Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ars Moriendi

For those of you who are down in the doldrums and contemplating suicide to garner some posthumous attention and sympathy, I’ll only say—and I can’t emphasize this enough—that you need to think seriously of ways to maximize the intended result. What’s likely going to happen is that your family will move on within a couple of months, let alone any friends and acquaintances you’ve made over the years. You’ll be a blip on the screen. At best you’ll get some two-sentence obituary that doesn’t even specify how you died. If there’s a photo, it will be that geeky picture of you in high school, years before you got hirsute and fat. Besides, the funeral will give you only cold comfort, for I suspect hardly anyone will attend. Perhaps a few will show up to the wake, but if you went the ole shotgun-down-the-throat route, that won’t be pleasant. Sure, I could be insensitive to your emotional state by suggesting that you up the meds, but drugs are so passé and they’re a cop-out anyway. If it’s of any help, here’s my suicide plan to extend the period of grief, regret, and shock.

First of all, keep in mind that you need to create a lot of buzz around you before you even touch that .45 caliber or bottle of pills. Set-up is everything, and so patience is absolutely critical. To bring attention to my suicide, I’ll need to have friends and family members, or at least actors who can pose as friends and family, express on a widely publicized television program their regrets over lost opportunities. This means that I’ll have to get control of the media. For this purpose I will assemble a team of Leninist-type operatives to topple the current government, destroy the old order, and create a one-party utopian community starting at Year Zero. Ultimately, propaganda that entails in no small part a cult of personality campaign involving countless statues and banners of my face will propel me into the seat of power. From this position it will be easier to engineer sympathy for my death that is commensurate with my new status as “Father of His People.”

Inevitably reactionaries, crackpots and other vermin will try to undermine our efforts. They’ll attempt to subvert the sympathy I aim to create for my suicide by claiming it’s a selfish, pitiful act. I hope to demonize these people with the full weight of my propaganda machine. If I play my cards right, my minions will place these “lice” into concentration camps, at least until we’ve constructed death factories in the outskirts. I’ll have the last laugh and full satisfaction once I’ve taken my life, for every subject of the state will be required to recite the following words from their government-issued booklet: “How sad! What a loss to us. If only we had seen the signs and mended our hateful ways!”