I once never quite drowned and once I was never entirely on fire but I feel to have been close both times. So the cracks in the ceiling begged the question,

Would people prefer to die by fire or water, if given only those two choices?

When trying to answer it myself, I began envisioning different scenarios. For example, I don’t think I’d be too keen on a slow-burning fire, like the kind under a simmering stockpot. Even a marshmallow roasting fire seemed too slow so I got to thinking that a blast, something that flung my parts to the nethers in seconds, might be my thing.

As far as drowning, I thought of a bath and then slipping softly away to sleep and drowning there, like in a dream. But then I wondered how that gets explained to folks later, and I was concerned for my children because they don’t even like to take showers. Then Disneyland came to mind, and I wondered if it would be magical to drown in A Small World, but then, there were kids to consider again.

Just when I was about to give up on scenario’s, I thought about the fishing boats, the ones people risk their lives on for part of the year, and I knew that was it. If I were going to die by drowning, I’d want it to be on one of those fishing trips, way way out at sea.

Presumably, someone held a statewide conference and asked this same question to books (a group with a likely case of martyr syndrome), and, they made a unanimous decision that if they had to die, they would choose the flames. They reasoned that if by some miracle the fire was extinguished, some would surely live. Those standing at each end vowed to lay down their lives if it would serve to save the stories of those in the middle. They all agreed there was no chance to preserve anyone in a drowning.

So, the next time you’re in a building with books, and you realize there are no water sprinklers in the event of a fire, fear not. Just take the emergency exit and grab a burning love martyr on the way out.