Why I Don’t Eat The Coleslaw

Header image by Amanda Wood via Flickr

I have been thinking about and reading lately the voluminous works of Ogden Nash, a silly poet who was taken seriously. How he managed to become widely known by working in the disrespected field of light verse is still perplexing. Nash died in 1971. There has been no one like him since.

You hardly hear about Nash today. People have a way of vanishing. Even the most accomplished artists and statesmen can quickly become inconsequential, postmortem.

But during the many hours I’ve spent standing in the supermarket checkout line, one thing I’ve learned that you can stay relevant if you manage to perish under a cloud of suspicion.  If you can’t do that, at least make your exit in some unconventional and potentially memorable way.

It turns out Nash died after eating “improperly prepared” coleslaw, although few details about the incident are available online. The official cause was said to be Crohn’s Disease, aggravated by side dish.

Here is where we might identify some fame-extending mysterious circumstances. How could Nash, a well-known hypochondriac, so casually imbibe a lethal helping of such an unhelpful multi-layered vegetable?   Was he force-fed into oblivion?  Or was it intentional?

In pursuit of the truth,  the public demands a dogged persistence.
But all it will get right now is doggerel.

Did Ogden Nash know?

Did Ogden Nash, with his last breath,
decide to die a funny death?
His final meal – some stringy gabbage
hid the reaper ‘mongst the cabbage.
Did fate, ironic, choose to slay him
with this side of gastro-mayhem?
Or did Nash select this gaffe
to seal his doom with one last laugh?
One last punchline – Woe betide
all those who chews coleslawicide.

Describe the circumstances of your ideal, intriguing death.

92 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Eat The Coleslaw”

  1. Anna died after laughing so hard with her friends that she burst a blood vessel in her brain. She was 97. The source of the laughter was undetermined according to orderlies who came running when they heard the cacophony, though they did find a book, a banana, a plumbing tool, and her friends still giggling with tears in their eyes.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Morning all.

    First – PSA from Mike Pengra — The first broadcast of “Keepers By Request” is Friday, Sept. 4th at noon. We’ll repeat it Sunday, Sept. 6th at 7pm. (I keep repeating this to make sure as many folks as possible see it!)

    Verily Sherrilee passed away quietly sitting on a bench at the State Fair after eating fair food all day and purchasing 125 various kitchen toys at the Grandstand!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And. BiR, if you’re on the trail today, “coleslawicide” has GOT to go in our glossary.

    Dale – if I’d had my morning coffee yet, I would have snorted it up my nose! Excellent!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for this timely topic, Dale, and thanks, too, for whipping up a fun blog when there was none in the hopper.

    Now that I have lived too long to die young, and have outlived the notion that I would never die, I have actually given some thought to my demise. I want it to be relatively pain free and quick; no intrigue anticipated or needed.

    If I don’t outlive everyone I know, I would like a memorial service, but no open coffin with me in make-up and a pink dress.

    To reflect the rest of my life, my memorial service should have a minimum of fanfare, drama and ceremony. I want it to be an occasion for my friends to gather around good food, music, and drink to share whatever memories they have of me. I envision it in a serene and beautiful place, perhaps the Visitor Center of Afton State Park. I’d hope that a bunch of baboons might show up with the eclectic array of food and drink so typical of their other gatherings.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. PSA – Ten Thousand Things has just opened reservations for their fall production of Henry IV. Some free (mostly daytime hours) performances, and some paid.


  6. Renee died while having a hurdling contest with her grandchildren. Had the dogs not tripped her up, she would have cleared that last fence by at least 6 inches.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. Rise and Shine Baboons?
    Rise and unexpectedly Collapse in the garden on a golden October day surrounded by red maple leaves. Ms. Stratton had not been ill.

    Ms. Stratton would like the public to know that her will is held by Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, with all affairs in order. Her underwear was clean at the time of death.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. It’s good to have poetry again, Dale.

    Barbara, age 79, was found on her yoga mat in the Savasana pose, where she was apparently resting resting during her morning exercise routine. (On the desk nearby were her calendar and the phone, where she was once again planning to schedule way too many things into her calendar.)


