Live and let die

June 2, 2006 at 12:28 am (Uncategorized)



I had this buddy who came around one day boasting that he had learned of the perfect means of suicide. It was totally painless, he said, and nearly fail safe. All a despondent or terminally ill person had to do was to open up his cupboards and…

But that was as far as he'd go. No amount of coaxing would get him to cough up the information. It wasn't that there were many depressed or suicidal members of our hard drinking group. We preferred to kill ourselves by the ounce in a liquid death that would take several decades to complete. My friend did not want to share this macabre information because it was his heartfelt belief that the fewer people who knew about it, the better.

finalexit.jpgVery noble. And very pointless. Around the same time, the press started screaming about a controversial book titled "Final Exit," a handbook, more or less, on the how-to's of suicide. It was subtitled "The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance" and its publication set off a fierce debate. On one side of the screaming bout were those who believe that suicide is an individual right that should be afforded the men and women who suffer in pain from incurable afflictions. On the other side were those who insisted that "Final Exit" was an irresponsible instruction manual that would no doubt lead to the pointless deaths of young people and older folks who abandoned alternatives in favor of the quick and now pain free mortal solution.

Either way, "Final Exit" became the hot button issue of the day and subsequently, sold a billion damn copies. In it, a person could find the playbook for ending it all with drugs or household chemicals while using a simple plastic bag as a back up.

Soon there was a face to go with the book cover and catchy title as the Right to Death debate roared evenkevork1.jpg louder. There was Dr. Jack Kevorkian with his death gizmos and contraptions and — let's face it — a gauntness and pallor that would make the reaper cringe. The shouting over the issue rises and falls like thunder, but it always comes back. There will always be human beings who are depressed to the point of debilitation or ill and pained beyond the reaches of even the most advanced medicine.

Final Exit will always be there with its coldly clinical examination of the mechanics of suicide. Dr. Kevorkian will likely be the face of the disagreement for generations to come. In the meantime, the issue will split even the tightest of friends: is suicide a travesty and a mortal sin? Or a practical solution for insolvable agonies as natural as lemmings hurling themselves to the death of the ocean?



  1. Martha said,

    I believe suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness, but a mortal sin? No.

  2. jarheaddoc said,

    Isn’t suicide supposed to be an instant ticket to Hell? I have always been told that the worst thing you can do is not beleive in god, and the second worst is killing yourself, which is throwing God’s omnipotence back in his face.

  3. Martha said,

    JH, the Catholic Church and perhaps some other’s teach that suicide is a mortal sin. That teaching is based on the “traditions of the church” not scripture.

  4. Mainetarr said,

    jh, we are in for another hot one. lnstead of sitting in gum, put some powder down there, you know what l mean? Just think Dunkin Munchkins.

  5. Bulldog said,

    Alot of people think suicide is for cowards. I, for one, used to believe that. But, after thinking about it, these people have balls. I mean, how can they be a coward if they put a gun to their head and pull the trigger OR put a rope around their neck — it’s not cowardly at all…. selfish, yes- cowardly, no.

    I know a few people who’ve committed the tragic act. I don’t believe in suicide. It’s a final act… as I used to say: Suicide- a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    It’s wrong. period. (and I too was raised believing that suicide was a ticket to hell. Taking the life that God gave you to live was the ultimate sin)

  6. K2 said,

    Suicide is selfish if the person isn’t terminally ill or hopelessly depressed, like if somebody’s whole family was murdered or something, I could see not wanting to live.

    But when ‘basic’ depression takes people to the edge, it is a selfish act. The family and friends who have to live on with the sadness of one’s suicide is a life sentence for them.

    Anyhow, I’m still mad at Hunter S. Thompson for killing himself. I’ll get over it, but it’ll take years.

    Regardless, I certainly don’t believe in life for the sake of life. If there’s no quality of life, than, to me, life is over anyway.

    Back to Josey Wales: ‘Dying ain’t hard. It’s living that’s hard.’

