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 help?”

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 to me?”

“I’m a philosopher; the psychologist is on his way.”

“You’re not even a psychologist; why should I talk to you?”

“Good point.”

“Why did you even come up here?” He asked.

“I wanted to hear your reason for not living.”

“What’s your reason for living?”

“To suffer.”

“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 problems.”

“Screw you man; I’m jumping. I have nothing to expect from my life.”

“Don’t you think your life expects something from you?”

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.”

8 thoughts on “A Defining Moment

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