Consider this a spoiler. Whitaker's warning. I'm not sure exactly how to put this, but not all of the content of this review is as funny as a blind peConsider this a spoiler. Whitaker's warning. I'm not sure exactly how to put this, but not all of the content of this review is as funny as a blind person slipping on a banana skin. And I say that advisedly.
"Today, I would rather stick a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger than pick up a drink.” James Freud some years ago. Today he killed himself.
1985 I am about to go to London for a couple of years and have the best going away party, it just didn't stop until I got a cab to the airport in the morning. What made it was that we played The Models 'Out of Mind Out of Sight' a million times. Literally with James we danced the night away.
You can make other people happy and yet be unable to live inside the body you were born to.
Where was I? Ah yes, worried I'd do something terrible. So, I did eat a Birmingham Big Mac the next day and when they were pumping my stomach out in Emergency later on they did say the overdose of pills I'd taken probably saved my life. The particular combination I'd taken reacted in such a way with the Big Mac so as to neutralise its effect. They'd never actually been able to save a non-native before who'd eaten a BBM so they made me stay a while under observation which they considered the idea that I'd invented an antidote.
And I recall being very young, maybe seven or so, I'd written a story in which the hero dies and the story closed with him saying 'I am dead'. I showed it to my mother and an argument went on for days in which she took the considered opinion that a person cannot say 'I am dead.' I didn't understand it then and I don't now either. I am dead, the odd effect of a Birmingham Big Mac not withstanding.
Honestly, Alan Beard. You knew I was going to Birmingham. You could have warned me. I guess you just didn't see me as a Big Mac sort of girl.
I wonder if I could be some sort of ad now? Big Mac could save your life.
I'm so scared I'm going to do something terrible, so scared. And I'm really so awfully sorry for writing this here, because I shouldn't, it's a pathetic thing to do and I would sneer at anybody else doing it. But still. There it is.
Has anybody out there reading this ever killed themselves? You know what I mean. There are staged suicide attempts that 'fail'. Well, I'm not saying they fail. Actually my observation is that you can get a lot out of people by staging a suicide. But there are also people out there who genuninely set about killing themselves and by sheer curs-ed luck fail. They must know what it is actually like to kill themselves. Maybe it is different for each person. Maybe some are sure in the knowledge they are doing the right thing at the end when it is just too late to stop and maybe others have a few seconds or minutes or hours to deeply regret their action.
I'm sorry to ask such a prurient question, but I would like to know.
Wherein I am given the opportunity to save a life and do not realise.
Years ago a friend, Geoff, comes to visit me one Sunday evening. 'The trouble with my wife,' he said...'The trouble with my wife is that she doesn't understand death.' The next day was his last.
Oh Geoff. I am so sorry I didn't understand either.
So, I’ve been giving a bit of thought to inventing a phone app recently because my friend Andrea says it will be a good way to make money and in her opinion I need more. I don’t know anything about them, but lately I’ve had a couple of friends fill me in. Noela tells me there is a phone app to make your friends’ voices speak backwards Twin Peaks style. Harry says you can get one that tells you anywhere you are in England the details of men who are up for it that very moment. I don’t want to sound judgmental here, but I’d like mine to be more socially useful and well…
I’ve been looking at the issue of suicide by train in the UK and it’s struck me that it’s a lot more accident-prone – so to speak – than one would expect. I thought it would be simple: you want to kill yourself, you find a train, voila. But in fact lots of people pick trains that are slowing down in stations and that’s not at all an effective way to do it.
Now, I’m assuming that if you jump in front of a train your idea is indeed to kill yourself – if you wanted to stage a suicide attempt, you’d pick a safe poison at a sensible time, for example, not a train. So we are talking about well-intentioned people who mess up. You probably know where I’m going here.
What about a phone app that tells you exactly what to do, a bit like the one that tells you about the men wanting sex. You say where you are, and it tells you exactly where to go via a google map. Go to this point ‘x’ and when the app beeps at you, that’s it. You jump off the bridge, you dash for the side of the platform to throw yourself off.
