DATE: October 22, 2009
TIME: 8:26 p.m.
LISTENING TO: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
Oh, happy dagger!
I think about suicide sometimes. I entertain the thought chiefly for aesthetic or literary purposes so there is no need for much alarm. Like a writer who creates scenes in his mind, I wonder about the many different ways of killing myself.
You see, I am not worried about being dead, for what could be more natural? I, who am dying, the moment I was born?
What concerns me is the dying part -- or rather more precisely, the excruciating pain that I am convinced must accompany the last breath I expel from this body. For I am afraid of pain (and I talk about the grandiose kind, not the dull, gradual sort of ache experienced everyday with each molecule of oxygen that enters the bloodstream or the kind of little death that one suffers each time one falls in love), so I think about how to end my life with the least suffering involved.
How shall I die? For most people there is little choice involved in the matter. It can happen in one’s sleep, or while crossing the street one day, or brought on by disease eating the body from inside out one slow day at a time. It is so certain and yet uncertain at the same time and the only sure thing about it is that one is powerless once that moment of moments comes.
I resolve to be, if not entirely in perfect control, then at least to have the appearance of it, over my own death. Indeed, what could be more empowering than the idea of ending one’s own life? Nay, of choosing the time, place and manner with which to leave this body for the worms to take over?
Yes, worms. They are master of this body and although I am exceedingly fond of my five senses and my four limbs and the life I am so far allowed to live, I am not held back by false sentiment and am perfectly aware that I merely possess this body under contract and live this life under term.
But I digress, so back on the subject of suicide, I have been wondering how best to die. There are the usual methods, of course (wrist-slashing, hanging, drowning, drinking poison), but no matter how I look at it, they all seem to involve that which I seek to avoid in the first place. Would defeat the whole purpose.
I am looking for a way to die artistically. There is nothing artistic about slashing one’s own wrists, and though I know of at least one literary great who killed herself by wading to the middle of a swollen river, weighed down by stones she carried herself, I am ridiculously afraid of holding my own breath. My body will most certainly rebel, attached as it is to the comforts of this present life. No, there will be no dying by drowning for me, nor by hanging or anything else that involves, to some degree, self-asphyxiation.
That leaves poisoning, but the problem with poisons is that they make one feel violently ill first before delivering the fatal blow. Worse still, if one is discovered to have imbibed poison, oh the clamor that follows. I have read on the matter and all the unpleasantness that comes with stomach pumps and antidotes has forever turned me away from that particular mode. Besides, I have it on good authority that all poisons taste vile.
There is the option of sleeping pill overdose and for a while I thought this the most perfect absolutely best way. Won’t it be a lot like falling into a deep sleep, I thought. My consciousness slipping away into slumber slipping away into death-sleep slipping away into endless nothing (and, of course, I‘d hardly be aware of anything by then so feeling nothing shouldn‘t be too bothersome).
Fixed on this idea, the next subject of my meditation was: where to get these pills? Are they available over-the-counter or must I first secure a prescription? What lie must I fabricate to win the sympathies, and more importantly the professional concern, of a doctor who will issue me the necessary document? And then, how much am I expected to spend? For though I am fortunate enough to be able to afford the occasional luxury, I labor under the knowledge that my means are not limitless. How many pills will I need to ensure that I fall into sleep from which I can never hope to wake? Pray, what is the window between normal sleep and the sleep of death? So that I should arrange for solitude during that period and thus ensure no disturbance from the outside world. And finally, let us suppose everything is in order and I have procured for myself the required milligrams of the drug, where shall I commit the deed? For if I must choose the time and manner, then I must equally choose the place, not merely for the sake of principle but of practicality. I am to die; it is not an entirely insignificant life event and I believe I am allowed the selfishness of experiencing it with the least disturbance of mind.
So many questions whirling inside my head, the whole thing has become more complicated than I initially thought. I’d sooner step in front of a speeding car than go through all that muddle one tangle at a time so that the next day people will survey the scene of the incident and at least say, “Oh, look! brains.”
However, no, I will not die by something so…pedestrian. I have been hit by a car before and I assure you, the sensation of having your body suspended in mid-air one moment and feeling all its weight and burden the next is not something I could ever aspire to. The ground is my captor. Let’s let that stand for now. Anyhow, by a stroke of luck, I did not break any bones from my fall that time. Indeed, no injury, except a fabulously bloody scrape on my right elbow, which I used in a vain attempt to resist gravity. Of the impact with metal itself, I bore no dents. The wound on my elbow eventually healed, leaving only an exquisite-looking ugly-beautiful white scar, but the damage had been done and I decided that it’s not a beautiful death that results from the violence of a vehicular accident.
Speaking of violence, I have been toying with the idea of putting a gun to my head and imagining the bullet ripping first through my epidermis, then my skull, through my brain, wiping out all sensations (the intense pressure might cause my eardrums and eyes to pop out), before burning a hole through the other side and spraying the contents of my head behind me -- the wall for canvass, my blood and brain matter for paint. That it should happen so quickly, hopefully without enough time for my nervous system to register the experience, is where the attraction lies. I hear it takes a bit of carpal strength, pulling the trigger, and that is easy enough to develop. Moreover, if the object is instant death, I must do something about the recoil for otherwise I might find myself making the hilariously embarrassing mistake of missing the target at point-blank range.
But as I have previously stated, there is little beauty to be found in such violence and, unless I suffer from a genuine spiritual malaise or some kind of violent emotional affliction, it has no artistic worth. So I will not die today. At least, not by my hand. I take comfort from the fact that it will happen one day. I hope that when the day comes, I am still young (if not of body, then of mind) and quite enjoying myself for then I should ever be glad to have everything stop and freeze that moment in eternity.