I Am Only Going Into Another Room
April 22, 2013 1:45 PM   Subscribe

"101 ways to say died: in this project, I will be cataloging all the synonyms for "died" that appear in early American epitaphs." Courtesy of Vast Public Indifference: history, grad school, and gravestones.

Bonus content from the same blog: Muppet or 18th century Connecticutian?
posted by MartinWisse (50 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Wonderful! And fantastic blog, too.
posted by Miko at 1:47 PM on April 22, 2013

And a 101 metal songs are born.
posted by Corduroy at 1:51 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

This becomes somewhat less morbid if you prepend each one with "This parrot..."
posted by gwint at 1:53 PM on April 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

Went Rejoycing Out of this World into the Other.

I like that. I hope I'll be able to depart joyfully when my time comes. Though it will probably be something more like Was Instantly Kill'd by a Stock of Boards.
posted by MrVisible at 1:54 PM on April 22, 2013

Was Casually Shot.
posted by Corduroy at 1:55 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

("Connecticutian"? I'm laughing my ass off and I haven't even followed the link yet.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 1:57 PM on April 22, 2013

What happened to:
Kicked the Bucket
Cashed in his Chips
Bought the Farm
Went Belly Up
Bite the Dust
Give up the Ghost
Checked Out
posted by MrMulan at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a Connecticutian...imagine, though, if if were from Kansas
posted by Postroad at 2:07 PM on April 22, 2013

"Run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:11 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Now there are two. There are two _______.: "("Connecticutian"? I'm laughing my ass off and I haven't even followed the link yet."

Yeah, everyone knows it should be "Connecticutiepie".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:24 PM on April 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Looks like her town of origin is my current hometown. (And yes, "Connecticutian" is the preferred term, although "Nutmegger" is also popular. Can't quite say which is worse. I've advocated for "Connecticutie.")
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:25 PM on April 22, 2013

Jinx, Joakim Ziegler.
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:26 PM on April 22, 2013

"Fell asleep in Jesus" sounds kind of rude
posted by iotic at 2:29 PM on April 22, 2013 [8 favorites]

User account disabled.
posted by Segundus at 2:31 PM on April 22, 2013 [9 favorites]

I never understood the need that older people seemed to have to avoid simply saying that someone died.
posted by thelonius at 3:01 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Muppet or 18th century Connecticutian

Note: it's not always either/or!

thelonius, I'm not sure if it's old people, or grave stone carvers who got bored with writing "died" so very often, and wanted to be a bit more eloquent.

And a 101 metal songs are born.

"Our next song is a new one, and it's really fucking brutal. We call it, 'Innocently Retired' GRAAAAH!"
posted by filthy light thief at 3:06 PM on April 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm not generally squeamish when it comes to graveyards, but this epitaph, despite its economy of language, evoked an extremely unpleasant mental image. I suppose it isn't so bad in context, but I didn't remember the whole epitaph — only that phrase stuck with me.
The human form
respected for its honesty
and known 53 years
by the appellation
began to dissolve in the
month of February 1789.

How vivid.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:09 PM on April 22, 2013 [6 favorites]

And a 101 metal songs are born.

Or a MetaFilter Music Challenge.
posted by davejay at 3:24 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have always feared being Connecticuted for a crime I didn't commit.

I do like these better than the current fashion. It gives future strollers something more interesting to talk about.
posted by LucretiusJones at 3:24 PM on April 22, 2013

The most infuriating sympathy card I ever received assured me "She is just away." Eloquence is one thing; outright lying about death helps no one.
posted by sageleaf at 3:45 PM on April 22, 2013

tu fui ego eris (what you are, I was; what I am, you will be)
posted by bukvich at 4:12 PM on April 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

or grave stone carvers who got bored with writing "died"

Or got paid by the letter.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:15 PM on April 22, 2013

Tim: ... See, my mum used to use "going next door" as a euphemism for being dead.
Mike: Whoa, hold on, does that mean my rabbit's dead?
Tim: It's been eighteen years, Mike. Where did you think he was?
Mike: [whimpers] Next door!
posted by comealongpole at 4:20 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If I ever find a magic lamp, I'm burning one of my wishes to make the insipid "passed away" pass away forever. Such a stupid, silly euphemism, formerly beloved of mincing prudish old Southern ladies and now used, as if it's appropriate, by major news outlets. As my mincing prudish old Southern grandmother, who differed from her friends in that she, too, hated this limp slap in the face of mortality, used to say, "gas passes, but people die."

Being an overdramatic sort, I am occasionally given to slouching around cemeteries, whether it's perching on Fitzgerald's grave to share the lament at the end of Gatsby or stopping by to see dear old Harris Glen Milstead in repose, but of all of them, my favorite, and my favorite epitaph of all time, is one found on a grave in a rather strange place. Just north of my dumpy little town, in the next dumpy little town up, there is a wasteland of industrial parks, and tucked away in one is a strange little wooded hillock you'd never notice in the aimless asphalt plains, except that it's rather taller than the rest of the area.

If you park there, then climb the hillside to the top, you'll find a small family cemetery, long abandoned and now rising high over the industrial park where bulldozers carved all the old landscape down to build a sad and uniform nowhere land. There's a number of graves there, and the one that I seek out and sit on is one long, flat vault.

The epitaph does not describe the manner of death, but it speaks to me.

It reads:



—And Florence, I do know exactly how that feels, now and then. It's a good place to sneak out to in the dead of night with one's headphones, to just rest and listen and look at the stars through the treetops and the patterns of lights in the industrial park below, like you're just out there, floating on a tiny forest in the middle of the impossible void, and there are times when that is the most comforting thing in the world.

