Suicide no. 19: Would You?

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Suicide no. 19: Would You?

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

I don’t remember when it started. Before he jumped, some twenty years ago, my Grandpa used to say something like “This has been going on for too long now! Fifty years!”

I don’t know how it began, either. People just had some old-timey catchphrase, and someone put it to the test. I do know that it started in Death Valley; people threw themselves into its depths by the thousands. Cults started to form. The next thing you know, there were corpses littering the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, and as far away as Nepal. Then, every skyscraper in every major city had to be blocked off and barricaded to protect the people who roamed the streets below from falling bodies.

Pretty soon, and before you knew it, everyone was “jumping.”

Some did it because everyone close to them started in with it: almost like a fad-gone-wrong kind of thing. People who you’d never think would do something as stupid as acting like sheep to follow the ones they loved would just put an end to their existence—just because “the ones they loved” did it. And some thought that, eventually the world would stop—that people would regain sanity, and order, and that they’d stop throwing themselves off of the edges of high mountains, and falling to their corpse-chasm dooms.

But it never ended.

Eventually, more than four-fifths of the planet’s population during Grandpa’s time had either done it, or died of natural causes; their children would follow suit. As time passed, what people were left were scavengers and dreamers—people who thought that they’d see this through, and, once it was all over, that we’d start over. Maybe we’d flatten the world? Make it impossible for someone to throw themselves off of a high surface? Maybe we’d be the ones who’d bounce back.

And we thought that for awhile, until people kept losing other people. So, those of us left did what anyone would do: we camped out in the White House for a few days. Some of us took over Las Vegas, and spent our time scavenging, robbing, hoarding, and otherwise simply wasting our time because we knew what we were up against—we knew what we’d end up doing.

It was a hell of a time, during those last days. Who could argue that, after the twenty-or-so people who’d vandalized the Oval Office, slept in the bed where President Lincoln had passed, fired missiles at monuments, and ran the world for those last few days…who could argue that any of us were “sane?”

It was fun in that “epoch” of a stitch of time. Yet, we all knew what we’d end up doing because, let’s face it—none of us were in the mood for “bringing us back from the brink” after all we’d seen, and had to do to get by.

And so here I stand, in what used to be called Death Valley—awaiting my turn, and typing what there is left to be said before I jump.

After all, everyone I knew was gone. As the age old question goes: Would you?

Inspired by the Daily Post’s Weekly writing prompt:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/weekly-writing-challenge-cliffhanger/

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95 thoughts on “Suicide no. 19: Would You?

  1. I remember Jones Town. I remember the cults thinking the space ship was going to land and took the drink. People can follow the mad piper or just maybe follow a path different. I had a few students pull the plug. One even played Russian Roulette and lost. The generations that are lost litter the landscape.

  2. My blog post of yesterday touched on the topic of suicide having watched an TV tribute to an incredible 16 yr old kid who had months to live – went on live TV in Ireland last year and asked those considering suicide to have a rethink. He is now dead. No suicides in his locality for months after, such was his power of persuasion. Called my post ‘Live Life’ in his honour http://michealdebarra.com/2014/01/09/live-life/

  3. Really enjoyed this. It drew me in even though I really wasn’t sure where it was going, but somehow that was OK… Interesting idea. If everyone–really everyone–jumped off a bridge, would there be a point to staying alive?

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, too!

  4. i must say that taking our life is a very delicate subject. When someone decides to do that it’s because their life is so confuse and they are in deep depression that they don’t see a way out. Problems, problems, problems…some are hard to solve, others not and sometimes the answer is right in front of us but we don’t see it. Everything in live as a solution but death but when a persone doesn’t see it and don’t have someone to talk about it or someone to help find the answer, that persone starts to be in depression. Then they think their lifes is just a waist, that nobody loves them, that they are just a parasite for society and that maybe, if they deid someone will be happy. About ending life that way is because someone they know did the same or because they are a fan of watter or they thing that will not suffer much… this is my opinion and sorry about my english.

    1. It’s not the worst English I’ve seen. It may be slightly better than mine. Regardless, you’ve put some thought into life: which is one of the primary reasons Iwrite about the things I do. I just want people to consider their existence–good and bad–for once.

