The Last Time I Killed Myself

19 January 2024 17:55 

The last time I killed myself I botched it. Someone else had to finish me off. I blame the tree huggers, greenies, those brain washed by climate change lies.

I had it all planned out. Of course the garage was too large, but the interior of the car would quickly fill up with exhaust; I ran a hose from the exhaust pipe into the rear passenger window, then used duct tape to seal the hose in place. From the inside I rolled up all the windows, also sealing them with tape to reduce air leaks. I worried that I’d chicken-out at the last minute, so to keep calm, I swallowed a box of Benadryl capsules, then drank off as much as I could from a bottle of Jack Daniels. Last, with the motor running, right before I lay down in the back seat, I hand cuffed together first my feet, then my hands, then threw the keys in the front of the car. I lay back and waited, breathing in slowly and deeply.

The previous times I had killed myself there had been varying degrees of success. Part of the problem was I didn’t want to horrify or inconvenience anyone, both those who discovered my body as well as those responsible for clean up and disposal. Over the years, I had searched on the internet for suggestions. Back in the early days of the internet, using Alta Vista, there wasn’t a lot of useful information; more recently, using Goolge, before scrolling down to a useful site like the Hemlock Society, I had to scroll through a bunch of suicide prevention or hotline help links.

I had always wondered about Socrates’ last drink. We had some hemlock trees in the yard, but were they the right species, and how would I make use of them? Gnaw a branch like a piece of sugar cane? Or harvest the sap then distill it down, like making syrup from a maple tree, requiring something like 100 gallons of raw sap to make one can of syrup? That seemed like too much work.

But really, I had read enough history and literature to come up with something on my own. Figure it out for myself instead of relying on some YourTuber.

In reading histories of the Pacific theatre of World War II, I learned that Japanese soldiers, instead of being captured, would put the barrel of their rifle in their mouth, then pull the trigger with their toe. I’m not sure I had enough dexterity in my toe to do that. But it got me thinking about the Japanese. I had always wondered about the difference between hari-kara and seppuku. I think in both cases you cut open your own stomach, or for the literary, disembowel yourself. Then, I believe, your second, a friend, neighbor, or co-worker, cuts off your head. There were a few problems with this.

The first problem was I didn’t own any sort of Japanese sword or sword sets, those things you see in the futon shop: a black wooden stand, the long sword over the shorter one, a fake lacquer red sheathe and white tassels on the handle. It was a sort of for entertainment purposes only decoration and not to be used as do-it-yourself kit for disembowelment then decapitation.

What I did have were a lot of good kitchen knives. Of course the paring (Wüsthof), cheese (Laguiole), and bread knives (again Wüsthof) wouldn’t do; the chef’s knife (also Wüsthof) was the biggest and seemed the best candidate, although I also had a good boning knife (Global), which seemed appropriate for the task, even if the blade was a bit narrow. We also had a heavy duty meat cleaver (made by 菜刀), the kind you see being used by butchers in the back of an Asian grocer, the butcher chopping up several dozen chickens or pigs. We don’t use the cleaver very often and this seemed like a chance to blow the dust off it. But with its square, heavy blade, it was really more suited to chopping than the stabbing and slicing needed for dismebowelment. So go with the Global boning knife.

The second problem was I didn’t want to inconvenience any friends or family by asking them to cut off my head. Nor is it the kind of thing you can post online as a gig job, paid by the piece. Then I thought I could do a sort of East-West fusion suicide: use a French guillotine! First cut myself open, then slice off my head. Perfect!

I couldn’t find a guillotine on Amazon, but I did find some plans, unexpectedly, at the Fine Woodworking web site. I like woodworking, could build it myself, and if anyone asked, I could say I was building a rather tall grandfather clock. After I had the plans and the wood for making the guillotine frame, I went in search of blade. Most guillotines today are used for cutting paper or slicing off sheep heads. The former seemed more appropriate, made of hard alloy steel and some sort of tungsten carbide blade, so I ordered a heavier model that was the proper width.

One advantage since I was cutting off my head, there was no need to first disembowel myself; I didn’t need to worry about someone cleaning Global boning knife. I rigged the lanyard so I could pull it to release the blade after I placed my neck in the half-moon wood cut-out head holder.

It ended badly.

There’s a difference between a paper cutting guillotine and a head cutting one: the former is a straight blade, and as such all of the blade struck all of my neck at the same time. A true Dr. Guillotine Guillotine™ is angled at forty-five degrees, so instead of hacking a head off, the Doctor’s slices the head off – very important! After few tries I finally succeeded, but it really hurt. My last memory is seeing the bottom of the wicker basket float up as my head detached from my body.

Another time I jumped off a building.

I timed it at four in the morning, after the solstice, so there was enough light to see what I was doing, but early enough not to interfere with the morning commute. I had the great idea of jumping in my North Face sleeping bag; it would serve as a sort of corpse prepackaging, making it easier for the clean-up crew.

