Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Flowers when you're dead. May 20, 2010.

“Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.” - Holden Caulfield, “The Catcher in the Rye”

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Anyone who has read “The Catcher in the Rye" knows that Holden Caulfield, angry and suicidal, winds up in a mental institution narrating the story of his life to a psychiatrist.

I think there are three kinds of reasons for suicides – depression, fear, and anger. The letters they leave behind are extremely different. Someone who is depressed does not want to hurt their loved ones, begs forgiveness and sincerely believes their loved ones will be better off without them. But someone who is angry fantasizes about the guilt and pain their death will cause.

In the days before their attempt, the angry person will imagine feeling vindicated at last at their funeral, while their family and friends weep. There is one problem with this scenario that they don’t consider. THEY WON’T BE AROUND to see the reactions of those they want to punish. They won’t get to enjoy their revenge – because they’ll be dead.

They’ll never get to hear those words they want to hear – “Oh, we’re so sorry we treated you so badly.” Which leads to the question – what’s the point of doing it?

Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.

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