Worked to Death

By Scott LaFee

April 1, 2020 5 min read

The suicide rate among working-age Americans (ages 16-64) is increasing; in 2017, nearly 38,000 persons died by suicide.

The demographics, however, are quite diverse. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued a new report that found among men, workers in the fishing and hunting trades had the highest suicide rates, followed by musicians and singers. Among women, artists were first, followed by laborers and others involved in freight.

By industry, those in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction were most likely to die by suicide, followed by those in construction and other services, such as auto repair.

Body of Knowledge

The places where your upper and lower eyelids meet (the outer and inner corners of the eye) are each called a canthus. Plural: canthi.


16: Average number of minutes physicians spend working on each patient's electronic health record per visit.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

Mania of the Week

Dermatillomania: excessive picking at one's skin

Stories for the Waiting Room

Children born to mothers who both drank and smoked beyond the first trimester of pregnancy have a 12-fold increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome compared with those unexposed or only exposed in the first trimester of pregnancy, according to a new study supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Best Medicine

First woman: Today, I bought a cupcake without sprinkles.

Second woman: So?

First woman: I'm just saying, diets are hard.


"Live in rooms full of light. Avoid heavy food. Be moderate in the drinking of wine. Take massage, baths, exercise and gymnastics. Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water. Change surroundings and take long journeys. Strictly avoid frightening ideas. Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements. Listen to music." — Aulus Cornelius Celsus, Roman encyclopedist known primarily for his medical work "De Medicina" (25 B.C.-A.D. 50)

Medical History

This week in 1933, the first human-to-human kidney transplant was achieved in a six-hour operation by Ukrainian surgeon Yurii Voronoy. A female patient was admitted with acute mercury intoxication (after a suicide attempt by taking poison) but did not respond to conventional treatment. A male patient had just died from a basal skull injury. The cadaver kidney was implanted in the thigh of the woman and connected to blood vessels at the site. It excreted urine until the second day after the operation, but a mismatch of blood types resulted in organ rejection and the female patient died.

Perishable Publications

Many, if not most, published research papers have titles that defy comprehension. They use specialized jargon, complex words and opaque phrases like "nonlinear dynamics." Sometimes, they don't and are still hard to figure out. Here's an actual title of a published research study: "Human face recognition in sheep: lack of configurational coding and right hemisphere advantage."

In 2001, researchers at The Babraham Institute (not Baa-baa-ham) in the U.K. were curious to know if sheep could recognize the faces of familiar humans. It was found that, in fact, they could most of the time, even better than they recognized the faces of other sheep (which, honestly, all look alike).

The findings suggest glimmers of consciousness in sheep and further proof that you can pull the wool over their eyes.


Q: Where is your digitus secundus?

A: If you pointed to your index finger, correct for half a point. Technically, that's your digitus secundus manus. You get another half-point if you pointed to your second or long toe (digitus secundus pedis). Bonus point if you figured out how to point to both at the same time.

Fit to be Tried

There are thousands of exercises, and you've only got one body, but that doesn't mean you can't try them all:

The bear crawl requires only space to, well, crawl. It's a total body workout. Begin with hands and knees on the ground. Then, rise up onto your toes, keeping your knees bent. Slowly move the right side of your body forward, starting with reaching your right arm forward, with right leg following. Repeat with the left side of the body. Pick up the pace as you become accustomed to the motion.


"I SEE DUMB PEOPLE" — Tombstone of Micah G. Green (1985-2001)

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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