Several news stories have flooded the Internet and television over the course of the past week. It's almost impossible to see the depressing coverage of how humanity treats each other without feeling a small pang of disgust.
The Beginning and the End!
To combat misanthropy the Internet has given birth to several websites that, at least momentarily, offer a chance at a giggle or a feeling of understanding. This is where I live. I thrive on the ridiculous and the comedic. This isn't to say, however, that I still don't follow the news. I do. My mind is more preoccupied with news of the theoretical and the tales of stupidity. This doesn't seem to be too far off from the popular culture of America today. Thousands of viewers tune in to the "reality" television and flock to entertainment news. This can be almost assuredly attributed to the need to combat the depression of the normal news we see covered daily. Some more startling stories, however, have slipped through the cracks that may cause humanity to rethink their need for mindless entertainment in whatever form they seek. These are true stories. These are real people. Life has never seemed more ridiculous...
Life (and/or Death) on the Farm
Some of you may remember a few years ago (2004) when a Romanian woman was knocked unconscious and eaten by her hogs. This is a startling event that can easily shock and drive interest through the facts that are sure to come. The problem, however, is that the facts never really came. Since 2004 there hasn't been a real follow up on the story and in the original report they never clarified if the woman survived her encounter. That seems like an awfully big oversight. Part of her face and ear were missing, gruesome details that the report actually did include, but no information was ever given in the state of the woman in question. Either way, this seems like the kind of story that would cause farmers to be slightly more cautious when dealing with large carnivorous animals.
On September 26th (2012 this time), a 70 year old man left his home in the early morning to feed his hogs. It wasn't until several hours later that a family member decided to check on Farmer Garner because he hadn't returned. Upon arriving at the enclosure, the family member discovered old Farmer Garner's dentures stuck in the mud.
A few steps in to the pen, you can easily see some body parts strewn on the ground and the rest had been completely devoured. The pigs, all weighing in at about 700 pounds, had found their most important meal of the day. Information on how exactly Mr. Garner died is still to be discovered, but the local police aren't ruling out a heart attack as the actual culprit:
"There are several scenarios being investigated, including that Mr. Garner had a health event, such as a heart attack, which then put him in a position where the hogs could consume him. Another scenario being investigated is that given the age and health of Mr. Garner, that one or more of the hogs knocked Mr. Garner to the ground, whereupon that hogs killed and consumed him."
I've never actually considered that my end would come at the hands of swine. That's actually a lie. I'm sure that right now, somewhere in my body, the bacon I've consumed and the hot dogs I've eaten are all inevitably plotting my downfall. Hopefully, for Farmer Garner, his end was quick. This is a startling reminder of how silly life and death can be. I'm sure when Mr. Garner left his house in the morning he never expected to be served as breakfast. Then again, I don't think many of his hogs thought the same thing on any other day.
Have a Drink in Me
Another story from a couple of years ago (I'm not going to check every year I throw out there) centered on a woman charged with the negligent homicide of her husband. A heinous crime to almost anyone, this case caught my attention for another reason. The woman in question murdered her husband by pouring alcohol into his rectum because a recent surgery had made it impossible for him to handle the intense sensation of alcohol in his throat. Being a kind and loving wife, she helped the poor wino by having him go bottoms up (charges were later dropped).
Another example of a cautionary tale for any fledgling alcoholic or fraternity pledge.
On September 22nd (2012 again!), a young man was delivered to the emergency room just after midnight with a blood alcohol content of 0.448 (for those that care, this is nearly six times what qualifies as drunk driving in Tennessee). Upon further inspection, doctors realized that Xander had rectal injuries and feared that he had been sodomized. The truth, however, came out through an interview with a fellow fraternity member:
"It is believed that members of the fraternity were utilizing rubber tubing inserted into their rectums as a conduit for alcohol."
The University's police report added that, "He also had no recollection of losing control of his bowels and defecating on himself."
Xander survived the incident and is probably living an alcohol-free life at the moment. The embarrassment will eventually fade and life will continue to grow. His story remains relevant in part because of the ridiculousness of the situation.
Life doesn't stand still. Things will always change. In breaking from the mundane, some depressing stories will always take the stage. The only real issue is that this causes our views to become clouded by negativity . With the right point of view, life will never be as depressing as it seems. A glance at these stories of death and hospitalization conveys nothing more than a look at the bleak. By thinking and understanding the situations we can see some of the silliness and the irony that humanity imposes in itself. The sadness will never go away, but the mood can be altered to address the growing misanthropic views that are sometimes overpowering. Life isn't dull. Maybe that is the reason for the rise in reality television. Reality is just as entertaining as fiction.