  9. Ooh, the link “eating improperly prepared coleslaw” has a wealth of his poems at the end. I have a hardcover set of 6 volumes of his verse. (When I move – not imminent – these will be up for grabs. Let me know if any baboon would like them.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lacking a better alternative, I’ll go with the death I once heard described as the notion many folks have of a good death. “Grooms died at 97 right after winning a tennis tournament, having been shot by a jealous cuckolded husband.”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Considering that five baboons have “liked” this, I should probably keep my mouth shut, but I have a real problem with a 97 year old man (or a man of any age, really) finds it admirable or even acceptable to have “cuckolded” another man. Guess I’m old fashioned that way.


      1. It would be even funnier if the obit read”He is survived by his wife, age 25, and their 4 young children” don’t you think?


        1. no i think she’d survive.
          i tell people i have 5 kids two with the first wife and three with this one. thats all im having
          with this one…
          any more will be woith the next one


  11. Thanks Dale, I love Ogden Nash. My grandfather used to read/recite all kinds of poetry to me. I specifically remember James Whitcomb Riley (i.e., Raggedy Man and Little Orphant Annie) and Ogden Nash. Grandpa had a marvelous voice and timing; I don’t remember ever tiring of sitting on his lap with his voice washing over me, even when he ventured into verse beyond my ken.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Good morning. If Donald Trump becomes the GOP candidate for president with Sarah Palin or some one like that as his running mate, I think that would be too much and I would be hit a case of nausea that would kill me.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. “Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

    Dylan Thomas

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clyde, this is a link to a Mycroft Lecture on that poem that you may find interesting. It’s 45 minutes long, but well worth the time, I think.


  14. Perfection Wasted

    And another regrettable thing about death
    is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
    which took a whole life to develop and market —
    the quips, the witticisms, the slant
    adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
    the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
    in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
    their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
    their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
    their response and your performance twinned.
    The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
    in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
    Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
    imitators and descendants aren’t the same

    John Updike

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
      Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
      Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
      Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

      Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
      Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
      Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
      Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

      He was my North, my South, my East and West,
      My working week and my Sunday rest,
      My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
      I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

      The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
      Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
      Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
      For nothing now can ever come to any good.

      W. H. Auden

      Liked by 7 people

  15. Our neighbor’s corgi died after getting his head stuck in a dogfood bag when no one was home and then breaking his neck when he fell down the stairs. Poor Rascal! I hope the food was tasty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For Real? That’s a great story. Poor dog though. And poor family who had to find that!

      The dachshund we had as kids, Missy, had a death that still triggers laughter which brings us to tears. She was a little food hound. She got into the purse of the woman who provided nursing care for my dad. Missy ate 31 No Doze. My brother arrived home to find her running around the living room, bouncing from floor to chair to sofa. She had a heart attack at the vet’s office. Mom called me to tell me. I stood there with the phone in my hand crying because she died, and laughing because it was so like her to do that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It was daughter’s best friend’s dog. Best friend came shrieking into our house in tears, crying “My dog is dead and I can’t find my mom!”. She was 19 at the time. Now they have another corgi, the one who stole the cell phone and dialed 911 from the back yard.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. i got my stomach pumped age two for eating a damn bottle of st joseph baby asperin. i can still remember the taste of the orange flavored medicine both going down and being pumped out.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. What a heartbreak, Renee, did this just happen? I’m still reeling, several years later, after our first Corgi died after getting her head stuck in a jar in the recycling bin.


  16. When my Dad died last fall, Kelly was in rehearsals for a play called ‘The Busy World is Hushed’.
    And then at the graveside the minister said this prayer:

    A Daily Prayer

    May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last.