  7. Bulldog said,

    When Kurt Cobain killed himself, my son was devastated (Kurt, to him, was the ultimate song writer). To ease his pain, I purchased 2 birds- can’t remember what they were, but he named them Kurt and Courtney. Well, we woke up one day to find that Kurt had committed suicide!!! He tried to get out of the cage via his food dish and died right there of suffocation or something!!

    My son can laugh about it now (although I think it still freaks him out) but it was not funny at the time. Coincidence, maybe. But those 2 birds would fight like they were Kurt and Courtney Cobain AND after Kurt died, Courtney went out of control. Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmm

  8. jarheaddoc said,

    For all those of you who have sunk your vicious fangs into my ass over that ‘parts of me sticking together’ comment: it wasn’t gum, and I would much rather stench in a manly fashion than smell like a freshly powdered baby’s ass or a woman’s armpits. Sweating is nature’s way of telling you a lot of things, covering it up with baby powder is man’s way of telling himself he can control nature.

  9. Linda said,

    O-kay. No baby powder, we’ve got it.

  10. jarheaddoc said,

    MT, my caffeine just kicked in and I realized the double entendre in your statement. It’s more like Raisinets, regardless of how big all of you think my testicles are in this blog.

  11. jarheaddoc said,

    The American Hemlock society protested the reformulation of gasoline on the idea that the fumes from the new gas didn’t contain enough of the stuff needed to kill a person. Talk about being stupid in public. The tree huggers fired back this shot: but it’s better for the trees, and trees make oxygen, which helps you live. Talk about being a fucking idiot in public!

  12. K2 said,

    No, no, this time o’ year, a man’s got to powder his pups, I’m tellin’ ya. Pure cornstarch goodness.

  13. "The Weasel" said,

    Suicide Is Painless
    by Johnny Mandel

    Through early morning fog I see
    visions of the things to be
    the pains that are withheld for me
    I realize and I can see…

    That suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    I try to find a way to make
    all our little joys relate
    without that ever-present hate
    but now I know that it’s too late, and…

    The game of life is hard to play
    I’m gonna lose it anyway
    The losing card I’ll someday lay
    so this is all I have to say.

    The only way to win is cheat
    And lay it down before I’m beat
    and to another give my seat
    for that’s the only painless feat.

    The sword of time will pierce our skins
    It doesn’t hurt when it begins
    But as it works its way on in
    The pain grows stronger, watch it grin, but…

    A brave man once requested me
    to answer questions that are key
    “is it to be or not to be?”
    and I replied “oh why ask me?”

    ‘Cause suicide is painless
    it brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    …and you can do the same thing if you choose.

  14. K2 said,

    Black capsule. Definitely black capsule.

  15. jarheaddoc said,

    There’s the little black pill that special operatives are supposedly given that they can take and be dead in about ten seconds, some form of cyanide, I guess. It was supposed to be attached to the inside of their mouths with a special adhesive. I hate would have the habit of chewing the inside of my mouth with one of those little babies in there, but that glue would probably hold anything except a bad marriage together!

  16. jarheaddoc said,

    A man in a large city finally finds the perfect woman, except he cannot stand her dog. One night while she is in the kitchen, the dog brings the ball to the man, and he thorws it, noticing that the dog will chase it. He throws the ball out the window and the dog follows it. the woman is horrifed to find this out and the man says, “That dog always did seem a little suicidal to me.”

  17. Linda said,

    I’m just checking in over lunch break, looking for a laugh in the middle of a crappy day. No dice, eh? No worries mates, but I’ll be staying away from bridges, sharp knives and large bottles of barbiturates after reading this!

  18. Robert said,

    Suicide? Craps and I though you were talking about those folks on Lincoln Street who live Sewer Side….damn, now what am I gonna do? personally I think it would be more telling had flamer asked all of us our chosen method of suicide.

  19. LaFlamme said,

    Son of a… Now I have the MASH theme in my head.

  20. Linda said,

    Candy is dandy
    But liquor is quicker.

    Wait, that might not be suicide .. or again, I guess it might

  21. jarheaddoc said,

    Uh, I think that might be a way for a man to access a woman’s favors a little quicker, Linda. And it could certainly be a suicidal approach, too, depending upon the participants….

