“Doctor Reeves, I have a couple questions I need answered before I can file the paperwork you gave me.”; The Medical Examiner’s office clerk remarked.
“Number one… Why is the birthdate listed on the death certificate but not the death date? Number two… Why does it list the ‘patient’ and ‘relative witness’ as the same person? That makes absolutely no sense.”
“This is a VERY unusual case, Eric!”; The coroner replied with a hint of amusement. “The patient is not deceased, as of yet. Therefore I can not legally fill in the D. D. field. He came in last night, hellbent on a mission to ensure that his death certificate paperwork is filled out properly.”
After pausing a moment to allow the startling explanation to sink in, the coroner continued with the unfolding tale.
“As far as I can tell from his perplexing narrative, the man is very concerned that details of his immanent death be recorded accurately. Despite numerous assurances that he is in sound health, he fully expects to die sometime tomorrow! This predicted ending ironically coincides… with his birthday.”
“What? You mean he is planning to kill himself?; The clerk stammered incredulously. “That’s insane! You’ve got to notify the Sheriff about this luna… this, um.. unbalanced person. He sounds like a danger to himself or others.”
“No, no, no.”; The doctor corrected. “He promised that he doesn’t plan on committing suicide or doing anything to bring about the end of his life. I actually had a long talk with him about the reason for his ‘premature visit’ to the morgue. He assured me a half dozen times that he doesn’t want to die, and hopes that it doesn’t happen. According to him, he isn’t depressed either. He says that he wants to live a normal, uninterrupted lifespan.’
“I don’t get it. Why did he come here then?”
“Unfortunately, the man is absolutely convinced that he has no chance of living past tomorrow; regardless of any effort he might try to circumvent this… ‘event’.”
“He has an ultra-rare, ‘Leap Year’ birthday on the 29th. Because of some arcane folklore related to it, he wholeheartedly believes he will die then. According to the omen, it’s all to fulfill a bizarre, cosmic destiny. There was no rational argument I could make to ease his superstitious mind. On March first, I plan to present the unfulfilled death certificate to him, to prove that his fear was unwarranted.”
Eric nodded slowly; while trying to take it all in. Several times he had to suppress the desire to interrupt the spellbinding tale; or to point out how irrational the man’s death prediction sounded.
The doctor continued; “He’s appears to be an extremely superstitious gambler. I can tell that he is obsessed with grand risk taking and betting on the greatest of odds. The patient explained his bleak prediction by pointing out that with most people, there is a 365 to 1 chance they will die on the same day they were born. That part at least makes sense, right?”
“Well, yeah. It may be factually true but who obsesses about when they are going to be a ‘guest’ in one of the ‘cold room’ drawers?”; Eric rationalized with a grimace of distaste. “That’s beyond morbid.”
“From the greatest rarity of his birthday only occurring once every four years, he has surmised that ‘the grim reaper’ will take him, tomorrow.”