It all went really well, for me. I later learned that during my free fall, the wind blew the top of the sleeping bag off my head; as such, not only was the mess not kept within the bag, but also there was an explosion of goose down feathers everywhere, which stuck to blood and other liquid areas, out on the street and also to the nearby mailbox, where there has been a bit of splatter. I felt bad about that.

I’m thinking of trying that method again, but I want to do it right this time and enclose myself in a proper body bag before jumping. There are a few problems with this. Unlike my sleeping bag, I don’t think a body bag can be zipped closed from the inside; I mean, why would it? I could wear body bag inside out, thereby allowing me to zip it closed from the inside. But is there a difference between the fabric on the inside and the outside? It the exterior turned interior suitable for bodily remains? In a word: is a body bag designed to be reversible? The only thing I own that is reversible is a Hugo Boss trench coat: loden green one side, Bogart-in-the-rain-at-the-train-station-trench-coat tan on the other; I always wear it Bogart side out. About the reversible body bag, I didn’t know and I couldn’t find any information online. The second body bag problem was visibility – seeing what I was doing. If I positioned myself correctly, then at the last minute zipped up the bag, I should be okay: look, zip, hop then drop.

It doesn’t matter, it’s going to have to wait. I tried Amazon, again, but they don’t carry body bags. I had better luck at Alibaba, but you can only order in lots of one thousand, and they are out of stock. Apparently the Israeli Defense Force has bought up all body bag inventory because of the high demand in Gaza.

I admire Hemingway and once used the shotgun method, but there were a few problems. What kind of shotgun did he use? Was it single or double barrel, and if double, side by side or over and under? In the end I used a single barrel Beretta. I didn’t have to use my toe – I could easily reach the trigger. It was extremely noisy, even if for a moment; and yes, there was quite a mess. I won’t be doing that again.

I love trains too much to throw myself under one like Anna Karenina did. I always hoped Tolstoy would save her at that last minute, but really, the story could only end one way. Still, there’s an aspect of almost in Tolstoy: Pierre is almost shot by the French, Prince Andrei and Natasha almost get together, Levin almost decides to marry a peasant (until he sees Kitty again).

No, I’m terminal when it comes to trains and train stations. Whether it’s the sleek TGV Lyria from Zurich Hauptbahnhof to Paris Gare de Lyon, or an old diesel arriving in La Garde, lonely, late at night, wolves howling and a tumble-weed skitting across the tracks – I’m all in. Train stations are romantic, tragic (see Bogart, above), convivial, boring, ugly, beautiful. An Airbus A380 landing at Dulles Airport is a wonderful feat of human engineering, but it can’t compare to any train coming to a stop by the platform. No, never do that to trains, train stations, the people who work there.

Other writers depict other means of suicide, and like Tolstoy’s Anna, it happens to a woman. Shakespeare dooms Ophelia by making her fall for that piece of work Hamlet, who plays mind games with her. Worse, Hamlet kills her father, and it’s too much for her: Ophelia drowns herself. I’m not sure I could do that. I respect the discipline of Virginia Woolf, who walked into the Ouse River with rocks in the pockets of her overcoat.

At the other end of the literary spectrum and less well known, two of Nevil Shute’s women characters kill themselves. In both cases the women are pregnant by one man but married to another. Beryl puts her head in an oven and turn on the gas, filling the entire kitchen with gas. Brenda intentionally crashes her plane. Both of these are out since our oven is electric and I don’t own an airplane.  I should add that in both cases no harm comes to the child.  It’s good we’ve come a long way since then. The men got off way too easy.

Because I like ropes and knots, I hung myself once. It was fun selecting the rope and tying the noose; it was effective with no mess. In retrospect, however, it was a bit showy: out on display, swinging slowly, brushed by a gentle breeze – not really my style. I felt like one of those Christian exhibitionists, so proud of their piety that they need you to see them kneeling on the 50 yard line. I don’t need you to see me; I prefer something more personal and reserved. And frankly, there’s something odd about a corpse dangling from a tree limb or rafter, something creepy I can’t get past. I won’t do that one again.

Because of the environmental movement and the so-called ‘greenhouse effects’, carbon monoxide concentrations in automobile exhaust have declined over the past few decades. When my body was discovered in the back seat of my car, I was still alive, but in a permanent vegetative state, like a rutabaga or that MAGA Republican living next door. That’s what I get for using a new car, instead of some older, carburettered, high octane gas guzzler from the 1970’s.

But the story has a happy ending. I was finished off by my partner, after she first confirmed the continued validity of my life insurance policy. To deflect potential attention from herself, she hired a middle aged nurse from Guatemala to take care of me. One morning my partner dressed me in loose, baggy clothes, then arranged for my wheelchair to be left by the deep end of the pool on a windy day. The brake was unlocked and a kite was loosely tied to the wheelchair with a slip knot (she’s also good with knots). Soon there was a gust of wind that released the string from the wheelchair and took the kite, but there was just enough force to topple me into the deep end of the pool. The nurse being dark skinned, the police were naturally suspicious of her, but the women could vouch for each other, because both had been inside watching Harold and Maude. My death was rule was ruled an accident.

 

 

 

 

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