Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Suicide is painless.

I got a book for three bucks at Goodwill the other day. It was hard finding something good, let me tell you. Most of the books there are religious, romance or just plain fucking stupid. So when I saw this book by the same guy who'd written "High Fidelity," I snagged it.

It's called "A Long Way Down," and it's about four strangers who meet on New Years Eve, at the top of a fifteen-story building in London. They were all there to kill themselves.

"...At its heart, [it] isn't really about suicide itself, anyway....It's more about what happens when you don't kill yourself."

I thought that sounded like a pretty interesting read. And it is. I'm a little over halfway through, and don't have a bad thing to say about it. My favorite character is not the American musician from Chicago, but the 18-year old, potty-mouthed daughter of a junior education minister. She's a nutjob, but her dialog is at once idiotic, hysterical, touching and insightful.

I'm impatient to get to the end (no pun intended?), but I'm taking my time. They say that suicide is a selfish act (having children, in my opinion, being the second selfish), and I would agree. People who kill themselves, it's all over for them. But anyone they left behind, it's never over for them. They take on all that pain, and more-- because it's so senseless. It's sudden and traumatic and confusing and painful. You're left holding baggage that doesn't belong to you, baggage you never asked for or wanted, but you go through it, over and over again, and you try and make sense of what's inside.

How could you not be angry at the person who dumped that on you? How could you not hate them a little? There is maybe some envy as well; suicide is a selfish act, but it takes courage. It takes strength to go against every natural instinct and take your own life.

Some quotes from the book:

"...shit happens, and there's no space too small, too dark and airless and fucking hopeless, for people to crawl into."

"I like to know that there are big places without windows where no one gives a shit. You need confidence to go into small places with regular customers---small bookshops and small music shops and small restaurants and cafes. I'm happiest in the Virgin Megastore and Borders and Starbucks and PizzaExpress, where no one gives a shit, and no one knows who you are. My mum and dad are always going on about how soulless those places are, and I'm like, Der. That's the point."

That's about it. Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes, and I can take or leave it if I please.

Speaking of a slow death-- time for work. I'm on six days this week, by choice, and wondering if the overtime is actually worth it.

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