Most are defined by the moment with forgettable words, but a
few speak immortality into the present and all the moments after that are never
the same. -Intellectual Shaman
I was grading murder essays in my cramped office and all of my
students would be caught because their creative crimes were constructed from
their TV imaginations. Technology had too much emphasis in their stories; they
didn’t realize the power of their own minds.
I was getting depressed and thinking about drinking.
“Mac, are you in there?” KNOCKING. “Dr.
Johnson isn’t available and we have a student who’s threatening to jump off the
parking garage. We called 911, but they might not get here in time. Can you
I opened the door. It was my TA who was excited and worried
at the same time.
“Why does he want to jump?” I asked. “Does he
have a well-thought out reason?”
“Never mind. Just give me a second.” I pulled out my Scotch and took a swig. I was better under the influence.
It was only the second day of fall quarter, so I wondered
what could be troubling the potential suicide. I climbed the garage steps two
at a time and realized I was out of shape. It was three flights up on a sunny
September morning. The jumper was standing on the ledge at the far end. I
walked towards him.
“Get away from me!”
“Why are you doing this?”
“What the hell do you care?”
“I don’t, but I thought I should ask.”
“I caught my wife in bed with another man.”
“Aren’t you a little bit young to be married?”
“I guess so. I was stupid.”
“Well, that is no reason to kill yourself. You won’t
make the same mistake again, will you?
“What mistake?” He asked.
“Getting married,” I said.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“A lot, at least that’s what my family and friends tell me,” I said.
“Don’t they have a more qualified psychologist to talk
“I’m a philosopher; the psychologist is on his
“You’re not even a psychologist; why should I talk to
“Why did you even come up here?” He asked.
“I wanted to hear your reason for not living.”
“What’s your reason for living?”
“Why continue living if you are suffering?”
“I’m searching for meaning,” I said.
“Maybe there is no meaning?”
“You’re probably right.”
He was dangerously close to the edge.
“You know the last suicide that happened couldn’t be
identified. They had to use DNA analysis because someone like yourself squashed
like a tomato. I’ll tell you what, come on down and I’ll listen to your
“Screw you man; I’m jumping. I have nothing to expect
from my life.”
“Don’t you think your life expects something from
He looked at me like he just found meaning and then he
slipped. I looked over the edge. He hit the emergency cushions.
“Lucky kid; he’ll never do that again, but he’ll
probably get remarried.”