|The following is an article from Bathroom Readers' Institute 13th edition Uncle John's All-Purpose Extra Strength Bathroom Reader.
You can't help laughing at some of life's - and death's - ironies ... as long as they happen to someone else. These stories speak for themselves.
FELIX POWELL, music composer
Story: Powell, then a British staff sargeant, wrote the music for "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile" in 1915 and entered it in a World War I competition for best morale-building song. The ditty won first prize and has been called "perhaps the most optimistic song ever written."
Final Irony: Powell committed suicide in 1942.
NIC MARCURA, a Yugoslavian farmer
Story: Sensing that his own end was near, Marcura set to work digging his own grave.
Final Irony: According to news reports, "in a sudden cloudburst, water began to fill up the hole. Marcura tried to bail it out with a bucket, slipped in and drowned."
ALBEN BARKLEY, former U.S. vice president
Story: On April 30, 1956, Barkley delivered a speech at a mock political convention at Washington and Lee University.
Final Irony: Moments after declaring to his audience, "I would rather sit at the feet of the Lord than dwell in the house of the mighty," Barkley keeled over and died.
FRIEDRICH RIESFELDT, a zookeeper in Paderborn, Germany
Story: When his elephant Stefan became constipated, Riesfeldt fed it 22 doses of animal laxative ... and when that didn't work, fed it more than a bushel of high-fiber berries, figs, and prunes. Still no luck.
Final Irony: The frustrated zookeeper then gave Stefan an olive-oil enema. That did it. According to one account, the elephant suddently released approximately 200 pounds of manure, killing Riesfeldt. "The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground, where he struck his head on a rock and lay unconscious as the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on top of him," police detective Erik Dern explained. "With no one there to help him, he lay under all that dung for at least an hour and suffocated." (Although this story was widely reported in the press, it may just be an urban legend. What makes it so questionable? Sounds like a lot of dung.)
GEORGE STORY, Life magazine's "Life Baby"
Story: In 1936, the premiere issue of Life magazine featured a picture of newborn baby George Story. The headline: "Life Begins." Over the years, the magazine periodically updated readers on the progress of Story's life as he married twice, had children, and retired.
Final Irony: Less than a week after Life announced it was folding, Story died from heart failure. The final issue of Life featured one last article on Story. The headline: "A Life Ends."
MYRA DAVIS, Janet Leigh's body double in the film Psycho
Story: Davis was Leigh's stand-in, she was one of several people who provided the voice of Norman Bates's mother, and it was her hand that was seen in the famous shower scene in which Leigh's character is stabbed to death.
Final Irony: On July 3, 1988, Davis was found strangled in her Los Angeles home, murdered by a 31-year-old "caretaker and handyman" ... just like the character portrayed by Anthony Perkins in Psycho.
BOBBY LEACH, a professional daredevil
Story: In 1911, Leach, who made his living risking his life, went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. He survived the attempt.
Final Irony: Fifteen years later, in 1926, Leach slipped on an orange peel ... and died from injuries sustained in the fall.
JOHANN UNDERWALD, a Swiss mathematician
Story: Underwald, one of the brightest stars in his field, was described by his peers as "the next Albert Einstein."
Final Irony: Underwald died in October 1999. Cause of death: mathematical error - Underwald "made a 250-foot bungee jump with a 300-foot bungee cord, and died immediately on impact."