  22. Linda said,

    yes that’s what I meant, jd

  23. AO said,

    Speaking of liquor. Is it beer o’clock yet?

  24. Linda said,

    It is at my house!

  25. AO said,

    Ohh..I’ll be right over! What are you serving?

  26. Linda said,

    I’m right out of beer AND sauv blanc so — falling back on the other favourite, Yellow Tail shiraz-cab. I’ll get out a glass for you AO

  27. Linda said,

    and since my husband’s away and I’m cooking my own dinner, can you get here for couscous with shrimp and tomatoes? (I’ll spare you the recipe, we did that earlier in the week)

  28. AO said,

    Wow. Sounds great! I’ll bring some wine!! 🙂

  29. AO said,

    Tell me Linda, did you rent any good movies to watch while your husband is away? If I know my husband is going to be around I’l rent a couple “chick flicks”. Ha. Even if he is going to be around, I’ll still rent them.

  30. Linda said,

    Shit, I knew I forgot something on the way home. *temporary slowdown on wine until movies are rented and car safely back in driveway*

  31. AO said,

    Well, maybe you can find something good to watch on regular ol’ tv.

  32. AO said,

    Red Sox’s are on tonight!

  33. Linda said,

    Ah, you’re probably right. I have a pretty full agenda this evening already, and then tomorrow I’ll only have to go to the transfer station, walk the dog, sort my mother out, score food and movies, buy some graduation presents, and then check out for the rest of the day. (we don’t have trash pickup in Wilton that’s the reason for task #1, don’t you love it?)

  34. AO said,

    Sounds like you’ve got a very busy day planned. You do know that it’s supposed to rain, don’t you?

  35. Linda said,

    That’s why my list is as short as it is! I redlined laundry, yard work, washing the porch windows, and a few other fair-weather tasks.

  36. AO said,

    Okay. I’ve just procured a bottle of wine from the store and, it’s now chilling in my freezer. I’m ready for the night. I just need to figure out what’s for supper. Maybe I’ll go with Bulldog’s old stand by of macaroni & cheese with hot dogs. 🙂

  37. K2 said,

    Come on, we all know that Bulldog lives on edible undies and tequila.

  38. AO said,

    I’ve heard it’s edible undies and Captain Morgans.

  39. Mainetarr said,

    Ah yes, Bulldog and the Captain. Long friendship there….Welcome back Bulldog. We sure did miss you.

    What is for supper tonight? Hmmmm, couscous sounds really good, Linda. I always have 10 or so boxes of that in my pantry. I am so exhausted I don’t even feel like cooking, which is rare for me! Yawn… I need to go get groceries when Chris gets home. I just can’t bear to leave Milo alone for one second more than I have to. Gawd!! He is doing great..NO, yes, that’s right, NO accidents in the house. He is going on the piddle pad EVERY TIME!!!! Unless of course he is outside. He pretty much goes on demand now. Am I proud? You bet ya!

    And JH, stop talking about your munchkins. It’s a picture I don’t need in my head. Shithead.

    K2, corn starch does the trick for you? hee hee

    AO, come drink some wine with me!!

  40. LaFlamme said,

    Okay, you hard drinking lush bags. Anybody have experience with the lovely concoction known as Night Train?

  41. AO said,

    You’re too tired to drink wine, MT. I’d end up drinking by myself….as usual! I’m so glad to hear that Mr. Milo is doing so well! I’m such a proud aunt!

    Right now, I’m resting my very dog tired feet and, legs. I’m sipping on a glass of chard hoping to relieve the pain..yeah…thats it…uh-huh. Chard is my cure all. It will kill any pain I have till…tomorrow. But, then I always think…Hey, free beer…tomorrow!! 😉

  42. AO said,

    Night Train? Does that have gin in it??

  43. Linda said,

    That’s one smart puppy MT!

