Uit: Slackjaw: A Memoir
“There, you see? Can you imagine how they would feel if you killed yourself?”
“So, what, I should go on living solely out of guilt? Guilt overhow they would feel if I were to end it? That’s not much to workwith.” I chuckled.
“See? You just laughed! If you laugh, that must meansomething. Everything’s not completely dark.”
“Well, Wagner said,” I responded, one more young man whotook his Wagner too seriously, “`Amidst laughter should we faceour doom.'”
“Never mind,” I told her, knowing the whole thing was amistake. It wasn’t going anywhere, and never would go anywhere.”Thanks for taking the time, but I’m suddenly real tired. I’mgoing to bed.”
“Are you still thinking about hurting yourself?”
“Well, yeah. But right now I’m just too damn tired.” Thesefew minutes on the phone with her had completely sapped whatenergy I had left. She began to say something else, but I hungup. Useless. I lay down on my mattress, still dressed, and fellasleep.
The next morning was brisk and clear outside. Therewere things I was supposed to be doing, but for the life of me, Icouldn’t remember what. I put on my hat and coat, left theapartment, and started walking in a direction I’d never gone. I hadstarted wearing a black fedora everywhere when I was sixteenyears old. At the time, I thought it made me look like Bogart. Iwas mistaken. So many of us go through life trying to be Bogartor Cagney, but we mostly end up like Elisha Cook, Jr. I certainlydid. But the hat stayed. It was my most identifiable feature.
I walked for hours, hoping I could exhaust myself and walkthe bad thoughts out of my head. Once my legs started gettingnumb, I turned around and started back home. While I walked,I took inventory, only to discover that there was nothing to count.
When I got home, I opened the door, threw my hat and coaton the mattress, snatched the razors off the desk, took them into the bathroom, and searched in vain for a comfortable spot on the tiled floor. After a few minutes I gave up on that silly notion and set to work on the right wrist.”
Jim Knipfel (Green Bay, 2 juni 1965)