No euphemisms, no dodging, no happytalk or denial. Sometimes, you did the best you could.
posted by sonascope at 4:59 PM on April 22, 2013 [24 favorites]

Died Tryumphingly in Hops of a Goyful Resurrection

Talk about your self-hating jews.

posted by Lemurrhea at 5:15 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've requested of my family that any marker for me should read 'Leveled Up'
posted by Brody's chum at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Passed away" seems to have morphed into just "passed," which I used to hear only black people say. Am I imagining that?

And the one truly irritating phrase that is popping up more and more in obits is the "surrounded by loved ones" as if everyone's worried that someone might find out that someone died in his sleep when no one was around.

My favorite headstone saying was, "I told you I was sick!!!"
posted by etaoin at 6:09 PM on April 22, 2013

Really cool. And I'm glad s/he didn't stop cold at 101, when there's still more deathphemisms to explore!
posted by threeants at 6:40 PM on April 22, 2013

... See, my mum used to use "going next door" as a euphemism for being dead.

That reminds me of the "fell off the roof" joke:

There were two brothers, Jim and Tim. Though both adults, they still lived with their mother. Neither brother had traveled beyond the county where they were born, but they both longed to travel. One day, Tim won a ticket to London, through a raffle the brothers had both entered. Jim was upset, but insisted that Tim go and enjoy himself. "Who knows," Jim said, "maybe I'll win one next time."

So Tim packed his bags, hugged Jim and their mum, and said, "Watch after the cat, OK?"

Tim was off on a grand adventure, and because he was having so much fun, he didn't call until 3 days into the trip. Jim answered the phone at home and said, "Tim, I'm so sorry, your cat died."

"What?" Tim asked. "I was having such fun here, but in the back of my mind I was sorry you couldn't come on this trip with me. And now you tell me my cat died! Now I won't be able to think of any thing except that I left you with my old cat, and now he's dead!"

After talking for a while, Jim convinced his brother that he had everything handled at home, the cat was old and had lived a good life, so Tim should go on and enjoy himself. "Any," Tim said, "next time, ease into the bad news. Like with my cat, you can start off by saying he's on the roof. Then next time I call, say that the cat fell off the roof, and though he's hurt, he'll probably make it. Then you can say he fought the good fight, but he didn't make it."

"Oh, OK," said Jim.

Five days later, Tim called back home.

"Tim, it's kind of odd, but don't worry. Mom's on the roof."

Sometimes, my wife's family starts updates of some bad news "Well, Mom's on the roof..."
posted by filthy light thief at 6:49 PM on April 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

My four-year-old daughter, who is just beginning to understand this process, has a euphemism for "dead" that pokes at my soul. Just yesterday, we were poking around Petco (or as I call it, "The Free Zoo"), when we came upon the display of typically languid betta fish.

"They're not alive any more, Daddy," Ellie said somberly.

Fortunately I could gently tap the display and show her that this wasn't the case, but I'm still carrying the remark around with me.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:57 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gone to wait at the rainbow bridge; said of pets.
posted by Herodios at 7:54 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

These are all stories about real people who died and the people who were sad about that. I don't find it lol-worthy. I understand the intent, but it still seems jarring in this context. Maybe I'm just in a mood.

This one got pretty close to making me join her weeping friends.

This one too: she commenced her inseparable union with her beloved husband and her God.
posted by bleep at 8:18 PM on April 22, 2013

Also: my favorite euphemism for death is "Fucked off."

"How's your grandfather's health?"
"Ah, he's fucked off."
posted by ColdChef at 8:19 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Jesus Called.
posted by ColdChef at 8:21 PM on April 22, 2013

One more:
I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
posted by ColdChef at 8:25 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can't believe no one posted one of the best:

Royal O'Reilly Tenenbaum (1932–2001)

Died Tragically Rescuing His Family From The Wreckage Of A Destroyed Sinking Battleship

posted by OHSnap at 8:52 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hic depositum est Corpus
Hujus Ecclesiæ Cathedralis
Ubi sæva Indignatio
Cor lacerare nequit,
Abi Viator
Et imitare, si poteris,
Strenuum pro virili
Libertatis Vindicatorem.

Here is laid the Body
of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology,
Dean of this Cathedral Church,
where fierce Indignation
can no longer
injure the Heart.
Go forth, Voyager,
and copy, if you can,
this vigorous (to the best of his ability)
Champion of Liberty.
posted by 445supermag at 10:19 PM on April 22, 2013

Don't fence me in.
posted by trip and a half at 10:53 PM on April 22, 2013

Got onto the bus that's gonna take them back to Beelzebub.

Rode the Pine Box Derby to the finish line.

Or they're still alive and there's nothing they wanna do.
posted by Foosnark at 6:18 AM on April 23, 2013

a.k.a. what happens when I play NetHack
posted by Herschel at 7:07 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

"has become more powerful than you can possibly imagine"
posted by Mayor West at 7:12 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I thought this page of Revolutionary War tombstones was very interesting.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:42 AM on April 23, 2013

Personal favorite:

Vanquished the World and Relinquished It

I'm totally stealing that line. Granted, I have a few matters of business to see to first...
posted by snottydick at 8:37 AM on April 23, 2013

From ColdChef's link, here is the Flickr "Cemetery Whimsy and Humor" group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/62657287@N00/pool/with/400223497/
posted by wenestvedt at 10:03 AM on April 23, 2013

Here's the link to snottydick's comment.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:01 PM on April 23, 2013

« Older "The tang of the real permeated his talk."   |   100% Prime Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments