“Old man, turned 59, he bought a motorcycle, died the next day…”
This post isn’t meant to incite a debate as to whether Alanis Morissette truly did ruin the definition of “irony” for Generation Y. In fact, nothing I write here is actually meant to start any type of debates, because to ignite controversy you need more than six people to actually care what you have to say. But that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway, we all remember the iconic first line in Morissette’s groundbreaking 1996 song, Ironic — “Old man, turned 98, he won the lottery, died the next day.”
The irony in this, naturally, is attributed to the fact that it took 98 years for this man to have something extraordinary happen to him, and then had less than 24 hours to enjoy it. Whether that’s true irony or not is irrelevant. The bottom line is that it’s shit luck.
Well, something kind of similar happened a few weeks ago.
Barry Strang, of Casper, Wyoming, desperately wanted a motorcycle. So much so that he begged his wife every day for 38 years to convince her to let him get one, and even visited his local Harley Davidson shop every week. Each time, however, she refused, citing the extreme dangers associated with such bikes.
Finally, at the age of 59, she conceded. He got a motorcycle. What amazes me about that is how loyal he clearly was to his life. I would venture to guess that if most men wanted something that badly, they would purchase it without their significant other’s permission. Heck, He sailed right through his mid-life crisis twenty years earlier and still didn’t buy one.
But like a true and dedicated husband, he let it be a communal decision. Good for him.
Unfortunately, the purchase of the motorcycle turned out to be a death sentence. After riding for just three miles, Strang lost control of the vehicle and struck a tractor-trailer. And that was all she wrote.
And since we live in an age where it’s not just teenagers who like to humble brag on social media, Strang managed to post a photo of his new motorcycle on Facebook in the short time between the purchase and the final joy ride. The death was so sudden that congratulatory comments were still streaming in hours after.
Sorry, I couldn’t help it.
By the way, anytime I see that video, it always gives me an urge to embark on a road trip through the Swiss Alps.
But anyway, this death is obviously a lot different from the “old man who turned 98.” In the old man’s case, he had no control over his flight’s destiny (Unless he willingly boarded a plane piloted by Sum Ting Wong.) In Mr. Strang’s case, his dream purchase involved a high-speed vehicle that kills more than 4,000 people a year. Factor in that he’s 59-years-old and there you go.
If he had been desiring one for 38 years, it means he was 21 when he first received his speed bike itch. One thinks that Strang may have handled that bike as if he was still in fact a 21-year-old, and likely miscalculated the evolution (or deevolution) of his reflexes over the course of the next three decades.
Sometimes you just can’t make this shit up. It’s never becoming to make light of somebody’s death, but when the actual description of how you died is unique and significant enough to be picked up by a pop-culture blog, then you know you were just meant to die at that exact moment in time and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it.
I didn’t even need to come up with a clever or witty title to this blog post. Simply just saying exactly what happened speaks for itself.
But hey, as the article said, at least Barry Strang died doing something that he had been wanting to do ever since he was legally old enough imbibe alcohol. And that’s not something that many people get to say.
It’s also why I’ve become motivated to alter my goals to much safer, harmless activities. Like rolling in a pile of feathers. Having a pillow fight. Or petting a baby squirrel.
Basically, things that cannot kill you.
Oh, and I forgot cliff jumping. Definitely cliff jumping.