    Kinda gave me tingles up my spine.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Greetings! Joanne perished while valiantly defending freedom on behalf of the huddled masses. After brandishing nunchuks, kamas, bo staffs and swords, her blinding speed and flawless technique awed the enemy. Eventually, the hundreds of enemy soldiers overcame her whirling weapons and fists and feet of destruction. She died quickly, but not before having the chance to breathlessly bid goodbye to her adoring public, family and friends — leaving them with the ultimate wisdom to comfort their breaking hearts. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I got my black belt 2 years ago. I am currently preparing for my 2nd degree black belt and it’s going well. They know and accept what I can and can’t do, so we’re working with that. Graduation is open and free on Saturday, September 26 at noon at Minneapolis Convention Center.


  18. I just hope I didn’t do something stupid to cause my death. Tractor accidents are far too common among farmers and we just have to shake our heads at what could / should have been avoided.
    Let the toilet seat from the Mir get me.
    Wait, That’s been done.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, we got the discs from Netflix. (rural internet too slow to stream).
          Another good morbid one we just finished and enjoyed is ‘Six Feet Under’.


  19. April 1, 2228

    With no small measure of ceremony, surgeons today removed the last native portion of Bill Nelson, replacing it with a synthetic facsimile.
    “It feels like the end of an era,” remarked Dr. Faubush, one of those attending. And indeed it is.

    In the early decades of the twenty-first century, Mr. Nelson’s knees failed. They were replaced with the best medical science of that era had to offer. Then, in a marvelous quirk of synchronicity, technological advances kept just apace of Mr. Nelson’s subsequent corporal failures. As his joints and organs gave out, new synthetic replacements were substituted. With today’s surgery, no part of Mr. Nelson is original.

    Largely inoffensive in everyday life and enthusiastically cranky in counterpoint, Mr. Nelson leaves behind hundreds of relatives both close and distant. None are particularly saddened.

    “Little by little, his original self has been replaced by rubbery bits. Some of them are over a hundred years old,” remarked a family member.
    “We don’t mind them taking that grotesque, shriveled little toe. It smelled awful!” she added, “but without any of the original Bill Nelson, it somehow feels like his essence is gone.”

    Bill Nelson is still with us, of course, walking and talking and making a nuisance of himself as always, but is it really Bill Nelson? His family, and ethicists for that matter, disagree on the question. But everyone seems to be in agreement that the world has seen quite enough of Bill Nelson. And his essence? Gone to parts unknown.

    Liked by 8 people

  20. One of my great fears about transporting all that food to Medora was that it would somehow spoil and we would poison thirty people. You never can be too careful with coleslaw and potato salad.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. George Sanders was a man who had everything: four wives (including Zsa Zsa Gabor and her sister Magda), seven psychiatrists, more than 90 film appearances, and an Oscar. But all that wasn’t enough to keep him interested. On April 25, 1972, at age 65, Sanders swallowed five bottles of Nembutal in a hotel room in Castelldefels, Spain, and took his final curtain. He left a legacy in the form of his suicide note; ”Dear World,” Sanders wrote in part, ”I am leaving because I am bored” and requested that his tombstone read say “I just got bored”


  22. I’ve been a lifelong “non-believer” ( I hesitate to use the A-word) and have a number of devoted Christians ask me, “Aren’t you afraid of going to hell when you die?” This strikes me as an odd question given that I don’t believe there even is life after death. In the absence of a good answer, I’ve come up with; “I believe in life before death”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. i went to a huminist meeting because i enjoy kurt vonnegut so much and i have never met sch a bunch of whack jobs.
      that is not saying humanists were whack jobs but these 20 or so sure were


  23. My cat brings in at least 10 chipmunks a summer. I have a system for dealing with this. First of all, it’s hard to know if it’s in shock or dead, so I shake it out of the cat’s mouth. Either it just lays there, or it instantly starts darting around the house, cat in pursuit. At that point, I toss the cat outside and chase the little critter until I get him cornered, then plop a small box over it, slide a piece of cardboard under it, then free it to nature.

    I swear, there’s nothing slower or dumber than a chipmunk. Once, it took me two hours to chase one down. They’re darn cute, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s nice you return them to nature and not just give them back to the cat.
      I don’t think I would have the patience to chase it for 2 hours though.


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