There are stories every day about some rescuer heroically stopping a suicide attempt -- breaking down a door, scooping someone off a ledge or cutting a noose down with a ninja star. But sometimes there's no strapping fireman or hero cop or friendly ninja, just one little silly thing between life and death.
Something like ...
The 16-year-old Chinese boy in this story was having a pretty shitty time. His mother was dead and he was convinced his stepmother hated him, probably because she stole all his dad's money and left the two of them homeless and scrambling to stay alive.
So he decided to jump off a bridge. The police came, and hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch the show and not try to help at all. Then Liu Wenxiu, a 19-year-old waitress passing by, saw what was going on.
She was a quick thinker and got past the cops by making up a story on the spot about how she was his girlfriend and this suicide was over her. She didn't try to talk the boy out of it, but just listened to his story and then showed him her scarred right wrist, which got his attention. Then she told him her story about her equally shitty home life, and her own suicide attempts. "He had to be saved," she said later, "because I've been there before and I knew exactly how it was."
From What's On Xiamen
"Look at me," she told him. "I've been there and I'm now here." Then, knowing every 16-year-old boy's kryptonite, she gave him a hug and kissed him.
From What's On Xiamen
In this state, he was more than willing to let the cops take away the knife he was wielding and haul him to safety.
From What's On Xiamen
Later, they exchanged phone numbers and she promised to call him and check on how he was doing. Though they probably didn't hook up due to their age difference, he may have realized that killing himself would have taken away his future, which very possibly might contain sex. Oh yeah, and probably he also realized how he wasn't alone and other people knew what it was like. But also sex.
Now if your take-away from this story is that you can threaten suicide in the hopes of getting a girl to kiss you, that's clearly one possibility. But for every Liu Wenxiu, there's one of these impatient assholes that will actually help push you off the bridge.
From MSNBC.comDon't worry, he survived.
Are you a gambling man?
A Sarah McLachlan Song
So D.M.C., or Darryl McDaniels, of Run-D.M.C., was at the top of his game in 1997, on tour in Europe, when he fell into an "Is this all there is?" funk. You people who have sold multi-platinum albums or purchased Greek islands know what I'm talking about. It wasn't just a mild feeling of something missing either -- he'd actually decided to commit suicide when he got home.
You young kids do not even START asking who Run-D.M.C. was. Look it up.
As he was being driven home from the airport, Sarah McLachlan's song "Angel" started playing on the radio. Yes, the song that manipulates you into helping abused kittens and puppies. Anyway, they didn't have that commercial in 1997, so D.M.C. wasn't thinking about how he should adopt a dog, but how life was worth living after all.
Although the two concepts aren't completely unrelated, as you'll see in entry #1.
He put away his suicide plans and just started listening to a whole lot of Sarah McLachlan. A while later, he found out he himself was adopted, and finally life made sense for him. His adoption had put him in the right place at the right time to meet Run and Jam Master Jay and form Run-D.M.C. and resurrect Aerosmith by recording "Walk This Way" with them and all that business. And the point of this remarkable destiny, D.M.C. decided (other than helping Aerosmith), was for him to use his street cred to promote adoption and help foster kids.
As part of that mission, he asked Sarah McLachlan to record a "Cat's In The Cradle" cover with him, telling her the whole story of how her music changed his life. Turned out she was also adopted. Hell, maybe that's why she wants people to adopt cats and dogs.
So instead of killing himself, now D.M.C. is helping foster kids and listening to a lot of Sarah McLachlan music.
Anyway, something to think about next time you make fun of a friend for listening to music "for pussies."
A Firing Pin
Now I don't know a lot about guns, and gun parts, but I gather that the "firing pin" is a part of the gun that makes the gun fire. This is important, because when Joe Sanders, a soldier worn down from the stress of fighting in Iraq and the recent news that his wife was leaving him, put his M-4 carbine to his chin and pulled the trigger, the firing pin was missing.
I couldn't pick it out. Also I'm pretty sure this is the wrong gun.
His roommate, Albert Godding, walked in and found Sanders panicking, asking where his firing pin was. Godding asked him exactly how he happened to discover it was missing, at which point Sanders put two and two together and broke down. Godding had heard his roommate talk about killing himself earlier that day and quietly removed the pin.
I'm not sure what Godding's plan was for if Sanders didn't try to kill himself before he went back on patrol or whatever, but the point is that instead of dying, Sanders went to see the army counselor, got a lot better and is engaged again.
Apparently it's a big problem for a lot of soldiers to ask for help, since as manly men, they should just be able to rip a truck in half whenever they're down, and feel better. That's probably why Godding felt like he had to do the pin trick, since just asking his friend to open up about his feelings probably wouldn't have worked.
"What's wrong, buddy? I just want us to share about feelings. That's your favorite thing, right?"
But not everybody knows where a firing pin on a gun is, so I think it's a good idea for manly men to try to ask for help. At the very least, it will save your family from breaking your gun when they are trying to find the firing pin.
A Massive Pile of Garbage
Apparently, last winter there was a huge snowstorm in New York, leaving conditions so shitty that nobody could pick up garbage. Bags of garbage started to pile up on the curbs and all the Febreze in the world couldn't do a thing about it. Serves them right for living in a place where it snows, is what I say. Sensible people prefer to take the risk of half their state falling into the ocean.
By USGS, via Wikimedia Commons
Anyway, hard-luck story Vangelis Kapatos, dealing with a nervous breakdown and facing eviction, jumped from his ninth story apartment and happened to land right in one of those massive piles of garbage, saving his life. Keep in mind this was still a nine-story fall. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition -- but still, he was alive.
It's nice to know that after hearing the story, the city's papers were able to find just the tone needed for such a bleak, tragic story of human suffering.