll get a notification every time we post new content.

Follow Francis Tolan on Twitter @frantweet

1 comment:

  1. A don't think clumsy men should ever try their luck visiting the ninetieth century ;)