I decided that I was going to write a long, thoughtful article this month about a pertinent subject to the sisters of the Church. Unfortunately, this inspiration didn’t occur to me until four days before the column was due and a very busy four days it was at that. Not much time for either long or thoughtful.

That will be next month’s column.

In cases like this, I dip into the columns I write for my local paper, which are humorous columns about the stupid things I do or think about. There’s plenty of fodder there.

The one I’m going to share today occurred to me when I was snowbound a couple of days recently when my husband was out of town. Keeping the stove going and watching the snow not melt on my gravel road gave me the chance to watch a lot of news, most of it bad, of course.

Always the contemplative writer and being alone in the house with two quiet cats, I started thinking about all the ways people leave this world and then forced myself to switch to start thinking about the ways I will not die, as I will explain. That’s better than thinking about all the ways I can, right?

Really? A flotation device?

I try to avoid anxiety, but if you’ve ever sat by me on an airplane you know that I’m the person who always pays attention to the flight attendant going over the emergency procedures, even though I really do know how to buckle and unbuckle a seatbelt.

And I always try to figure out how I will detach my seat and use it as a flotation device, even if I am flying from Arkansas to Texas and I am sure no new ocean has popped up in between the two states since I flew that route last.

But I still don’t know how with limited space everyone is going to stand up, turn around, get their seat off and get out of the plane as we sink. I’ll never get to England to tour the Downton Abbey castle because so far I refuse to fly over large bodies of water.

Ways not to die

So here, just for fun, as winter slowly, exhales its last, chilly breath across the nation is a light look at ways I have decided I will not leave this frail existence.

I will not die skiing in an avalanche. I have always wanted to ski, but no one in my family will take me skiing. They either say I will break every bone in my body, freeze to death or be afraid of the height of the slopes or the lift. Good points. I’ve asked if I could just strap on skies and do a little bunny slope, but one son-also not comfortable with heights- says even that seems high standing at the top. So I will not be dying skiing in an avalanche. I’m comforted.

I will not die parasailing. I see hang gliders sometimes when I am in Utah as they sail off a place called “Point of the Mountain.” I cannot stand to even look up and watch them. I’ve seen parasailers when I’ve been on cruises-my daughter has even done it. No thanks. You would have to hit me over the head and knock me out like Mr. T on the A-Team.

Please don’t do that! I would wake up, have a heart attack, and all involved would be charged with my death and these words will stand as testimony against you. Be still, my anxious heart.

I won’t fall off a tall building because I won’t go into or onto a tall building. My son wants me to visit a tall building when we go to Chicago for his MBA graduation in June. Nope. I don’t trust glass windows and structural design. I’m married to an engineer and know we haven’t figured out yet how to watch Amazon Prime on our TV. There are gaps in the know-how of engineers and I’m not sure where they are. Case closed.

I won’t die of an infection from dirty scalpels while doing surgery on myself in the Arctic or the Antarctica. Someone did surgery on herself in the Arctic-or was it Antarctica- a few years ago; I am haunted by the memory. I won’t die that way because I won’t be going on any trips there. First of all, I get the two mixed up, which Google says is normal, and I’m not sure which one is the most habitable. So I’m not taking any chances.

Lastly, I won’t die drowning in a submarine because I never go underwater and I’m claustrophobic. My son says there’s a museum in Chicago I can go to with a real submarine in it. (I’m not sure he’s the perfect tour guide for me.) I might go see it. Maybe I’ll go it in if it’s not close to a river.

But what if it is hijacked when I’m in it and driven-is that what submarines do?-to the Arctic or Antarctica and I’m hurt and need surgery and the scalpels are dirty and I have to escape the submarine and the ensuing avalanche and can only escape by parasailing out of the Arctic or Antarctica and land on a really tall building and the elevators are out of order?

There you have it.

I will add to my list as my life continues.

I do have confirmation for two plane tickets in my inbox, though. Gotta get that seat-as-flotation-device figured out.

Susan is a freelance writer in beautiful southern Virginia. To read more of her columns, go to, where parts of this one previously ran, and do a site search for “7XMOM.” To read her best work of all, order “Miracle of the Christmas Star” from or