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November 26, 2006

Bookcase "trap" killed Florida woman

A 38-year-old Florida woman is said to have died after she fell behind a bookcase while reaching for the plug on her TV. Her parents searched for her for 11 days before finding her body in their home. According to the BBC, authorities are not treating her death as suspicious.

It sure sounds suspicious. Then again, this is Florida, where a very high official threshold of suspicion is a proud state tradition.

Update: The St. Petersburg Times has a more complete description of the circumstances of the woman's death that makes a lot more sense. The family thinks the victim fell over headfirst while she was standing on a bureau and reaching for power strip mounted behind the shelf. Very sad.


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Damn right it's suspicious. What was a Florida family doing with so many books?

I tripped once unplugging a TV set and put my head right through some drywall; if there was a spur in the wrong place, I would've gotten speared right through the brain. Not completely suspicious, IMO.

Back in 92, Los Angeles; I brought my grand mother to live with me as I had a spare bedroom, and she had had a series of debilitating small strokes. I had a bookcase lineing a long hallway (NY style) that led to her bedroom and mine.

Then there was an earthquake, 4 am-ish. I thought I was an old hand at earthquakes. This one was different. You felt that if the roof didn't collapse on you, the ground would open up and swallow you up. The "what if this turns out to be the big-one" feeling. I heard my floor-to-cealing mirrors that I leaned against a foyer wall like artwork, crashing down in the background. (Lesson: hang, don't lean, mirrors in earthquake country - but I'm not even sure that would have worked.)

My first thought was for my Grandmother, and soon I heard her calling for me. I sleep in the nude, so I'm naked, and it's pitch black, since the electricty was knocked out (I never knew it could be that dark - the moon was the only light.) I opened my bedroom door, as I'm headed out to get my grandmother, books, and one of the bookcases that had fallen had blocked my doorway to the level of my waist. I had to dig through the books, naked, in the cold, and the pitch black. I encountered the same problem at my grandma's doorway, and had to dig through the books to get to her.

Then making the way thru the hallway with books blocking the path was perrilous. My grandma, who was 82 at the time, seemed to find the whole thing amusing, in a childlike way.

So that's my bookcase story. The upshot is that I got dressed, and my grandma and I made it to safety. But my apartment ended up looking like Beruit.

Naked and digging through it ok if I find that a little sexy?

Molto crepioso.

At work they bolt our bookcases to the wall. Once I had my own home, I did the same.

I want to know why it took 11 days for them to check her home.

The way I read the story, they did search the house, but did not think to look behind the bookcase.

Fairly embarrassing way to go, dieing while trying to plug in the TV

What can I say, Rob, truth is often sexy, but you're leaving out the part about the 82 year old grandma.

No more bookcases in the hallway, needless to say, and many of the books have been sold. Grandma is gone. Husband and step-cats have moved in.

This sounds like the kind of freak accident Six Feet Under used to specialize in. An awful way to go.

To me this is just more evidence that the fear of dying alone and being eaten by your cats is not really mollified by having people in your home. After all, if your family can't find your corpse behind a bookcase, then what's the point of having them there to clog up the hallway?

An awful way to go.

Mostly because of the TV aspect. If I die in a home entertainment-related fashion, I hope that it's in a dignified way. Let them find me dead with a book of modern poetry in my hand. Or maybe I shall perish while trying to put a jazz record on the record player. But how sad is it to die while trying to get the TV plugged in so you can catch a rerun of "Friends"?

I gave myself a painful shock trying to plug in a deep fryer the other day. The power strip is behind the microwave and I have way too many appliances plugged into it. I had to reach in and attempt to guide the oversized plug into the middle outlet by feel.

Somehow, my hand slipped and touched the prong as it was going into the socket. Luckily, my kitchen floor is non-conductive. That would have been a truly embarrassing way to go.

There but for the grace of FSM, I guess.

Marie Nick Lowe...

The way I read the story, they did search the house, but did not think to look behind the bookcase.

You mean the big one that had fallen over and killed her? They didn't think anything was amiss there?

What's wrong with people?

No, the bookcase didn't fall over. *She* fell behind the bookcase. It was large enough, and she fell in such a way that she strangled to death behind it.

I do, however, think that reading an article in a newspaper about someone falling behind a bookcase and suffocating is the closest that most of the people who posted comments in that newspaper page had been to books in their entire life.

You know, I love my family, but they're really bad at finding stuff. If I fell behind a bookcase I'd be lucky if they only took eleven days.

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