Since man’s evolutionary trajectory diverged from our ape ancestors a few million years ago, billions upon billions of our kind have bitten the dust. Tens of thousands of people die every single day, each one peculiar and unique. Here are 5 of them.
Billy Mays was perhaps the world’s most famous TV pitchman. As a young huckster on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the 1980s, he learned and perfected an old-fashioned sales technique called “yelling” that he then used to sell everything from bullshit to horseshit. Inexplicably, this technique, combined with a forced, lunatic smile, made him a household name and an assload of cash. He unwisely used some of that cash to buy cocaine–a substance that mixed badly with his hypertensive heart disease–and he died on this date in 2009 at the age of 50.
Rod Serling was aTV producer, screenwriter, novelist, and all-around upstanding dude. Unless you’re very young or very out of touch, you know him as the host of The Twilight Zone, but he was also a war hero and a liberal activist who was passionate about fighting against war and racial inequality. Unfortunately, Rod cared too much. All the horror and injustice of the world made him angry and tense much of the time. His heart couldn’t take it, and he died on this date in 1975 at the age of 50.
Robert Byrd was the longest serving member of the U.S. Senate (D) and a lifelong fiddle player. For quite a while in his 20s and 30s, he was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He later denounced the group and racism, but he let some of the old bigoted Bob out a few times in subsequent years, referring in 1996 to homosexuality as “aberrant behavior”, and nonchalantly mentioning he’d seen a lot of “white niggers” in his time during a 2001 interview. He died on this date in 2010 at the age of 92.
GG Allin was a hateful, filthy, punk-rock outlaw whose birth name was actually Jesus Christ Allin. He became infamous for being a dude that seriously just did not give a fuck, and for his live performances in which he’d hurt himself and others–often without pants and covered in his own excrement. A degenerate life of shit-eating, cutting himself, and heroin abuse proved unsustainable though, and he died on this date in 1993 at the age of 36.
James Madison was, of course, the 4th President of the United States, and the lucky husband of a woman known for making pies. He also wrote The Bill of Rights and is thought of by many as the “Father of the Constitution.” And, like most rich, white assholes back then, James bought and sold other human beings like cattle throughout his entire life. In his twilight years, he got so worried about what people would think of him after he was gone that he started going through his documents and letters, editing and embellishing, making himself ill with anxiety. In the end, he was the last Founding Father to go, dying on this date in 1836 at the age of 85.