“And I usually drink my dinner!”
I really enjoyed Burgess Meredith’s performances in the “Grumpy Old Men” movies. I especially enjoyed the death reference from the movie “Grumpier Old Men”:
Grandpa: What the… what the hell is this?
John: That’s lite beer.
Grandpa: Gee, I weigh ninety goddamn pounds, and you bring me this sloppin’ foam?
John: Ariel’s got me on a diet because the doc said my cholesterol’s a little too high.
Grandpa: Well let me tell you something now, Johnny. Last Thursday, I turned 95 years old. And I never exercised a day in my life. Every morning, I wake up, and I smoke a cigarette. And then I eat five strips of bacon. And for lunch, I eat a bacon sandwich. And for a midday snack?
Grandpa: Bacon! A whole damn plate! And I usually drink my dinner. Now according to all of them flat-belly experts, I should’ve took a dirt nap like thirty years ago. But each year comes and goes, and I’m still here. Ha! And they keep dyin’. You know? Sometimes I wonder if God forgot about me. Just goes to show you, huh?
Suicide isn’t a joke, even though I sort of understand the mentality behind wanting to just plain blot out. There have been times in my life when I’ve thought about it, and then the old Catholic teaching that suicide is a mortal sin sticks in my head. In old school Catholic thought, killing yourself is more or less similar to drawing the “go to jail” card in Monopoly, but with a twist:
I don’t know why, but this was always my visual for “Mortal Sin.”
The older I get, the more I realize that what seems like the end of the world really isn’t the end of the world. It might hurt like hell. It might be physical pain, or even chronic pain that never really goes away. It might be that nameless void in which there are no words or even tears, but only a sharp and consuming bolt of terror and sadness and longing that knocks your breath away. Even that is not the end of the world.
The older I get, the more tenaciously I cling to life- if only because experience has taught me that there is life (and good life to be had) even beyond the unspeakable, nameless void of grief, beyond the burning pain of rejection, beyond the uncertainty of worldly trappings, and even in the endurance of chronic physical pain.
Hell? Or is it just Detroit?
I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when you’re a fifteen year old kid and all you’ve ever known is deprivation and loss and a sad sense of being unworthy of sucking up valuable oxygen. I’ve been there.
I don’t know exactly what kind of despair was behind the recent teen suicides here in central Ohio. I know I wouldn’t want to be a high school kid today, but things sucked back in my world too. We faced an uncertain future. There were people like me with thick glasses and bad clothes and geeky habits who were just about as popular as stepping in dog shit on a hot day, but we survived. Some of us went on to thrive, although in my case I wouldn’t claim any kind of stellar, charmed life- but it’s life. I’ll take what I can get and give what I can give and at the end of the day, that’s all.
I don’t have the answers. I’m not God, which is a good thing, because if I controlled the world it would be pretty much unrecognizable. There would be a lot of buff dudes in Spandex, and no such thing as rap music. That much I could guarantee, but then again I am not the one in control.
There is a certain amount of peace in accepting that there are some questions that will never be answered and some concepts that I was never designed to understand. I don’t have much comfort or solace for those who survive after a loved one commits suicide except to say that there is life beyond the breathless void, and that some day there will be good life beyond that void. I will also say that God is big enough to take whatever anger and frustration and pain that you are willing to surrender to Him.
Our time is short. That doesn’t necessarily disturb me too much. I’ve been close to death, and I’m not afraid to die. I don’t like the prospect of suffering and pain and I understand that there are times when death would be a relief and a comfort. As far as I can tell, as of right now, I’m not there yet.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls…