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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“If I die before I wake, don’t let it be ironic”

As you may have heard (although probably not, you self-centered college kid) (ed. he doesn’t mean it) the owner of Segway recently died … by driving a Segway off a cliff. All puzzling logistics of this aside, this raises a very serious hazard: dying ironically.

This has been a personal fear of mine for a while now, ranking just above winged spiders, and right below a Michael Bay Oscar. It’s actually one of the most terrifying thoughts ever, for a myriad of reasons. However, before we delve into my determinate diatribe of the subject, I would like to add that this should in no way discourage people from buying Segways, as they are a great source of humor for a lot of people, including me. I fear I would lose any chase to a Segway-mounted security guard, not because the determined guardian is inherently faster, but because I would collapse into slaphappy laughter at about mile two.

But back to ironic deaths. When someone expires in a way that is funny or ironic, that moment of passing instantly supersedes almost every other aspect of his or her life. You could spend your entire life racking up five Nobel prizes, have three philanthropies, a building named in your honor and marry Madonna, but the second you’re killed by a malfunctioning nose-hair clipper, none of that matters.

The man who died this past weekend was actually a very respectable and interesting man. Jimi Heselden was a British millionaire who bought the U.S.-based Segway empire about a year ago. He was already known for extremely large donations to charity. His first company, Hesco Bastion, invented a high-tech replacement for sandbags as bullet cover in Iraq, which is what catapulted him to millionaire status. After purchasing the Segway company, Heselden donated 1,000 Segways to wounded Iraq war veterans. On top of all this, he occupied that most coveted of success stories — the son of a miner who dropped out of school and rose to power through his own volition. And yet now, whenever he is brought up, the first thing that will be heard is some smart-ass remark about Segways. It’s a scary legacy replacer — death by irony. Heselden is not the only famous person to depart to the next universe in such a fashion. Some other prime examples: Steve Irwin and Grizzly Man.

Steve Irwin was one of the most badass men ever. He was essentially the love child of Crocodile Dundee and Barney, and performed feats of insane craziness that would make John McClane cry. After braving and defeating an infinite number of dangerous creatures, he finally succumbed to a stingray, in what is the mortality equivalent of your keys always being in the last place you look. So now, after dodging the South African poison wombat by mere inches, and inserting his entire body into the mouth of India’s über-death serpent, he is remembered almost solely for that one unfortunate encounter with a plain ol’ stingray.

Another great example is Timothy Treadwell, a.k.a. Grizzly Man. This is the man who for many years lived among grizzly bears in the state of Alaska, thus proving that man and bear could co-exist in peace, and paving the way for future Man-Bear negotiations. That was, however, until the one summer in Alaska when he and his girlfriend were mauled to death by grizzly bears. You could argue that this, and Steve Irwin’s death, were less ironic and more inevitable, given the circumstances. However, if you did this, I would be out two paragraphs.

The worst part of it all is that by writing this article, I have exposed myself to this very terrible situation. You see, if I die soon after writing an article about ironic deaths, my death would be, in fact, ironic. As a hobbledehoy, the chances are high, but this simply can’t be allowed to happen. So I implore everyone out there — if I see you today or tomorrow, and you have been meticulously planning to kill me for a while, please hold off for another week or two. I realize that you have potentially put a lot of time and planning into the plot, but if you waited just a little longer, I would be freed of the sphere of ironic death.

Also, by that time I could buy a Segway to escape. As long as there are no cliffs nearby and I don’t own the company. See what I mean? Sorry Jimi Heselden.

— Johnny McKay is a media arts senior. He can be reached at


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