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Take the Pipe

Posted by Bob on February 19, 2007

In Reply to: Take the Pipe posted by Bruce Kahl on February 18, 2007

: : : : Where does "Take the Pipe" come from? It means to die (aka "Kick the bucket").

: : : : Thanks for your help

: : : Just a guess but maybe suicide by gas pipe?
: : : Homes at one time had gas that contained large amounts of CO which could displace oxygen in your bloodstream.
: : : Or maybe take the exhaust pipe of an automobile?

: : Umm... I'm not sure what gas pipes bring into British homes, but usually carbon monoxide (CO) is the result of incomplete burning of what ever fuel is brought in rather than a contaminant of the original fuel. Breathing concentrated methane or propane doesn't have the same effect of breathing small amounts of CO, but it can deprive you of oxygen - and if it doesn't, there's always the explosion afterwards (^_^).

: From:

: "During the 1950s, about half the people who killed themselves in the U.K. used domestic gas, which contained lethal amounts of carbon monoxide (CO). This was known as "putting your head in the gas oven." In the 1960s, gas began to be made from oil instead of coal. The new gas had less CO and the number of gas suicides began to decline. By 1968, only about 20 percent of suicides involved gas. This is when a second change began: manufactured gas was replaced by natural gas from the North Sea. Natural gas contains no CO and is almost impossible to use for suicide. By the mid-1970s, less than 1 percent of suicides in the U.K. used this method."

There's a running theme in "Death of a Salesman" about Linda finding the rubber hose near the gas pipe, picking it up and putting it back, unable to confront Willy about his suicidal tendencies.