    So is everyone drinking wine tonight? and if AO goes to your house, looks like she better bring a raincoat

  44. AO said,

    I’m in for the evening. But, I do have a raincoat handy! No…it’s not a Trojan! And, yes, it IS Friday! So, it’s wine for me. One of my wine guys brought me a bottle of wine called “Kelly’s Revenge”. I’ll let you know how it is. I haven’t opened it yet. Sure wish I could get a bottle of wine with “AO’s Revenge” on the label!

  45. LaFlamme said,

    That’s absolutely right, AO. Free beer tomorrow. You know? You’re the only one who really got that concept.

  46. jarheaddoc said,

    I am just having the one big can of beer. I have to work tomorrow and I don’t want to be hungover and even less civil than usual. You guys have fun and I won’t be offended if you don’t think of me while you’re getting soused.
    And MT, you’re just mad that I caught that little thing about munchkins. be careful waht you ask for, MT, you just might get it: IT’S CALLED TMFI, ya fucken hoser!

  47. Linda said,

    AO, I just love the concept of “wine guys.” You often mention them. I get this picture that’s probably all wrong. Suave, “lounge lizard” types, always light a woman’s cigarette and move with sweeping gestures. Somewhat self-absorbed but able to make great conversation on most any subject. Sees all the curent movies. On the cellphone a lot but always makes eye contact with you across the table while he’s taking a really important call.

    Am I anywhere close? Somehow I doubt it.

    My life is peoped more with a type I think of as “lager louts.” You’re welcome to form your own mental image if you like. Probably you’ll be more accurate than I was.

  48. Linda said,

    In a way I wish I could “suggest removal” of that whole wine guy post. You know — never mind, OK?

  49. jarheaddoc said,

    Linda, for you, a new definition of TMI: totally misguided imagination. The wine guy is actually six foot six and never got rid of his acne, looks like Lurch, really thick glasses, and can hum a wine menu as he galumphs down the road. At least that’s what the one around here looks like.

  50. jarheaddoc said,

    Linda, that guy is a gigolo.

  51. AO said,

    I have some very nice wine guys, Linda. Not one of then has ever offered to “light my cigarette” though. My favorite got switched to a different route and, I’m still bumming about it because he brought me free samples every week! The guy that replaced him is..okay. He brought a “jug” of wine that read: “Red” on the label, today. husbands drinking it right now beacause…as he put it…It’s free! But….I gotta tell you…I LOVE MY WINE GUY’S! Especially when they bring me samples.

    So, Mark, does that drink you mentioned earlier have gin in it?

  52. Linda said,

    jd, nothing wrong with TMI. Anyhow jeez, you may be right, but you don’t need to start calling them names.

  53. AO said,

    JH…I have really cute..”Wine Guys”. None of them look like Lurch. AND…I have really cute “Beer Guys”…well, except for one.

  54. Linda said,

    See jarheaddoc, now you’ve hurt AO’s feelings by calling her wine guys bad names. And mine, but making fun of my imaginings. Where’s your sensitivity?

    AO, it’s no wonder your wine guys love you; we all do, why wouldn’t they?

  55. jarheaddoc said,

    I said the one down here. Soooorrrreeee if I offended anyone’s fragile sensibilities. And i was just using the proper term for what you described, Linda! I thought about using the male form of ‘bimbo’, which is ‘himbo’, but it just didn’t sound right!

    And the beer dude down here doesn’t look all that many days from his last stint in prison.

  56. Linda said,

    AO and I aren’t really fragile and sensitive, are we AO? Just kidding. Jeez, now who’s getting offended easy?

    I’ve known a lot of guys who acted like that in the pub after work, but they all at least claimed to make their living in the business world. That might be one of the things I DON’T miss about city life: men in suits, working the room.

  57. AO said,

    I’m not fragile at all. Sensitive…some days. None of my “Wine Guys” wear suits. I’d be very put off if they did.

  58. jarheaddoc said,

    I’m not offended*sniff, quiver of at least the lower lip* I’m just off my meds. *big Alligator tear*

  59. Linda said,

    Christ, if I thought I was going to offend ONE MORE PERSON today, I’d never have said a thing. I seem to be developing a knack for it. My big worry is that I’ll get to like it, you know?

