One of the times I tried suicide the rope ended up being too long.
Don’t laugh. This was a tragic miscalculation. After all, I was a math major.
Another time I tried overdosing on what I thought was sleeping pills. Turned out to be aspirin. And soon I was feeling much better.
Of course there was the time I tried jumping from a tall building – with a parachute strapped on … just in case I changed my mind. Naturally I got snagged on one of the structure’s ornate statues of a griffin, that legendary creature being half lion with the head and wings of an eagle.
And as I was resigned to dangling in its talons like he was gonna swoop me home for a family feast, people on the street taunted my ludicrousness; a former friend wanted to know if he could have my set of Taylor Made golf clubs.
Hmm…Don’t waste time killing a man committing suicide.
And then there was the time I pointed a gun at my head… And missed.
And when my bourbon sippin’ Pappy heard about my sharpless-shooting he just exhaled one of his omnipotent puffs on his omniscient corn cob pipe and penned this note: Don’t think of it as misfortune to have such poor aim; think of it as fortunate you have a brain too small to hit.
Obviously I’ve learned to have a sense of humor about myself. Lord knows everyone else does! Because if I had no comic absurdity I would have long ago lost my mental balance and really committed suicide. Or, kept trying. After all, I had already learned that if at first you don’t succeed then perhaps sky diving isn’t for me.
I mean, at my creeping age, after you’ve seen the world shape up as I have, there are only two things you can do: Laugh or kill yourself.
And I am going to die laughing insanely. Because when you stop laughing, you are as good as dead anyway.
What is really killing me these days is all this busy clamor and chatterboxing over suicide, hospice, euthanasia, and such.
I am more concerned about the adults – especially the 23 million ones all but starving to death in North Korea.
Hmm… I don’t think it’s possible to have a sense of tragedy without having a sense of humor. They both require imagination. And never forget that imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
Anyway, what we are struggling with in this here country seems to be a mindlessly aggressive medical world and its ‘war on death.’ Like we ain’t supposed to ever really die.
And actually we never do. Because death is not the end. There is always the litigation. Where there’s a ‘will’ there is always family. And that brings in those venal lawyers and their even more mindless aggression to legitimately stuff the over-medicalization of so-called ‘justifiable-unwanted-care’ wrongfully down an incurable man’s ventilator tube.
As a cigar friend wondered while blowing circles of smoke: If a man can’t have unbridled control over his own body, why should a woman be able to say: No!
We seem to be in a world where the doctors are presuming to know what their patients want – when living is not what many of them really want at all. This has been once again elucidated by an upcoming court case in my vicinity — a dire, 93-year-old, terminally ill man, in hospice care, begging his daughter, a Philadelphia emergency room nurse, to help him overdose on legally prescribed morphine.
The father, a WWII Army vet of the Battle of the Bulge, suffering from most everything, had an advance directive stating his wish to die at home without extraordinary measures. He had designated his daughter medical decision maker authority. He had signed a do not resuscitate order. He wanted to die. He had once before tried to drink a bottle of morphine.
Meanwhile the 57-year-old daughter, her mother, husband and the rest of her entire family have far surpassed duress. She has been charged and released on a $100,000 bond. So far the legal costs have engulfed more than $90,000. Money is non-existent. And she has been suspended without pay from her job. Her husband is working double overtime.
Once again we have lawyers afflicting their determination to misuse ‘law-fooled’ rules legislated mostly by law-schooled fools to piously abrogate the inherent rights of the sick, the dying and the misinformed. Who in the hell has the authority to commandeer the inalienable rights of patients to decide for themselves when they have had enough of being snatched back and yo-yoed from imminent death.
Let me state it emphatically for all you pious handwringers out there afraid of the ‘slippery rope’ and your own indecisive conundrums: There is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.
These matters have no place in the hands of lawyers and courts. Three years of law school does not instill a degree in common sense, not to mention wisdom, ethics, morals and such. Especially when we continue to malfunction under the unscrupulous behavior of 95% of the officers of the court giving the other 5% a bad name.
Lawyers are peculiar folks who often think ‘morals’ are those big paintings on walls, and ‘scruples’ are little more than Russian currency. Unfortunately, lawyers are necessary evils — but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be marginalized. Never forget that any mercenary is merely a pusillanimous purveyor of parsimonious pathos for pay, pay and more pay to play.
Hmm… Now there’s an alliteration…
At the same time, life and death is no technical matter to be stipulated purely by a medical world skilled in providing too much useless, wasteful and futile care.
If anything, my life should be determined by me-the-patient, with a measured dose of input by philosophers, clergymen, salesmen, architects , housewives, senior citizens and the rest of the right stuff with which we allegedly over-stuff our 12-person juries. Each and every one of us should empower all of us to say when enough is enough and I can’t stands no more!
As in: Let me die with dignity. No mas. I am tired, old, fed up and annoyed. How sick and ignoble is it all supposed to be until I serve out my life sentence?
I am not blaming doctors (lawyers are simply genetically incapable.) I am attacking the medical culture and its mega business that is bigger than everything except the corrupt military industry.
Indeed, the medical system is determined to save lives. And that is marvelous as long as it is saving the lives that want to be saved. And are crying out for help.
For instance, consider the data that gay teenagers are four times as likely to attempt suicide as straight ones. I, for one, wish they knew that there’s nothing wrong with them; that they are just a different shade of normal.
Yet where is the public outcry for this cry for help? No doubt indifferently shrugging that no one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.
While medicine has gotten so good at keeping people alive, especially with its technological virtuosity, we have allowed a professional and legal imbalance to crucify the individual’s right to be the pilot-in-command. In other words to live and die as one deems fit – within the very limited confines of a civilized society.
In the pending criminal case I mentioned, the 93-year-old father had told family and hospice workers he had accepted his death and was ready. So what in the name of common decency was there left to decide? Why charge a daughter with killing a fatal father busy committing suicide? In the name of its overcharging profession the Pennsylvania Attorney General is making a martyr for the press, instead humanizing the issue for the rest of us to adopt.
Yes, euthanasia, assisted suicide, et al, is a slippery rope that many hand-wringing folks are desperately praying will be resolved by someone else. And while it is legal merely in a handful of states like Oregon and Washington, as well as a handful of countries like Netherland and Belgium, it seems that the issue of death and our self determination is sort of like cancer was 50 years ago.
People don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to know about it. We are frightened of it. But, paradoxically, we don’t understand why we are fearful when actually these issues are very understandable and are really nothing to fear.
The problem seems to be that the idea of death – the unknown — is as discomfiting as would be identifying the precise day and time you are destined to die. On the one hand we may cavalierly acknowledge that tomorrow isn’t promised. But actually knowing that tomorrow the bell really tolls for thee is to grasp that life really is a fatal disease.
It makes us apprehensive, anxious, despair and so forth… that is until we come to accept it. Make peace with it. And seek to embrace the humanity of the ephemeral moment we have. Instead we’d rather be ignorant. And deluded. Waste precious time. Talk of invincibility.
Reminds me of a bad joke: This dimwit is convicted of murder and gets a choice to die by electrocution, gas, hanging or injected with AIDS. He chooses the needle. And after he is doomed the jail guard wonders why he ever chose to die from AIDS the most painful, agonizing, depleting, convoluted way to expire. Grinning stupidly, the condemned man replies: No problem. I was wearing a condom.
Hmm… Needless to say, he was sorely misinformed.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…