The other night I was watching a new show, because, amazingly, there was no Drag Race franchise available and I’d finally finished rewatching all one thousand seasons of Seinfeld. It was a kind of cute show called Locke And Key, about a family that moves to their dead dad’s ancestral home, which turns out to be haunted and full of weird fancy keys that do assorted different things, like letting you go out one door and enter any other place you want. Although the characters were fairly archetypical and predictable, I was pretty far into the show, but after a few episodes, it started to get really dumb and illogical. Finally, during one episode, there was a showdown where (spoiler alert), the teenaged boy who killed the dad escapes from jail and comes to the family home, manages to hold the entire family at gunpoint even though there are three of them and two are bigger than him, then ties them all up. Except for the oldest son, who comes home unexpectedly, attacks the gun-wielding villain, disarming him, and punching him several times in the face. But then the villain suddenly, even though he should be comatose, manages to find a key in the son’s pocket, and how he managed to do that is a f*cking mystery, but he pulls it out, seems to instinctively KNOW that it sets sh*t on fire, and then in the pyromaniacal confusion, finds the gun which has skittered away, and has now captured the son as well. At which point, I threw the remote in disgust and changed the channel. Now, I’ve had my own novels criticized for “rushing the ending” but seriously, how drawn out does an ending have to be? I mean, git ‘er done, am I right? I’m really tired of these shows that always have to prolong the agony, and that’s why I love my new show pick, Ozark, where the villain says he’s going to do something bad, and then he literally throws a guy out an 80th story window. And I was relaying all of this at dinner on Thursday night:
Me: And then he just threw the guy out the window. Like, done.
Kate: Now that’s what I call a defenestration.
Me: Lol, he wasn’t a tree, KATE.
Me: Defenestration is when you strip the leaves off something, like what Agent Orange did to the trees in Viet Nam.
Kate (laughs): No, it’s not! It’s when you throw someone out a window. You’re thinking of defoliation.
Me: (looks up definition on phone): Nah…?
Kate: Have you seriously been using defenestration this whole time as a way to explain to people that the trees have lost their leaves in the fall?
Kate (shakes head): Okay, English teacher.
But seriously. How the hell is there one specific word for throwing someone out the window (in fact, vocabulary.com refers to the word defenestration as “frighteningly specific”)? Like, how many people were getting regularly thrown out of windows that Samuel Johnson, inventor of the dictionary, decided we needed one word to describe that very precise type of murder? Strangulation is a type of murder, but it’s still an umbrella term for all kinds of things, like strangulation with a rope or a garotte or your hands or a defenestrated tree branch—I mean defoliated, sorry. And stabbing? Another umbrella term. You can stab someone with a knife, a fork, a sharp spoon, an ice pick, an actual umbrella, and even a defoliated tree branch, but you don’t see anyone inventing singular words for that, like—well, okay, there’s knifing, but it’s not one special kind of knife. And based on my research, you could even be stabbed by a swordfish, which I discovered when I googled “ways to die” and came across a website called Final Choices, which claims to be an “end of life planning” website but where I found an article called “Death is inevitable. How you die can be very random. Here’s a light-hearted look at strange ways to die”. And these included:
Being killed by an explosive while trying to steal a condom dispenser
An undertaker being crushed by his own coffins
Being swung by your ankles by a clown and hitting your head
Eaten by a drove of pigs
Lethal sherry enema
None of these are, in fact, light-hearted and I question the sense of humour of the website owners. Thankfully, nowhere in the list was “being overcome by chorine gas because you put too much in the hot tub”. But apparently, approximately 24 people a year are killed by champagne corks, so where’s the word for THAT, SAMUEL?! Honestly, this website is terrifying, and proof that there are worse and more random ways to die than being defenestrated.
Anyway, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all of you. Stay away from windows.