horror death

i saw this mildly amusing mostly heart-wrenching story on boing boing about a found consumer review for shamwow.
really an unsettling view of consumerism and the human condition…

Father died thinking of this crappy product!

2/24/2009 – Bryan of Washington, DC, USA writes:

My father had an illness that didn’t let him get out of the house much, and his memory was on the downfall over the last few months. He was in his room watching tv and he saw the shamwow commercial and for some reason really wanted one. Since he doesn’t ask for much, me and my wife (his daughter-in-law) decided to buy him a set to use around the house, as he didn’t get out much and would probably use these around the house alot, since he spilled drinks more and more.. The product arrived and we had him wait to open it until we got back from the hospital because we thought he was having a stroke. When we returned he was out of it and went to bed. We woke up in the middle of the night to him crying loudly in his room, which is next to ours. He has spilt his bed pan and tried to clean it up with the shamwow cloth. It wasn’t working and he thought it was HIS fault! After hours of calming him down, while I cleaned up the mess with towels, we took him into the kitchen to show him it works, WELL IT DOESN’T, and our neighbors also tried it with theirs that arrived the next day, and theirs was a bust as well. My father was always in a sad mood after that, as he thought it was his fault it didn’t work and he could only seem to remember the commercial saying how good it was and his failure with it. My father died at the age of 72, crying mad as my niece brought in some shamwows her boyfriend had bought to show them to us, not knowing she was there to see my father on his death bed! HE SAW THEM, and we all tried to take them out before he saw them!!! He started to cry and yell, and as I took my niece out of the room, my father yelled out a scream of anger and pain I had never heard before. He never got to say his last words to me or our family, all he saw was his own failure and shame and he died in tears, thinking only of an angry world, and not of our LOVE FOR HIM! This product is garbage, and should be banned, burnt, and that evil man selling it to be drowning and try to save himself by using his own product to soak up the water, as he WOULD DIE!


reading that reminded me of how i felt when i first heard an episode of NPR’s this american life. the episode, the business of death features Thomas Lynch reading from his book The Undertaking: Life Stories from the Dismal Trade .

around minute 12:35, Lynch discusses Wesley Rice, an ebalmer who “spent all of one day and all night carefully piecing together the parts of a girls cranium. she had been murdered by a mad man with a baseball bat” and while “most embalmers, faced with what Wesley Rice was faced with after opening the bag from the morgue, would have simply said ‘closed casket'”, Rice worked on the girl so that “18 hours later the girls mother who had pleaded to see her saw her. she was dead, to be sure and damaged but her face was hers again, not the mad mans version.”

for me, lynch perfectly meshes descriptions of the clinical procedures of embalming with the personal details of the victim in a way that produces a truly chilling and heartbreaking story. when sharing the embalmers point of view, you’re forced to think about the victim after the fact, without the suspense and the drama. all the violence and terror is still there but there are no cheap thrills or jump-out-and-scare-you moments which, to me, comes across as a more honest, humanistic story.

not that i don’t love slashers and high drama……


alsoooooo, a while back i was flipping through the book of lists: horror and came across an article about the difference between terror and horror.

i can’t find that original piece but this article explores the same idea.


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