MY LIFE IS DEATH
Lester Adelson, the former chief deputy coroner of Cuyahoga County, was fun and morbid. He said he wanted to write a book called My Life is Death. He said he missed ice picks. “Nothing against frost-free refrigerators,” he said. “But back when people went at it with sharp objects, they could generally be stitched back together again.”*
He was at the coroner’s office 37 years.
Adelson said to me, “The only violent natural death is lightning, you follow?”
He said lightning — the electric charge — zaps you immediately. You die by “lightning.” If you drown or get hit by a tornado, you don’t die by “tornado” or “drowning.” You die of more arcane causes.
Adelson said, “I don’t remember my mother’s labor pains, but you’re born in someone else’s pain — your mother’s — and you die in your own.”
He liked to quote Shakespeare.
Coroner / Shakespeare / bowtie / Harvard grad / Jew.
Dr. Lester Adelson. He even wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine (Feb. 4, 1960) about the various deaths in Hamlet. Claudius poured poison into the ear of Hamlet’s father.
Adelson wrote: “When one considers the sensitivity of the human ear, including the external auditory canal and the eardrum, it appears difficult to accept the proposition that a drug can be poured into the ear of a sleeper without arousing him, as the Ghost asks one to believe.”
“If the elder Hamlet’s eardrum had been perforated . . . ”
Adelson retired from the coroner’s office in 1987. He died at 91 in 2006.
*from a Plain Dealer editorial, 3/20/06.
“No More Greasy Fries,” the vid:
The Workmen’s Circle annual free Yiddish concert is 7:30 p.m Sunday (June 23) at Cain Park, Cleveland Heights. Golem performs. No tickets necessary. Simply show up.