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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Call the Coroner: The Coroner's Dead

Ah, let the dead munchkin jokes begin.

"And he's not only merely dead,
He's really most sincerely dead."

They'll probably carve that on Meinhardt Raabe's fucking tombstone, the poor bastard. The Coroner of Munchkinland died on Friday at the Penney Retirement Community, where lots of old bastards go to die, presumably. And Meinhardt Raabe was certainly old-- 94.

It's like the last of the Titanic survivors dying-- kind of. Or the last of the WWI vets dying-- kind of. Or the Holocaust survivors-- kind of. But not. I suspect this is the way I'll feel when all of the Golden Girls die. I mean, I was pretty bummed when Bea Arthur died. Now those "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Bea?" t-shirts just don't seem quite as funny to me anymore.

Anyway, getting back to Meinhardt Raabe, he's dead. And it's funny, because he was the coroner. I wonder if Raabe, who lived a hell of a long time, ever entertained notions that he might somehow be immortal or otherwise invincible because he was perhaps the most famous celebrity coroner of all times, that he would somehow be given a free pass by the Almighty.

I mean-- that hat: n'yah mean? Special.

Death must come as rather a surprise to some morticians and coroners. I mean, it must be rather like being a dog trainer and then coming home to seeing your dog throwing up on itself whilst hate-fucking your throw pillows. Like-- they're thinking to themselves: that's not supposed to happen to me!

But I think Meinhardt Raabe knew the void was coming for him. He seemed like he was a pretty sharp guy, according to his obituary, which I read in the New York Times because I'm so fucking smart. Raabe was smart too: a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, M.B.A. from Drexel University, and a World War II veteran, serving in the Civil Air Patrol.

I'll bet his tiny old uniform would sell for a bitchload on Ebay.

He also served for 30 years as a spokesmidget for Oscar Mayer pigdicks, tooling around in the Weinermobile, hocking stronguls (don't you love it when books & articles italicize foreign-looking words, but never define them? Me too.) to the innard-loving American populous. Was there anything this dude didn't do? He sure packed a lot of living into that little body.

Actually, it wasn't even that little. He was one of the tallest shorties in the film. At his tallest (in his early thirties) he was 4'7". That's a pretty big deal for someone with dwarfism.

Obviously, at 94, he'd probably shrunk quite a bit. Is it wrong of me to wonder (and write about wondering) whether his descendants bought him a kid's coffin? It's probably cheaper. I've got to say, if my dad was a dwarf-- I'd do it.

If you're a human being who's alive today, The Wizard of Oz had a profound effect on you-- and don't even try to comment on here and tell me it didn't, because I can smell bullshit as clearly as I can feel an Oscar Mayer weiner being shoved up my cornhole. My oldest sister was born in 1967, and her favorite movie, to this day, is The Wizard of Oz. If I told her that Meinhardt Raabe was dead, or if she read either The New York Times or my blog (I think, if you consistently read both, you are automatically eligible to participate in any number of medical experiments at local teaching hospitals) she would probably lock herself in her room and not come out for a week.

In 7th grade, she played The Tin Man in her school's production of The Wizard of Oz. She can't sing for shit, so maybe they had her voice dubbed. Meinhardt Raabe claimed, in his autobiography that his voice was dubbed, so anything's possible.

I remember, years ago, for my sister's birthdays, I got her a special, commemorative release of "The Wizard of Oz". It came with this huge booklet of information about the film, and it revealed that many of the munchkins were of German descent, and that a good number of them had a soft-spot for alcohol. I can imagine that someone who stands at under four foot tall might not hold their liqour particularly well, and this suspicion was confirmed by the informational packet that said some of the munchkins took to screaming drunken profanities at the director, and that one of them fell headfirst into a toilet.

It's hard to imagine the dignified, blue-robed, goateed coroner toddling around all beschmoigied on Schnapps, goose-stepping his sloshed way into a shitbowl but, again, I guess anything's possible.

I wonder what Meinhardt Raabe said when he found out that Judy Garland had died. He was seven years older than Judy Garland, and yet he outlived her by 41 years. I wonder if he just couldn't resist saying,

"As coroner,
I must aver,
I thoroughly examined her,
And she's not only merely dead,
She's really most sincerely dead!"

I'll bet he said that-- to somebody at least, maybe his wife. I'm sure he thought it, at least.


  1. Alcohol = elixir of life.

    Just ask my 93 year old grandmother.

  2. I've never seen The Wizard of Oz... is this a travesty of some sort?

  3. A fine tribute to one of the world's finest actors...


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