It has also occurred to me that the whole issue of being successful at killing yourself this way is actually rather mathematical. So the app lets you put in your vital statistics: are you big and fat, small…what are you like at a three yard dash? Then it calculates exactly when you have to go relative to where the train is. It will be hooked up so that the precise running times of the train.
Oh, and a friend suggested this to me. If you didn’t follow through it would start calling you a woose. This is simple logic: if you have followed instructions, the app doesn’t work. It is about as dead as you are…so if it works, it knows you’ve bailed out.
I’ll let you know when it’s up and running.
When I was seven I decided to commit suicide. My chosen method was poison, which I put on bread and ate as a sandwich. I no longer recall whether this was because I thought it was a practical way to ingest it or whether I succumbed to my love of bread and thought a couple more slices before I go.
It couldn’t have been a more complete failure. Nobody even noticed, I can’t even recall feeling sick.
Having thought quite a lot about suicide as a child, I stopped at some point – somebody who had similar experiences wondered if it was about managing to find ways to face the world in a less scared way.
So it takes me aback that just over the last eight months or so it has crept into my mind now and then and I did think that I should write my last letters, just in case, and if somebody reading this could please send them on if the moment comes….
Dear Mandy, I am so, so sorry that I eat Kettle chips all day every day and am fading away whilst you skip meals, never eat breakfast and are the wrong side of plump. Yes, and there is all that cheese and bread and….I just wanted to say, etc etc etc if you are reading this, that although blah blah blah I am as upset about it as you are, and so on and so forth, it isn’t why I decided to end it all. And it isn’t because you made me read HP either.
Dear Alan, Thanks for the thought and please don’t blame yourself. If you are reading this, it isn’t because you didn’t vote for me enough. But you know. Now that we are on the subject, there are a couple of reviews I wrote that I thought were really quite good and never got a vote. I wouldn’t bother now.
So, if somebody would like to vote for my suicide letters that would be very sweet of you. No rush. I’m fine. Really. And, young King, think up your own way to get extra votes. The whole suicide thing is my idea.
The plain fact is that you are going to be so cross when your friend turns up safe, unharmed, alive. He's going to get the rounds of the kitchen 'you utter bastard, how dare you be okay'. But you can't do that. You feel nothing but the softest sympathy. If you don't want to be in yourself, if that is a place in which you can't bear to be, what happens if you walk away, leaving every scrap of your life behind? What happens when you turn up somewhere else, maybe you don't even know where; are you a blank slate, have you changed who you are or only what you are? Or has nothing changed at all, are you still in yourself despite your best efforts to escape.
And here we have another tale of failed suicide.
You are your prison. You can move the prison. You can redecorate the prison. But the only thing you can really do is be at one with your heart. Ask its forgiveness for the anguish it has suffered. Ask it to hold on, please, a little longer. And heart replies you said that before, 'a little longer'. And you bow your head and all you can say is yes, I did, please wait. Heart waits. Heart agrees to stop wanting to be somewhere else. Hearts put up with so much. Heart. Thank you.
So, I have my own tale, I've been thinking about suicide a lot lately, though I didn't mention this to the woman who asked me if I was alright on the bus yesterday, I was weeping, as one does when thinking about suicide, and she asked 'Are you alright?'. Isn't language the most fabulous thing? Of course I wasn't, but of course I smiled and said I was. The question, though, didn't even mean that. The question meant you aren't alone in the world, even complete strangers care and is there anything I can do to help.
I blew my nose and asked her 'Are you on goodreads?'
I could have told her all about it. How Manny had pointed out that all Twilight reviews get lots of votes, and how I wrote mine the other day, but so far only 6 people have voted for it and I had to publicly beg one of them to do so, thank you David. It's like you write practically the best Twilight review ever (which I'm only guessing as I haven't read any others) and you get five voluntary votes and -
She said 'No, what's goodreads?' I thought oh lucky soul, if I could only go back to the time where I too had never heard of goodreads. But I said
'You want to help? Go to www.goodreads.com, open up an account and vote for my Twilight review. That's how you can help.'
She said she would, but she hasn't, I've checked a dozen times since then. People think they want to help, but.
Okay. You want my honest opinion, this is a much better tale of suicide than the ones in this book. Now, please excuse me while I go and check my Twilight votes again. ...more