  60. jarheaddoc said,

    Linda, don’t you just hate it when the world seems to have a case of the ass for you, and none, or very little, of it, is you’re fault? I have determined that it is just my existence that offends people on those days, and regardless of what I do, I will be wrong, I will be the object of their ire, and I will just have to suffer through it, because the worm does indeed turn, and those assholes will get their due at some point in time, and hopefully I will be there to witness it and laugh insanely while hollering, “glad it’s not me this time!”

  61. jarheaddoc said,

    And those are the days that you want to choke someone to death, then place the nads of the body around the throat of the newly departed and not at all missed and hope like hell the coroner says, “Looks like a suicide to me.”

  62. jarheaddoc said,

    I meant to say hands, not nads, though that might not be such a bad thing, too!

  63. Martha said,

    JH… yeah, I”ve been thinking that AGAIN about my neighbor.. Today they had EVERY kid in the neighborhood over there SCREAMING in the pool, and never even invited my grandsons to join them.. Someday, someone will treat their grandkids the way they’ve treated mine, then we’ll see how much they like it. Other than that, the day has been pretty uneventful. Working on a quilt I’m making, and making good progress on it. Amazing what you can get done when you just sit down and do it. Going to bed soon, been a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG day.

  64. Linda said,

    I’m thinking that over, jd. I guess it’s something different that I really hate, if I’m understanding you right.

    If somebody’s just being an asshole, and it’s just not my fault, then yes I can shrug it off and say screw you, your turn will come. That usually just feels pretty random, and i figure, shit happens.

    But what I really hate is when somebody has a valid reason — valid from their point of view, and my “curse” is that I can always see it that way — to be pissed off at me. I spend half my life negotiating between people with different positions and needs. Often I have to decide what my main goal is, who needs to give more than they want to so that I can achieve it. And then, from their perspective, I have to stick it to someone. That’s what I really hate.

    I read a cool thing yesterday. The Holy Trinity of Political Persuasion: I know something about you. I need something from you. I have something for you.

    That’s probably what I really hate — but it’s so true.

  65. jarheaddoc said,

    I hear ya. I had both kids home today from school, it was raining, all the usual parent excuses. I should have followed through on my threat to ship them to school when they started to feel better

  66. Linda said,

    Hi Martha. Since you played the handcrafts card first, I feel somewhat safe to say that I finished knitting a great little bright red baby sweater tonight. I can just picture it on a yet-to-be-born baby in Bangor.

  67. Linda said,

    I should give a citation for that quote I guess. It’s from a book I’ve been trying to peddle to anyone I know but so far no takers: April Fools Day by Bryce Courtenay. An Australian father’s story of his hemophiliac son who died of AIDS that he got from his Factor VIII infusions. Damn I gave the ending away. I know, it sounds like a downer but it’s a book you can hardly put down.

  68. Martha said,

    AWWWW Linda, sounds nice. I have never learned to knit although I do crochet. My daughter does both.. someday I’m going to learn to knit, just not today. I worked 2-10 this morning and TRIED to nap for a few hours this afternoon inspite of all the screaming going on RIGHT outside my bedroom window, so I am definitely starting to wind down.

  69. Linda said,

    Well Martha we are even because I never could learn to crochet. Can’t do it.

  70. jarheaddoc said,

    Linda, could you give me a little more information about your job? specifically, are you in a position of authority? I have found that it’s hard to be friends with the people you have to supervise, as you tend to get used as a rug, and I mean that in a general way. I include myself when I say this: many people put the mission of their work place behind their own personal agendas for any number of reasons, and some people are just plain intolerable assholes.

    My wages come from tax dollars, and I have to remember that my boss is paid the same way, and he’s the head mofo in charge-HMFIC-and his vision of how the public is best served is often different than mine. What we both have in common is the politics of the work place: I have beena round enough hospitals to know that they are not always the best place to work, especially in a support role like yours. Who gets blamed when the system goes down? Linda. Whose fault is it when the person who types in garbage gets back garbage? Linda.

