[image description: A brown teddy bear with no mouth stands atop a grassy knoll in front of a field of gravestones. A falling star arcs diagonally across the twilit sky (or is it mourning?) behind him. The scythe he’s holding has bisected his adorable head. Top banderole reads “Dying is easy, Comedy is hard”. Lower text reads, “Teddy Burial, The Grin Reaper & Small God of Comedic Death. #124”]
Humans are such short-lived creatures. Did you hear about Gerald? Oh, yes, I did, his poor wife, she must be heartbroken. They’re born and they die, all in the blinking of an eye, and for the divine, there’s no difference in the death of an infant and the death of a venerated elder. Time has no meaning on the other side of the hourglass.
Oh, did you get the news about Carol? Such a tragedy, she was so young, really, and that bulldozer wasn’t even supposed to be in her neighborhood.
Every human death is an inevitable tragedy, and someone will be heartbroken, always. Even the grimmest of misers leaves someone lost to mourning. And for all of that, some deaths are…different. Some deaths fall under a different umbrella, one patterned in polka dots and smiley faces.
Some deaths are, to be blunt about it, absolutely hilarious.
Consider Gerald, devoured by hyenas. It might not have been funny had he been a zookeeper or a zoologist, but as he was an accountant who had decided to become a tightrope walker in his middle age, and begun his new career by walking the thin rail of the hyena enclosure at the zoo, well…
Even his grieving widow had to see the humor, after she finished crying off her supposedly waterproof mascara, anyway.
Or consider Carol, bulldozed to death in her own apartment parking lot, an ending straight out of a children’s cartoon, flattened like a pancake. Or Kathy, who fell through the floor of a medieval bathroom while on her once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scotland, only to discover that the castle employees had been using it for its original purpose. She drowned in effluvia before she could be saved.
Or Charles, pecked to death by ducks, or Margery, or Michael, or…
Wherever a life ends with a giggle instead of a groan, he is there, scythe in hand, ready to close the book on their stories, however ridiculous or rugged they had been.
Because death is funny. Not always, but often enough to be made manifest. Sometimes, anyway.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: