Reader, think back to one gloriously gruesome incident in S3 of Mad Men, when a rapacious Brit was sent crying (screaming) back to Blighty, feet in hand. Well, many of the tent-pole events in Mad Men are inspired by real life incidents, and I wondered, when in real life did a young man find himself so memorably dismembered in a New York office building? To the interwebs, I say!
Once more, with feeling: "Lost life by stab in falling on ink eraser, evading six young women trying to give him birthday kisses in office Metropolitan Life Building." Poor George S. Millet lost his life in a manner most embarrassing.
Serendipity works in wonderful ways. Thank a filmmaker named Pes for discovering this tombstone in the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. In his post on Cartoon Brew, he linked a New York Times story that gets to the heart of this mysterious indoor impalement. I recommend reading the entire article (the greatest tragedies are marked with the greatest silliness), but here's the pertinent bit:
Yesterday he came down and remarked that it was the anniversary of the wreck of the Maine. He explained that he knew it because the ship had been blown up on his birthday and that he was 15 yesterday.
At once the girls began to tease him. They told him that on such an occasion he deserved a kiss, and every one of them vowed that as soon as office hours were over she would kiss him once for every year that he had lived. He laughingly declared that not a girl should get near him, and was teased about it all day.
As 4:30 o'clock came, and the boy's work was over, the girls made a rush for him. They tried to hem him in, and he tried to break their line. Suddenly he reeled and fell, crying as he did so.
One might say that poor George S. Millet met the real Kiss of Death.
While I cannot be certain that this inspired the great lawnmower incident, it perfectly matches the double bill of hilarity and gore.