    And I am not at all trying to reinforce any guilt you feel with that.

  71. Martha said,

    Night everyone.. I think I”ve had enough for one day.

  72. jarheaddoc said,

    I build a rather nice cradle. It took me some time to hit the learning curve, but once i did, I wrote everything down so I don’t have to reteach myself every time I make one. And I like making them, too.

  73. Linda said,

    Your question isn’t entirely clear jd, are you asking me if I am an intolerable asshole at work? Hmmm let me think for a minute … that would be … no.

    (By the way did you read your email tonight?)

    Actually I have a great job. I supervise staff but I’m not their “budget holder.” I’m paid out of one department but actually work in another. Two senior managers (both of whom I respect) can “claim” me but neither has 100% of me. It would be a great arrangement if I wanted to dodge responsibility and make sure the buck never stopped with me. So, every time I take responsibility, which I think I do all the time, it’s voluntary, so it’s not a burden.

    But — and I wouldn’t describe it here — I’ve definitely been in the situation you described. It became intolerable. I get pretty restless if I don’t change jobs (or make a radical change to the job I have ) every 2 or 3 years.

  74. Linda said,

    That’s nice about the cradle jd. It was very nice of you to share that with us.

  75. jarheaddoc said,

    No, I meant that some people are just intolerable assholes, not you. But you answered my question, actually: it’s easy to get blamed when you step up to the plate and take responsibility for things. Way too many people have had brilliant careers shuffling the blame and passing the buck and the poor bastards, the grunts, are the ones who suffer. And the goddam dead sox just snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!

  76. Linda said,

    Youkilis, he’s my main man

  77. jarheaddoc said,

    I am really starting to like him! Big Papi is my favorite, though.

  78. Linda said,

    Yes, Ortiz is a character. but — and I didn’t used to think this way — position players bring something more to the party in my opinion. DHing is kind of a sinecure.

  79. jarheaddoc said,

    Well, I haven’t a clue what sinecure means, but when you look at the man, he’s in the best postion for him. I was looking at his stats on line today and he actually plays a very good first base, but when the rules say you have to have the DH, and you have a man like Big Papi….

  80. Linda said,

    Yes that’s true. And I really dislike interleague.

  81. jarheaddoc said,

    I like that, actually. I like to see the pitchers have to hit. I mean, Josh Beckett had one hell of a game, and look what happened to Bronson Arroyo after the Dead Sox traded him! A sportswriter made the very valid comment that the Dead Sox have this thing about having power hitters who can get the ball over the big Green Monster when what they shold be looking for is people who can just be solid hitters, not home run hitters. but there’s no glory in just being able to consistently hit the ball and get on base.

  82. Linda said,

    This might be the very unusual night that I don’t outlast everyone except Mark. Wine’s gone, I’m yawning, and when I went outside a minute ago there wasn’t a single light on the street. The houses I can see are dark, the street light by my house is still out, the loons are calling, and my dog is sleeping. If i don’t go to bed now I might “miss the wave” and be awake all night.

  83. Linda said,

    I think they should worry more about the pitching.

  84. jarheaddoc said,

    I’m gonna call it quite, Linda. Hope your weekend gets better. Horror movies again? Maybe some old maudlin black and white movies. mel brooks, but those movies never made any sense to me, as I was sober during all of them.

  85. Linda said,

    I’ll just have to make sure I’m not sober. Night. Have a good day at work tomorrow

  86. LaFlamme said,

    Hee hee. Linda. I really liked your wine guy rambling. It was like you were thinking aloud without meaning to.

  87. Linda said,

    Wait!! I’m still up!

    You’re right — I’m trying to remember something you said once, fevered fist of imagination or something screwy like that. Thats where i was at that moment I think

  88. LaFlamme said,

    It was beautifully described, though. We all know exactly the type of person you were portraying.

  89. Linda said,

    I see the SJ did the same sort of thing today — stereotypes of a few professions — but I don’t think they got into it as much as I did.

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