  5. I done this cool thing in Hawaii on Waikiki beach a few miles away from Laie, Hawaii its so much fun. Any one vacationing in Hawaii should try it at least once if not in the ocean then go Hiking to Laie, Falls and go swim in the water fall there its so cool!

  6. i believe in what you put in this life time will come out in the next life time if its good nor bad it still follows the universal law of input and output.

    1. No wifi. When I imagined him “typing,” I had this image in my head of an old Underwood typewriter I own. It was made in the 1940’s. This was hard to believe for me at first, but not only does it still work perfect, they also still sell the ink ribbons at Office Depot.

      1. I started to writte on a typewriter myself! My father had one and i was 12 years old! I wrotte my first book with it. Now i’m 35 and use a PC, of course! But there’s no match to a typewritter, the older the better. Thanks for your comment derekalanwilkinson.

  7. Great article hard subject to address I’m trying to address other hard issues but fear my writing style is not so great.
    I think I tried to bite off more than I can chew creating a blog for severely disabled people in the workforce showing them my experiences and how I made it but I’m struggling to meld the two together well. I also wanted to educate others about how desperatly most disabled people want jobs but don’t get them to show there are untapped greatness and new thinkers all over the world that need a chance

  8. I really had to read and reread this over and over to even get a glimpse at what it could imply. I thought it was really awesome though and very entrancing to read. It sucked me right in. Well done.

  9. Being someone that lives with a mental illness and has attempted suicide before, I really found your piece of writing interesting. It actually has quite a bit of insight into the idea of suicide.

  10. That certainly paints a new picture to accompany the parents’ classic, “if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” and coloured it in! 🙂 It gave me goosebumps and evoked some difficult emotions. Nicely done. 🙂

  11. As the mother of a 23 year old daughter who took her life 4-11-13, I was drawn to your title. I’m still sitting here trying to figure out your meaning. I’m not even really below average IQ, but maybe I’m too close to the subject matter to understand. I’m not being insulting so please don’t take it that way. I have just not absorbed the point of your story.

    1. I literally in no way can imagine what a terrible experience that must have been for you. I have no children, but I couldn’t imagine having to lose one to suicide. You have my deepest of condolences.

      To be clear, I never advocate it as a solution: I only explore it in my writing as a philosophical tangent of the human spirit.

      I ran into this “too close to the subject matter” issue when I first started the whole “Suicides” series (I’ve written over twenty short stories with similar themes). There are some people who have experienced circumstances close to what you have, who have taken to my stories.

      Yet, there are others who wouldn’t stand to gain any insight from reading them, and some who respond with disgust.

      I get that. The only (and this is the closest thing I can come up with) subject matter I find myself similarly pressed with is breast cancer awareness; I’ve had three women close to me in my family have to go through, and (luckily) survive, that traumatic ordeal.

      And, when I see these pink ribbons and t-shirts, I think things like, “Yes, I am perfectly fucking AWARE. I’ve seen it up close. Don’t ask for my change, because your pissing me off right now.”

      But that’s because I’m too close to the subject matter.

      Do I think they should gather funds for awareness, and hopefully, one day, use that effort to find a CURE? Of course I do. But is any of that going to change the fact that three people close to me were scarred, maimed, and some nearly financially ruined as a result? No, it won’t.

      But I still support the concept of breast cancer awareness: albeit, from afar.

      As far as the meaning goes, all I was trying to say was that we all need each other in the world–whether we like it, or not. And also that, taking our view of the world at face value is stupid–“everybody” doesn’t ever really mean, “everybody,” does it?

      In any case, thank you for reading. I always find it hard when faced with someone in your shoes.

      1. Thank you for explaining. I took no offense at what your wrote at all and hope I did not come across that way. I appreciate your kind comments. Thank you.

    1. My advice: Set up a site that’s legible, keep your focus narrow, and keep your focus PERIOD–that is, keep on keeping on.

      You’ll start small, and then, with repitition, you’ll find yourself finding other people to relate to and connect with.

  12. it goes against my personal beliefs, you have to go against the tide because eventually the tide will start coming back with you!! Follow my page of inspiration where I share stories and give advice to all your questions!

