Steve Irwin's heart was impaled by a sting ray. Princess Diana died while avoiding the paparazzi. Filmmaker Michael Findlay was decapitated by a helicopter blade. And according to Jenna — a 23-year-old with long, straight brown hair and a pair of pink Chuck All-Stars — her icon, David Bowie, will meet his demise thusly:
"One day, just walking down the street, he'll spontaneously combust into a cloud of glitter and be no more."
Edgar Allan Poe might pose the question this way: How would you like to see your personal hero croak? Sure, it's very "Annabel Lee." But it's also a logical thing to ask at Kill Your Idol (218 Española Way, Miami Beach; 305-534-1009), a watering hole that opened in early March. It's a kitschy wonderland adorned with saint candles à la Walgreens, chandeliers constructed out of booze bottles, and a Bruce Lee bust turned sideways on a bright, white, Ikea-inspired shelving unit behind the bar.
Loon Over Miami
Sure, the pub's quirky name is interesting, but the antlered trophy that sings "Doe a Deer" and then yammers about forensics and semen is way more intriguing. And no, it's not a hallucination; they do not dole out absinthe/mushrooms/brightly colored South American frogs at this bar. But they do serve up a microphone that, when spoken into, makes the buck a big-mouth.
The purveyors of the deer's dirty monologue are two inebriated Brits: a white-haired gent named Will and his blond, ruddy-skinned 33-year-old son, Harry. After they finish the jizz jive, I ask Harry whom he'd identify as an idol. The answer: William Shatner.
"Besides the fact that he played Captain Kirk," Harry says, his light-blue eyes bulging, "he has a fantastic way of speaking!"
How would Harry kill him?
He scratches his hairless porcelain chin and says, "Death by sex. He'd contract a fatal STD from a sexy alien lady."
Will chooses Muhammad Ali as his personal Jesus. "I'd do it while his back was turned, from a far distance, with something that would kill him instantly, like a shotgun. Ali is an intimidating man."
He hesitates for a moment and, like his son, scratches his chin.
"Actually, on second thought, he is in a wheelchair now. He can't be that difficult to murder..."
Nice. I move to a couple sitting at the opposite end of the bar. They are engaged in a round of the mentally stimulating fighting game Rock'em Sock'em Robots. Heather is a pretty 26-year-old brunette wearing a fedora and backless black blouse. She has always admired Hunter S. Thompson. Her boyfriend, Dave, a 28-year-old in a wifebeater that shows off his two full sleeves of tattoos, chooses Paul Reubens (AKA Pee-wee Herman).
So, how would she off the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Her brown, heavily lined eyes dart around awkwardly. Perhaps remembering that Thompson ended his life with a shotgun to the head, she declines to answer. Her man chooses suicide for Reubens — "by sexual asphyxiation, David Carradine-style, while Chairry and Pterri watch. The secret word for that day would be climax."
Heather pounds the punching lever for her blue fighting robot. Dave's block is knocked off.
Nearby, Jim studies a vintage jukebox that's filled to the brim with mix CDs made by employees and friends of the bar. He's a tall, lanky, good-looking 30-something with a headful of moppy curls. As a group of giggly girls sitting on a black-and-white damask couch casually eyes him, he names the man whose Tiger Beat posters he'd most like to plaster all over his bedroom walls. "Bill O'Reilly," he says while selecting Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name."
And how would Jim do in O'Reilly? "I'd legalize gay marriage. That would be sure to make his head explode."
Next it's on to the girls. Molly, an elfish-looking 24-year-old with twisted back bangs, seems to confuse "looking up to someone" with "hooking up with someone." Her revered one is Brad Pitt. "He'd die when Angelina literally transforms into a man-eater. Her lady parts will grow teeth and slowly devour him whole."
Then her friend Dominique chimes in: "Or he'll choke on a tin can. Has anyone else noticed the state of his billy-goat beard?"
The freckled-faced, innocent-looking 27-year-old adds, "Personally, I worship Julia Child, so I'd whack her."
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Whack? How Mafioso of a girl who's rocking a baby-pink cardigan and glasses.
"I'd cure her in salt and then poach her in her own fat, making her into a Julia confit."
Then Molly comes back: "I want to change my answer. Although Brad Pitt was really good in Cool World, I admire Ghandi a little bit more... I'd force-feed him the Julia confit during one of his fasts. I saw both Ghandi and Julie & Julia, so I know Julia was a big woman and Ghandi was a small man. He'd die of overeating. You know, just like a fish."
Speaking of aquatic life, I feel the sudden urge to drink like a fish, so I attempt to head for the bar. But Molly keeps talking. As she goes on and on, I think about one of my childhood heroes, Vincent Van Gogh. He may not have killed himself by doing it, but at this moment, cutting off my ear doesn't sound like a bad plan.