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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 

Suicide Is [Not] Painless


Reading today's news, I saw that a guy in California caused the worst train wreck in our country in five years or so. This dipshit parked his SUV on the tracks, after stabbing himself and slashing his wrists, because he was suicidal. Then, as the train approached, he changed his mind and jumped out. Ten people died and about a hundred and eighty were injured in the resulting collision.

This adds credence to my position that suicide is the stupidest fucking thing you can attempt.

Mind you, this is coming from someone who has been suicidal. There were a couple of times in my life, long ago now, when I spent hours sitting on the edge of my bed, contemplating it. I even made a really moronic attempt to strangle myself by tying my tie real tight. Not effective.

All that was a long, long time ago. In addition to the fact that I've just been a generally happier person in the ten years since I met my wife (which, given the evidence on this blog, tells you how cranky I used to be), I've just seen enough over the years to conclude that you've gotta have a head filled with rotting coleslaw to think it's a good idea to kill yourself.

I worked for a long time in an industry that brought me in contact with people who'd attempted suicide and fucked it up. I worked with more than one person who had attempted to shoot themselves and had, instead, ended up with horribly mangled faces that they then had to live with. I worked with one kid who'd basically destroyed their digestive system because they'd attempted to off themselves with Drano on several occasions and had to eat through a tube for pretty much ever. I worked with another kid who had to live with a tracheostomy after a failed hanging had ruined their trachea.

This stuff alone had led me to the conclusion that there are just no guarantees that you're gonna succeed. And if you live through it, there's a pretty good chance you're going to fuck yourself up in the process.

Additionally, think about the fact that everyone--everyone, fucked-up shithead though they may be--has at least someone who cares about them. There are definitely times when we can't see that. There are definitely times when it doesn't feel like that. But, unless you are living your life on a remote desert island and every person you've ever known is dead and you come into contact with not a living soul, your life touches someone else's life. I hate to go all Capra on you there, but it's a goddamn fact.

How many people who slip into a bathtub with a razor blade or close the garage door on their running car stop to think about the poor schmuck who's gonna stumble across them and then have to deal with it? It's just so astronomically inconsiderate. It's kind of the most narcissistic thing you could ever do.

I think the only real exception to that is if you're a Samurai. If you have dishonored your self and your employer and your moral code demands that you kneel on the mat and commit harai karai, then okay. Otherwise, you're a selfish dick.

And it's so goddamn ridiculous because, as Mister Train Wreck proves, the inclination to kill yourself passes. It's temporary. You come to the realization that Mary Beth wasn't the only thing making your life worth living. You suddenly see that the pressure your parents are putting on you to be the greatest flobotomist in the world is only as strong as you let it be. You sober up. The suicidal mood will go away. But taking the step of actually making the attempt doesn't. It's with you as long as the scars or the feeding tube or the hole in your throat.

So don't fucking do it. Call a friend. See a shrink. Watch Young Frankenstein. Pet your dog. It's been clinically proven that you can't kill yourself if your dog is licking your face. Just doesn't work.

See, here at Hairshirt, we realize that you only get the most out of your misery if you're alive to get it. Stay miserable. Stay alive

Comments:
A guy at home attempted to kill himself by laying on the train tracks. The train ran over him alright. Cut both legs clean off. I wonder what his first thoughts were when he woke up in the hospital room?
 
In my line of work, I've seen some pretty weird/stupid shit that people have used successfully to kill themselves. I have many stories to tell on the topic. Joe, I agree. None of these people ever thought about me when it came to "cleaning up the mess." (they couldn't tell me, even if my feelings were considered before they committed the deed) Although I was never actually the one who handled the "mess", I was certainly involved in the patchwork of efforts to resolve the hows and whys of their demise. Believe me. The mess caused by Mr. Train will make all other messes from suicide attempts and failures seem like a Full House episode.
 
A poignant moment from Hairshirt. . . I have now, officially, seen everything.

Great post, Joe.
 
I can only think of M*A*S*H, though.
 
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