They say that the great American infrastructure is deteriorating, justifying the expenditure of millions to rebuild it. I wouldn’t be the one to judge whether a bridge could stand or fall, but it seemed to me, driving through the coal-producing state of Pennsylvania, that we were doing a great job of altering the landscape to suit our questionable taste. We must hate mountains, because we had gone to considerable expense to bulldoze the tops of them and fill up the valleys to extract the coal so that we could leave the front light on all night. Then we built our own mountains of sterile slag in an apparent attempt to compensate. The road itself performed well, enabling me to speed at upwards from sixty miles an hour though this desolation, missing most of the scenery. It was difficult to find a suitable bridge for suicide because as soon as I was upon it, I was already over it and speeding towards the next one. I chose not to turn back, for I had half a country ahead of me and would certainly find another before arriving in Kansas. Besides, Ohio may be a better state to die in, for I found the maimed valleys of the Keystone State unworthy monuments to my destruction.
In fact the whole state reminded me of the landscaping that woodchucks make when they dig their holes in a field.
I was also concerned about my suicide attempt being thwarted, for Pennsylvania erected stout guardrails. Perhaps a redder state, having less willingness to tax and protect its inhabitants, valuing money over people, would better facilitate my suicide. I passed a number of locations festooned by flowers on the side of the road, marking the spot of a horrible accident. I would like to have flowers at my spot, but couldn’t think of who would put them there; my kids wouldn’t drive all the way out here. I thought of taking the next exit so that I could pick up a plastic bouquet to mark the location that I would perform my suicide, giving me a spot to aim. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too sure of the etiquette of bringing flowers to one’s own grave.
I was also mindful that someone may come upon my death scene; if I wasn’t dead yet, they might put themselves under great risk to save me for a life that would certainly be less than optimal. The worse outcome would be for me to be pulled from the wreckage of my Toyota to live out my life as a quadriplegic under the watchful eye of a crew of nurses that would thwart another attempt. Perhaps I would bunk with my father in his nursing home so that he, during his brief moments of lucidity, could continue to inflict me with his disappointment while I lacked the means to escape.
There was also the chance that my discoverer would happen upon a horrible scene of death that would haunt his dreams. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, so I added the requirement that the spot of my death be such so that my car and body would not be discovered until my body had already deteriorated into a clean skeleton as children dress up as on Halloween. For this, I would depend upon the cooperation of innumerable worms, flies, and maggots that I feared were in short supply here in the puddley end of a Pennsylvania winter.
That last thought, the one about the maggots, had the unfortunate effect of inserting an earworm into my head that would bore a path through my brain for the next three days.
The worms go in, the worms go out; the worms play pinochle on your snout.
Another concern I had was that of finding a suitable place to haunt. I wasn’t too sure of the procedures, but I thought I heard that your soul hangs around after death at the place where you died until the bus comes by to pick you up to take you to were you’re supposed to go. Not all witnesses agreed on the length of time involved, as I recalled, and, of course, you couldn’t be too sure of what you hear; so I wanted to pick out a place that I wouldn’t mind haunting indefinitely, if it came to that. Picking out a place to die is a lot like picking out a place to live, even though you don’t have to worry about taxes and making mortgage payments, you still have to be concerned of the quality of the neighborhood.
I hadn’t thought of all this before I made my last attempt at the hospital, but I suppose it would have been all right to have haunted the hospital. I would have had plenty of company with other ghosts and, as I spent so much time there when I was alive, I shouldn’t complain so much to be there after I died.
Such were my thoughts as I sped through Pennsylvania and into Ohio, seeking a suitable abyss. Then I remembered I had never been to Cleveland. Certainly Cleveland is a place you must go to before you die. It may even be a great place to die. I swung north to gratify my curiosity about the city of the flaming Cuyahoga.
- Suicidal Thought (truelia.wordpress.com)