Tag Archives: suicide

Google Game: Easiest

We all have goals, we just don’t want to work too hard to reach them. Indeed, we want the easiest way to get where we’re going — and the easiest way to figure out what the easiest way is. So it stands to reason that we’d seek the existential paths of least resistance as we’d look for the best routes to avoid traffic after a long weekend: Google. What are we hoping to achieve in the easiest possible ways? New skills. A smaller waist and a bigger paycheck. A good looking site, a better looking suit. The easiest way out.

Aw, man. Easiest way to kill oneself? Seriously? That’s such a freaking downer. I mean, it’ s bad enough that there are so many people out there contemplating suicide. But it’s a whole new level of sad that they’re searching Google for the best ways to do it. So much for going out with dignity.

As you can imagine, the search results for “easiest way to kill oneself” contain some rather disturbing tidbits, like this forum discussion on a game developer website. Oh, nerds. Then there’s the creepy Wikipedia summary divided into Bleeding, Drowning, Suffocation and Electrocution. But I think the thing that strikes me most is down, down, down at the bottom of the page, where Google presents its selection of “related searches.” Among them: “cheapest way to kill yourself.” I’m all for thrift, but if there’s one thing to blow your wad on, it might as well be this.

To Sleep, Perchance to Import

Fantasy author Terry Pratchett published an op-ed in the UK’s Daily Mail last week arguing for the legalization of suicide. I’ll set aside for now the myriad reasons, simple and existential, why I agree with Mr. Pratchett. I’ll even abstain from veering off on an elaborate imagination of two constables arresting a man for suicide and the inevitable weekend-at-Bernie’s hilarity that would ensure during the court proceedings.  (“Bollocks! The powdered wig keeps falling off his head!” “Don’t be daft, hand me that stapler!”)

Pratchett, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago, wrote a piece that is personal, thoughtful, and at moments, poetic:

We are being stupid. We have been so successful in the past century at the art of living longer and staying alive that we have forgotten how to die. …Now, however, I live in hope – hope that before the disease in my brain finally wipes it clean, I can jump before I am pushed…

He describes the way he wants to go, : sitting in his garden with a glass of brandy, and “Thomas Tallis on the iPod.” What could be a more romantic end than in an English garden enjoying the last taste of your chosen poison? And what could be less romantic than an iPod? (Only an 8-track, I’d venture.)

Technology changes, and the vestiges of ages past take on a romance of their own, simply for their being part of our past. But there’s something so sadly disruptive about an mp3 player working its way into Pratchett’s tragic tableau. Like trying to be taken seriously while crying in a monkey costume.

Stop laughing! Im really upset here!

No, a banana will not make it all better. Quit asking me that.

I think being distressed looked a whole lot cooler in the old days. Huddling around a cabinet radio, or in front of your town’s one television store to hear the latest news of the war represents a situation’s gravity in a way that following Twitter never will. And slamming down a three pound telephone receiver is so much more dramatic than angrily — but ever so gently — pressing END with your right thumb. And for my money, nothing will ever be quite as sad as the way it sounds to reach the end of the first side of a mix tape from your ex. Eject, flip, close, play, weep.

When my eternal mix tape reaches the end of its spool, I hope there’s no Apple logo in the coroner’s photos.

But I also intend, before the endgame looms, to die sitting in a chair in my own garden with a glass of brandy in my hand