Page 284 of my property law book is similar to others in the book. There is a lot of text and a lot of orange (apparently the highlighter of choice of its former owner). There are dry rules, condensed cases and then there are problems to work out. Most of them sound something like this:
If A and B are joint tenants and B wants to pass on his claim in the property to his heirs but A ... blah .. blah ... and then you fall asleep sometime before you get to the end and hope the professor goes over that particular question in class before the midterm.
So it was a bit of a shock to find this at the bottom of what seemed like it should have been very harmless page 284:
Suppose that A and B are killed while riding in a car struck by a train. When witnesses arrive, there are no signs of life in A; B is decapitated and blood is gushing from her neck in spurts. Does B survive A?
WHAT?!!! I'm sorry -- but there is BLOOD gushing out in SPURTS in this scene and we're concerned about their property rights?!!! Shouldn't we call the authorities? And why is the decapitated person a "she." Why can't we just leave B an "it." We've never ascribed gender or hair color or hobbies or anything else that makes me want to connect with these fake scenario characters so why start now??? Especially if you're just going to kill them off as soon as I become attached? In any case, does the actual spurting of the blood make any difference in this scenario? Is there a legal principle I'm missing here? Maybe if it was only oozing it would change who gets the property. Maybe the spurting is an important legal fact in a property case. Or then again, MAYBE NOT!!! Why couldn't they just have worded the question: A and B die at the same time, who's heirs get the property? Why do I have to know B was decapitated??
It doesn't help that the BYU bells chime oh so sadly "Come, Come Ye Saints" in a minor key as I walk to get lunch. This is the hymn that has the words "And should we die before our journey's through ... happy day! All is well!!" Yes. Let's enthuse students as they walk to class by celebrating death. Law school's hard enough without being reminded the only reason my educational institution exists is because exiled citizens of our nation were willing to bury their children in frozen prairie wastelands with broken spoons to further the cause of their misunderstood religion. I'm going to petition they start chiming "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" or "There is Sunshine in My Soul." Better yet, maybe they could just chime tones to let us know the time like normal clocks. Sigh. I'm not bitter. Just confused.