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We all know that the Queen poos (unlike Prince Philip, who vents clouds of highly-acidic faecal gas from a fleshy nozzle just beneath his chin, before blinking his inner eyelids and retreating to the warmth of the Royal Egg Chamber), but few of us have really considered the implications of this.
There must be days when Her Majesty, Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and her Islands clenches her little fists, grabs hold of the seat and really bears down to dislodge a particularly awkward chunk of digested swan. (This is in stark contrast to Barack Obama, whose turds slip out of him like otters returning to the wild.) At times like these, as her tiny heels drum against the floor, a fine sweat breaks out on her aged forehead, and she prays to a higher power (higher pooer?) to just get the damned thing out, she must hope that if this is it, if she dies here, that they take her corpse and arrange it so it looks like she was doing something less embarrassing when the time came. Something like feeding her corgis, opening a hospital, or cutting the brake lines on a Mercedes-Benz W140.
There are probably worse ways to go than carking it in the middle of a poo, but I’m struggling to think of any now. Here are nine more who expired in the water closets. Flush-in-the-pans.
9. Elvis Presley – Although one of the most famous to die in their bathrooms, Elvis wasn’t found on his toilet. He was several feet away from the toilet, where he had apparently crawled in an attempt to get help, interrupted whilst using the toilet. He was obese, and suffered from glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, had a history of abusing prescription drugs, and an enlarged colon. One of his coroners said he had ‘the arteries of an eighty-year old‘. Although there is some dispute over whether it was the massive drug intake, the weight, or the actual ‘straining at stool’ (as his biographer puts it) that caused his heart attack, the moral remains the same: you can’t have too much fibre in your diets, kids.
8. Evelyn Waugh – the ‘bright young thing’ of the 1920s, and later Catholic propagandist came home from church one Sunday, went to the loo, and never came out again. He ascended to the Heavenly Throne whilst mounted on his.
7. Catherine the Great – Catherine the Great is perhaps the only person in history about whom it can be said the best version of the story of their death is the one where they die, grunting on the toilet. Because in the other popular version of the Catherine the Great’s death she was crushed to death by a horse during the act of coitus.
6. Uesugi Kenshin – Kenshin was one of the most powerful Japanese warlords of the sixteenth century with a prodigious capacity for booze. Although most people agree that he died on the toilet, there’s a lot of dispute over whether it was his prodigious drinking, or a cesspit-dwelling ninja that finally got him. I like to imagine a combination of the two. A booze-addled bum-ninja.
5. Christopher Shale – Not hugely famous in and of himself, Shale is notable for two things: being David Cameron’s constituency aide, and dying in a toilet at the Glastonbury Festival. In one move he managed to replace the popular image of Tories as being tangerine-chomping auto-erotic asphyxiators, start rumours about shadowy conspiracies and leaked documents, and get everyone to agree that people over 50 should not attend music festivals.
4. Edmund Ironsides – Stabbed in the anus by a Viking hiding in his toilet. There is literally nothing about that last sentence I don’t like.
3. Don Simpson – A heart attack waiting to happen, Top Gun Producer, S&M enthusiast and allegedly prodigious drug user Don Simpson died on the toilet, whilst reading a biography of Oliver Stone. Death must have come as a blessed relief.
2. King George II – Fat, palsied German George II was blind in one eye and hard of hearing by 1760, when he had a cup of hot chocolate and went to the loo. A few moments later a crash was heard, and the king was pronounced dead from ‘overexertions on the privy’.
1. Lenny Bruce – Lenny Bruce didn’t just die on a toilet, he died doing heroin on a toilet. Imagine being so in love with heroin that you don’t even want to finish taking a dump before getting high. “You know, I could wait, like, three minutes and then do this on the sofa. Nah, what’s the worst that can- urk!”
So, what has this litany of poo-related perishing taught us? What have we learned from these salutary tales? One thing. Toilets can kill you.
Never, ever go to the toilet. That is all.