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Grave-ly funny: hilarious obituaries

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Our attention has often drifted to the morbid here at the floss, from posts about crazy gravestones to unusual ways to dispose of your body once you're done using it. But there's another way that people buck the norm on their way out death's door: their obituaries. Forget bangs and whimpers -- these folks ended with a chuckle. Here are (excerpts from) some of our favorite out-of-the-ordinary obits.

"He never peed in the shower ... on purpose"

Frederic Arthur (Fred) Clark, who had tired of reading obituaries noting other's courageous battles with this or that disease, wanted it known that he lost his battle as a result of an automobile accident on June 18, 2006. True to Fred's personal style, his final hours were spent joking with medical personnel while he whimpered, cussed, begged for narcotics and bargained with God to look over his wife and kids. During his life he excelled at mediocrity. He loved to hear and tell jokes, especially short ones due to his limited attention span.

When his family was asked what they remembered about Fred, they fondly recalled how Fred never peed in the shower - on purpose. He died at MCV Hospital and sadly was deprived of his final wish which was to be run over by a beer truck on the way to the liquor store to buy booze for a double date to include his wife, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to crash an ACLU cocktail party. In lieu of flowers, Fred asks that you make a sizable purchase at your local ABC store or Virginia winery (please, nothing French - the *censored*) and get rip roaring drunk at home with someone you love or hope to make love to. Additionally, all of Fred's friend (sic) will be asked to gather in a phone booth, to be designated in the future, to have a drink and wonder, "Fred who?"

"He was the drunkest man in the Coach and Horses"

GRAHAM MASON, the journalist who has died aged 59, was in the 1980s the drunkest man in the Coach and Horses, the pub in Soho where, in the half century after the Second World War, a tragicomedy was played out nightly by its regulars. Unlike his friend Jeffrey Bernard, though, Graham Mason did not make himself the hero of his own tragedy. His speciality was the extreme. In one drinking binge he went for nine days without food. At the height of his consumption, before he was frightened by epileptic fits into cutting back, he was managing two bottles of vodka a day. His face became in his own description that of a "rotten choirboy". At lunchtime he would walk through the door of the Coach and Horses still trembling with hangover, his nose and ears blue whatever the weather. On one cold day he complained of the noise that the snow made as it landed on his bald head.

His practice of "boozer's economics" meant dressing in the shabbiest of clothes, many of them inherited from the late husband of the woman with whom he lived. He wore a threadbare duffel coat with broken toggles. One day it was inexplicably stolen from the pub coathook. Graham Mason cooked Mediterranean food well, liked Piero della Francesca and Fidelio, choral evensong on the Third Programme and fireworks. After Marsh Dunbar's death in 2001, with almost all his friends dead, he sat imprisoned by emphysema in his flat, with a cylinder of oxygen by his armchair and bottles of white wine by his elbow, looking out over the Thames, still very angry.

"Many of his childhood friends who weren't killed or maimed in various wars became petty criminals, prostitutes, and/or Republicans"

Louis J. Casimir Jr. bought the farm Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004, having lived more than twice as long as he had expected and probably three or four times as long as he deserved. Although he was born into an impecunious family, in a backward and benighted part of the country at the beginning of the Great Depression, he never in his life suffered any real hardships. Many of his childhood friends who weren't killed or maimed in various wars became petty criminals, prostitutes, and/or Republicans. Lou was a daredevil: his last words were "Watch this!"

Witty Nicknames

Thanks to ohdittybop for spotting this.

WALDO presumed dead

This appeared in Mad awhile back:
Waldo, 36, is missing and presumed dead. "We Gave up looking for him years ago." Said a spokesman for a local search team. "In the past we'd scour the earth, buy every time we'd find him he'd take off again. Finally, we put his picture on a mild carton and said the hell with it." Other reactions were mixed." It was a case of sibling rivalry," said Carmen Sandiego a half-sister. "Waldo tried to outdo me by hiding in shopping malls and outdoor rock concerts. These had no educational value, so it's no wonder people stopped caring." "The little deadbeat owed us for 20,000 tasseled caps, said a spokesman for the Acme Headgear Co. "Now we're filing for bankruptcy, thanks to him." A memorial service for Waldo will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at an unspecified location. Those wishing to attend will have to find it for themselves.

Pluto, 1930-2006

Devoted husband, father and ice dwarf. May you forever rest in the icy blackness of the Kuiper Belt. Link.

"An extravagant host of homosexual orgies"

von-bismarck-404_672370c.jpgCount Gottfried von Bismarck, who died on July 2, 2007, aged 44, was a louche German aristocrat with a multi-faceted history as a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyant waster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies. When not clad in the lederhosen of his homeland, he cultivated an air of sophisticated complexity by appearing in women's clothes, set off by lipstick and fishnet stockings. Never concealing his homosexuality, von Bismarck continued to appear in public in various eccentric items of attire, including tall hats atop his bald Mekon-like head. At parties he would appear in exotic designer frock coats with matching trousers and emblazoned with enormous logos. Flitting from table to table at fashionable London nightclubs, he was said to be as comfortable among wealthy Eurotrash as he was on formal occasions calling for black tie.

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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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