SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

We're No. 26!!!
By Dave Kiffer


September 18, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - It's fall and that means that the sap gets cut off from the branches and more surveys and studies drop down to clog up my driveway.

The latest is a survey of death and dying in America. Apparently Alaska is right smack in the middle (26th of 51 - 50 states plus the District of Chlamydia, oops that's a different survey!) in terms of lifespan in these United States.

That means, of course, that you could live longer if you moved to 25 other states. Or you could die sooner if you lived in 24 others states plus DC. The choice is yours.

Naturally, there are complex factors in these rankings. They deal with health care, ethnic mix, poverty and the number of guns per toddler. But, as usual, I think there are reasons the surveyors probably missed. Like the obvious ones.

Once again, all it takes is a little common sense to figure out why certain states outranked Alaska in terms of longevity.

jpg Medical Miracles
Medical Miracles
By Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Caroons, Inc.

- well duh. If I lived in Hawaii I'd want to live longer too.

Minnesota - It's not that people are actually living longer. It's just that when old Scandinavian folks freeze to death, it's hard to tell. You make the call where stoicism ends and death begins.

Utah - They don't actually live more years in Utah. It's just so boring that they feel like they do.

California - Once again, it's not really a case of living longer. If you die during the daily commute you are simply going to arrive 2 12 hours late at the Pearly Gates.

Iowa - It's gotta be the corn, corn, corn.

New Jersey - Oh come on, haven't these surveyors ever watched an episode of The Sopranos? There's a significant body count in the Garden State.

Massachusetts - Bay Staters are self-righteous, stubborn folks (I know, I lived there once upon a time). If you accused one of being dead, he'd argue with you. Even if it was true.

I find it odd that our fellow Northwesterners, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, outlive us. Their "lifestyle" is not that different than ours. Then again maybe the residents of Boise, Tacoma, and Medford just feel like they are living forever (see Utah).

Of course, Maine and Vermont and New Hampshire folks all out live us. Primarily because all any surveyor is going to get from them is a blank stare anyway, dead or alive. (see Minnesota).

New York - Apparently not everyone in New York died on 9/11. Someone should alert the media, it acts like they all did.

North Dakota - Obviously, the last person to leave forgot to shut out the lights, therefore giving the surveyors the mistaken impression that someone is still living there.

Connecticut - (see Massachusetts)

Rhode Island - Of course no one "dies" there! There isn't room for a cemetery.

Colorado - "Dude, did you tell the cops that granny died?" "I forgot, man." "Bummer."

Wisconsin - Like the commercial once said "Behold, the Power of Cheese!"

Kansas - If a "flatline" happens in a flat state, does it make a sound?

Florida - Ever notice that Egyptian mummies and longtime retirees both look like Rich Corinthian leather? Time to recount those hanging chads on the longevity study.

South Dakota - Too busy having fun at Wall Drugs!

Nebraska - No one dies if the "Huskers" are winning.

Arizona - So much pollen in the air that even the dead sneeze.

Montana - The real results are stuck in a cabin with the Unabomber's last letter.

Happily, that leaves quite a few states below us on the list.. Like all the deep South. If I lived in Mississippi or Alabama, I wouldn't want to stretch it out either.

People in Midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois also die quicker than their Alaskan bretheren and sisteren. Guess their factories aren't the only thing rusting out.

And of course, Texas comes up short of Alaska again! I guess if you spend your free time bull riding, steer-roping and generally whoop-ti-doing, you gotta figure the numbers will eventually catch up to you right quick.


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2006

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