I normally try my best to understand my fellow human beings, but there is one thing that is simply beyond comprehension: why, oh WHY are so many people so … tasteless about committing suicide? Slitting your wrists in a green-tiled bathroom? Jumping off a bridge and leaving a mess on a freeway? Blowing your head off with your father’s cheap hunting rifle? If you are set about killing yourself, why not be a bit more careful with the details, why not show more taste? I simply don’t get it.
Worst of all, why do people listen to sad, depressing music when committing suicide? I mean, if you are seriously considering ending your life, you don’t really need any further encouragement or hear what a sad, sad world “it” is. You already know. But still, countless teenagers and midlife crisis wrecked managers harken the voices of Trent “Kill Me” Reznor and Billie “Blue Monday” Holliday when leaving it all behind.
I say: bad taste in suicide has to stop. After all, this will be the last conscious act you’ll commit (vomiting on a mid-17th century Persian rug doesn’t really count), so get there with style. Or leave an impression that will last, for the lack of a better word, a lifetime.
The most important part of every aesthetically appealing suicide: the place of your death. The prime mistake most people make is to chose the method of suicide first and then get either bound to a specific, low-key location because, say, the wood shredder stands in the garage or the only stout beam in the whole building is found in the cellar, or the method simply doesn’t harmonise with the place of death.
I cannot stress it enough: chose your location first, and adapt your preferred method of killing accordingly. The location is where people will find you and you will be associated with for as much as a generation, in some rare cases for the rest of recorded history. Be daring, be ironic, be creative, but always be yourself.
Good locations: your nemesis’s wedding, your favourite restaurant, the library of the British Museum.
Bad locations: the railway station loo, your high-school, “Oprah.”
You have chosen your favourite place? Then, take a look around – often, a suitable method presents itself without further ado. The chandelier, a rope torn from the curtains, and you’re set. Should you have a cruel streak or simply hate everybody anyway, make sure finding your body will be an unpleasant experience. Explosives can leave a lasting impression not only on your body but on the psyche of your cleaning woman, too. Generally though, dynamite and similar substances rage hell on your chosen location, so you will probably have to experiment with some large dogs to get the exact amount, which can get expensive (and rather messy).
Better: local anaesthetics and a sharp knife. A Stryker autopsy saw can come in handy, too, and its price doesn’t really matter, anyway, so why save and get a cheap electric chainsaw? The issue of aesthetics raises a question you should ask yourself early on: short and painless or slow and painful? A whole different set of options will be made available by your choice; needless to say, the more aesthetic suicides often involve a lot of pain. But then, art was never for the meek – just ask Damien Hurst or Francis Bacon (who you might see soon, everything considered).
The additional stuff.
The common paraphernalia of suicide are just this: common. There is little intriguing in empty sleeping pill containers or shotgun shells strewn around the scenery of your suicide, a bed of red roses is overly dramatic, and leaving your journal open at a telling passage about your third dog’s rather loud death is just plain tacky. Face it, a suicide note on pink stationary will not do. Instead, make it interesting for the investigators and leave little riddles and teasers. What do the three smashed eggs and the cucumber in the right corner of the room signify? Why did somebody paint an inverted crucifix in goat’s blood on the wall?
For your suicide note, use a public printer so nobody will ever be completely sure you wrote it yourself. Use very stilted language so observers will be convinced an underlying message was coded into your farewell letter – you have always known that thesaurus will come in handy, one day. Be sure to put some “deep” sentences from some famous novel such as The Scarlet Letter in it, too, or quote the Apocrypha or Nostradamus.
As for the question of suicide music … Well, as everything else, ultimately that’s up to you, but why waste a perfect opportunity to raise hell for some artists you loathe by putting their records in the player? You don’t have to actually listen to David Hasselhoff or Joni Mitchell even if it will help you pulling it through should your determination waver. Alternatively, simply chose some of your favourite music and count on people to see something highly symbolic in your selection. This might backfire, mind, especially should you choose Ween’s “HIV Song” so be sure you really want to be remembered as the guy who blew up the Sears Tower while grooving to “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver.”
It’s a pity. I am convinced suicides would be far more interesting and sensible if everybody followed these few, simple rules, but unfortunately most seriously suicidal people are beyond questions of good taste. Well, happens.
Originally written in 2001, I figured this article might be a nice addition to Angry Sascha. Turning on of sarcasm detectors is well advised. So, yeah. Cheerio, mates.