  13. Perhaps you could read my blog to get the answers…..or maybe not. There is no formula to life or the end to it…..those who say they never would…just may surprise themselves…and those who say they would…may never….as for me, on some days, I wish I was insane enough to jump but as for right now, I am anchored in this “sane” existence of suffering the loss of my son to suicide. One thing for certain is that mental illness can be fatal…although, we can probably assume that the people who jumped from the World Trade Center were rational when all they wanted was to escape a fiery death. Another thing to ponder.

    1. A very thoughtful response. And, like many I’ve encountered through writing these types of stories–you have my deepest condolences. Losing a child at all has got to be one of the most enmiserating experiences in life.

      To lose one to suicide, I couldn’t imagine.

      My own thoughts on contemplating suicide seriously ended when I realized, despite it all, that my life is going to end anyway; I may as well see it through. As for answers, “to live, or not to live” seems to be a case-by-case scenario.

      But I will check out your blog. Thank you.

  14. Reblogged this on OSCaR LaND…THE BLOG and commented:
    I have to say I have tried, and was hospitalized for it. But I’m glad I didn’t suceed. I’ve always been depressed since I can remember, four I think, and I’ve struggled and still do. But I thank God I didn’t, I wouldn’t have seen my children grow up or been able to hold my grandchildren. And I know how it hurts and you think no one cares, but just wait a while longer hold on and the feeling will pass,and if it doesn’t then you need to find a Doctor that can help, there is help. It can get better, if you just think , and call someone …

  15. I enjoyed this a lot! grear writing 🙂 a very different pre/post apocalyptic story that ive never been exposed to before. I will be sure to share on twitter 🙂

      1. twitter marketing for dummies 🙂 I dont intend that to sound patronising they chose a terrible name for the books because you always sound like an arse hole when you recommend it to someone lol but yeah I always find those books really useful.

        if I was to give any advice now it would be to say that you have to use your account often. start following loads of people that interest you and start commenting and retweeting and favourite things. you have to be active as often as possible. really engage with other tweeters and share their stuff and people start to do it in return. just have to be patient. ive only just started but I can see the slow increase.

      2. I’ll check it out. Makes sense–seeing as how Twitter focuses on the here, now, and no-less-than-five-minutes-ago. It also goes along with the “social karma” aspect of this type of media.

  16. i’ve danced on the edge of this cliff before. the idea of what i was leaving behind if i chose to jump is what made me step back from the edge and stick around to experience other things. i’m happy with the decision i made, however there is always that small corner of my mind that creeps out every once in a while. it’s a matter of dealing with these demons and suppressing them by reminding yourself of what’s really important, and what you’re exchanging for your jump. great piece.

  17. I just started my blog last night which has all (some right now, I’m getting there) of my writings which get me through Bipolar, depression, anxiety, PCOS, and helping my friend who has recently attempted suicide. I find writing to be my only outlet right now. I have songs, poems, and entries. I am keeping our anonymity as of now and slowly diverging the circumstances. These things are so difficult and I am hoping to help others going through this as well. I am NOT ashamed but I have to protect my fragile friend.

    1. You should kill…”yourseld?” The typewriter is best wielded by those who have the experience to know how to use it; the rest may find that they’re hindered or unhinged by it.

      Not to mention that what you’ve improperly stated, you’ve also left behind without the proper justification of thought needed to clarify such a ridiculous accusation.

  18. Wow, you were absolutely right about this being your most popular…it reminded me of the scene in Men in Black where the protagonist does the time jump off the building, and as he’s whipped back through time he sees other people jumping with him (reference to the stock market crash). The nearest guy waves his top hat at him like jumping off a building is the most normal thing a person can do…comical way to describe the sad and depressing “norm” those days.

    Is this comment too shallow in comparison to all those personal stories above? Sometimes I feel so spoiled…

    -Perse

    1. Nah, it’s a thoughtful comment. I’d forgotten all about the Men In Black reference until you’d mentioned it.

      Number 19 was probably my most comical. Most of what I write is sad, I think.

      But then, sometimes you can’t help but laugh at life–even when you’re in a miserable state.

      1. Thanks. I think I’m getting better at this commenting business. And yes you’re right, about laughing at life.

        -Perse

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