I’m Sorry, Africa

If there’s one thing I learned from the news this weekend, it’s that life is short. One minute, you’re just lugin’ along, minding your own business, and then bam! – Canada takes another one in his prime.

Or you’re putting around the faculty lounge at University of Alabama Huntsville on a Friday, drinkin’ some coffee, thinkin’ about how little your students care about molecular biology, when one of your colleagues decides that she can’t take it anymore and plugs you full of hot lead. Bummer, man. You really just never know.

Let me ask you a question, though: if you were sitting on a bus, contemplating what the circumstances of your own demise might be, what would come to mind first? Disgruntled homeless person with a switchblade? Fiery multi-vehicle highway pileup? Suicidal bus driver jumping the jersey barrier in a final blaze of glory, taking you and your fellow passengers off the side of a bridge into a river 75 feet below? Psychopathic former bomb squad leader rigs your bus with a bomb that will explode if you dip below 50mph, and your only hope is Keanu Reeves?

How about mass-electrocution?

That’s what happened today in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. An electrical cable fell on top of a commuter bus during a rainstorm, and electrocuted the twenty people inside to death. Not only that, but people who happened to be walking by while this decidedly un-funny allusion to Henry Wilcoxon’s role in Caddyshack came to pass also got fried. Jesus.

I’ve always sort of suspected that God hated Africa, what with the abject poverty, genocide, despotism, and AIDS, but wow. You’ve really outdone yourself this time, Jehovah. That was like buying an ant farm, and then letting the poor little bastards bust their asses building tunnels for a week, just so you could pour boiling water in it to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon. On the seventh day, God rested… by senselessly destroying people in a horrifying way. And they wonder why I don’t go to church.

I suppose the lesson here is that next time you get a little shock after reaching for the door handle of your car on a cold day, stop and consider that the African version of that involves hot, smoking death.