To those familiar with The Far Side comics, there’s one where the Grim Reaper is on stage at a comedy club, scythe in hand, saying “Hey! Did someone kill this microphone? Oh, I guess it was me. But seriously, folks...” And the audience is quiet, with one exception. The picture’s caption: “Only Bernard, in the front row, had the nerve to laugh at Death.”
This was one of many cartoons making light of the concept of death that Dr. George Erickson of Eveleth, Minn., shared with an audience at Davies Theater at Itasca Community College on Tuesday, Sept. 25, in his presentation entitled “Laughing at Death.” Dr. Erickson was brought to Grand Rapids to speak by the Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers. The talk, which involved many quotes from famous names both past and present on the topic of death, was compiled as a means of looking with humor at the great inevitable, the one half of Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote on the two certainties in life, death (the other one is taxes, by the way).