Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Art of Misery.

Recent research has found that, on average, 70% of suicidal callers phoning The Samaritans will change their mind and decide to carry on living. Apparently, this information was provided by the callers themselves after being contacted by The Samaritans. What I want to know is: how did they contact the other 30 percent? Or did they just think, “Oh, well, seventy percent have confirmed they’re still with us, so that means the others must have died.” Say they asked the said people to fill in questionnaires and the enquiries went along the lines of ‘Did you call feeling suicidal?’, then surely the next question that inevitably must have followed (i.e. ‘Did you change your mind?’) is a moot point. I would have been tempted to write, ‘No, I killed myself, I’m writing this through Derek Acorah.’ Obviously, there are some people who may have unsuccessfully attempted suicide but you cannot really get accurate statistics through such dubious research methods.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about life and death and other equally cheery subjects. After some reflection, I came to the conclusion that I am, if truth be told, quite ambivalent about life versus death because, quite frankly, I find the whole ‘life’ thing rather painful most of the time. Apart from hedonistic pleasures and fleeting moments of happiness, my life has thus far, not turned out quite as I had hoped. However, thinking laterally, I philosophised that actually I can use this to my advantage (please note: sometimes my attempts to make myself feel better with unconventional theories don’t always work out – see last blog). The way this works is that happy, fulfilled people face their mortality with such an ensuing dread that it has been scientifically proven that they will do anything to counteract that fear, leading to all manner of neuroses (I knew three years studying psychology would eventually come in handy). Us miserables, on the other hand, don’t have that problem. We can stare the grim reaper in the face and shrug: “What’s that you say, Mr Reaper, no more celibacy, anxiety and being ignored by employers? I’m gutted.” That’s not to say we actively embrace or encourage a premature demise, we don’t deliberately fall over into railway tracks or stick our wet fingers into electric sockets, but we can however, travel on a plane for example or inadvertently come across the din that is ‘dance’ music without worrying that it may kill us. Notice I didn’t mention things like smoking or drinking to excess. This is because both these things ruin your looks, cost too much and rather than kill you off completely, might just make you really bloody ill, wrinkly and skint. Yeah, I know a plane crash might not kill you either but I think the survival rate is pretty low, stop being pedantic, you know what I mean. But I suppose if you are over 80 and you’re also a miserable, then you can basically do what you want because being really ill will probably kill you off regardless. My friend Jane said she is going to try heroin and get fat when she’s 80. When I queried as to why, her reply was ‘because I can’. I have to admit I can see the logic. After being constantly on ‘fat watch’ since I was 14, the thought of having a takeaway without it being ruined by a mental running commentary of each calorific mouthful and it’s consequences (‘prawn cracker 20 calories = walk round the block, curry 500 calories = cancel leaving house for three weeks, special fried rice, 2000 calories = consider leaving country’), it actually sounds like a decent plan. In fact being an obese, alcoholic, druggy eighty year sounds like pretty darn good fun if you don’t mind the fact that nobody will want to have sex with you (but let’s face it, at eighty they probably won’t anyway).

So while all those annoying happies become more and more neurotic through repressing the truth about their mortal souls and avoiding contemplating the inevitable, us miserables can quietly smile to ourselves in the knowledge that apart from not causing anyone any psychological or physical pain, in the end, very little, really matters.

1 comment:

  1. The only certainty in life is death- I haven't tried the wet fingers in plug sockets yet..