by Jim Farrar (1978)

Suicide? Sure, I’ll tell you something about suicide. I’ll tell you what it looks like.

I live in a dormitory here on campus. Naturally, this puts me in constant contact with many of the other residents in the hall. There’s one fellow in particular – he lives on the same floor as me – who has what I would consider a severe aberration. My suspicions were confirmed last Thursday night when he tried to kill himself. (This is a true story, by the way.)

It seems that Mr. X was a little downcast on this particular evening; he’d confessed to the police earlier in the day to setting a car on fire – his own. He was overdrawn at the bank and he needed some cash real quick. Understandably, he was more than a bit concerned over what the court might do to him.

That evening, I was standing out in the hallway talking to a friend. Mr. X was strolling down the hall, walking towards us. Another guy passed him, asked him whether or not he was going to so-and-so’s party the next night.

“No, I won’t be here.”

When he got to where we were standing, I noticed that he had two very large handfuls of what looked like – and later turned out to be – vitamins. I asked him where he got them, and what he was doing with them in the first place.

“Want some?”

After that he just turned around and started to walk back to his room. He was staggering like a Friday-night drunk.

“Didn’t he just say he won’t be here tomorrow night?”


“Shit. We’d better go see what's going on.”

We ran down to his room, opened the door just in time to watch him shovel a handful of pills into his mouth.

“Are those just vitamins?”

“Yeah. I took all of these too.”

He pointed to his roommate’s closet.

“Oh shit. We gotta problem.”

His roommate, you see, has some kind of chromosome ailment for which he has to take a number of medications to control. Mr. X had emptied every single bottle – plus half a bottle of Excedrin.

“Call the Poison Control Center.”

My friend did. They said they’d call the proper people. They also told us to keep Mr. X right where he was. Indeed.

“Man, why did you wanna pull a stunt like this?”

“I’m tryin’ to OD.”


“There’s nothin’ left. It’s not worth it anymore.”

About five minutes later a couple of paramedics arrived. I felt like I as participating in an episode of Emergency. Honest, I did. They took him away in an ambulance. Nobody really seemed concerned about the whole thing – everybody was wearing a plastic face, it seemed to me. Professionals. I guess.

And that, more or less, was that.

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