IF YOU ASK ME, suicide gets a bad rap. Sure it’s sad when someone chooses to die, but at least it’s their choice, and all we can do is respect the decision and hope it was carefully considered in advance. When it succeeds, it’s what they wanted; when it fails, it offers an opportunity for change and betterment. Death, on the other hand, is a lowly scumbag assassin. It comes along whenever it damn well pleases, often at the most inopportune times, never consults with the intended target and always shoots to kill. It is truly suicide’s evil twin.
No, I’m not standing out on a ledge somewhere or holding a gun to my head. In fact, I am not feeling at all suicidal at the moment, despite all those times the thought crossed my mind. But thinking and doing are two different activities, which is why I can enter a bakery, sniff around for awhile, leer at the goods tucked safely behind glass and leave without buying anything. No harm done; in fact, I’m stronger for it. I’ve stared into the hearts of the mocha raspberry tortes, lusciously layered chocolate babka, fluffy meringue pies and, the most evil of all, those perky Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, each one murmuring, “Choose me, choose me!” (Only I can hear the murmuring.) Triumphant, I’ve sniffed and leered and laughed, then turned and walked away, shouting, “Take that, you pathetic, fattening losers!” (Only I can hear the shouting.)
It’s the same with suicide. I’ve considered it from all angles in my darkest hours, but rejected it because dammit, I want to live! In fact, I want to live forever, if you must know. I am having these thoughts owing to my flagging health right now. My fluctuating blood pressure, a.k.a. labile hypertension, is quite scary, and there seems to be little I can do about this current episode but hold on and ride it out, hoping that it doesn’t actually blow any pipes. Waking up in the middle of the night and seeing numbers almost twice as high as they should be is horrifying, yet my doctor’s prescription to “relax, take a hot bath, listen to classical music or meditate” is tough to fill when I’m busy planning where to keel over when the stroke comes.
It’s odd that the fear of death is universal, yet just here in the United States about 105 people opt for it every day. Personally, given the choice, I choose choice. Given a different choice, I choose eternal life, but only if I can eat that stuff in the bakeries without any ill effects. Especially those Magnolia cupcakes, which, if all else fails, might be reason enough to go on living.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.