Monday, September 17, 2007

Youthful Indiscretions: I Used To Prank Call Suicide Hotlines

I have probably killed myself 13 times, and it never ceased to be liberating, my tawdry routine reduced to a head wound victim bleeding out life's little bullshit. And yes, I do realize that I am King Asshole of the Universe right now, reigning over the lands of Douchbagia, but I'd rather reign in Unhygienic Feminine Products than serve in whatever the fuck is the opposite of that. Football? Golf? I'm not here to get into semantics.

If there was ever a question that I would go to hell, this soundly resolves it. I am going to be burning for eternity. But it was such a good ride.

If idle hands are the work of the devil, I should have given my hands something normal to do, like masturbate. While most kids kill time wanking it to women, I was constructing malicious social deviances. One of these was to prank call suicide hotlines.

Strangled by depression one fateful eve, I picked up the phone. I was lonely. I wanted someone to talk to. And what luck to find a business card for a toll free suicide hotline.

I grabbed this thread of hope dangling on the end of a telephone wire, and yanked hard.

Dialing...

Dialing...

Diali (*click*) "Suicide Prevention Center..."
Oh shit, I don't know what to say.
"...my name is Jason ********, how can I help?"
What the fuck should I say?
"Hello?"
I'm not suicidal I'm just lonely.
"Hello?"
Is it a crime to call without a real crisis?
"Hello, I'm here for you?"
Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh
"HELLO?"
"Oh yeah. Ummm. Hi..." think quick think quick think "...I just took a bottle of..." what kills you what kills you "...sleeping pills. Give me a reason to live or I take another."
His voice is as steady as a dial-up connection, "Suicide is never an answer. What kind of pills were they?"
"...Green ones?"
"You need to contact your local hospital immediately. I'll be here for you. Where do you live, I can call an ambulance right now."
"Don't you have caller ID?"
Some humor seeped into his words, "Nah. It sucks. We got these shitty phones from like, the 80s. All these non profits can't afford fancy stuff like that. I can always #69 you, but I don't think we can even call out on these phones." Holy hell. I felt some pride for this organization. Though it may be entirely accidental, funding fopahs have rendered it completely anonymous.
"Thanks for that. No longer want to kill myself. Keep up the good work. Kudos to you sir, kudos!"
"Wait, don't y-" *click*

Jesus! I have stumbled upon something! This kind of knowledge in the wrong hands could topple the entire suicide help system. Shit! I am the wrong hands! What havoc can be wreaked upon these poor sods dishing out their time to help the hopeless.

I need to learn to work a payphone.

Dialing...

Dialing...

Diali (*click*) "Suicide Prevention Center..."

"HOLY HELL GET IT OFF ME. THE BATS ARE FUCKING EVERYWHERE."
"What!?"
"MY GOD MAN THEY'RE EVERYWHERE, EATING THE EYES OUT OF FINE NUCLEAR FAMILIES. SHIT MAN CALL THE AUTHORITIES."
"WHA-" *click*

I bolted out of the booth and waited for the cops, listening for the ring of a terrified woman sweating in a call center somewhere. The phone hung patiently. A taco and two joints later, it still rested, completely mute. No wailing of sirens and no flashing of badges. What a racket I have stumbled on.

Now aware of my complete impunity to retribution, that twisted chamber of imagination began chugging out smoking cocktails of anarchy. This...this was free form. This was fucking avant garde theatre at its finest.

With the stage set, and the actors recruited from my personal pool of social pariahs, the show could go on. I put on elaborate plays, great dramas of our time to the lucky volunteer, an audience of one. Tales of passion and romance, blood and betrayal were recited into the receiver, parts played to perfection. Popguns, firecrackers, washing boards, watermelons, and hacksaws were all privy to our performances, giving us the nuances of sound, shut doors and broken hearts. Our audience was apart of the show, urging Julia to give up on Matthew, to put down that blade, to let go of anger despair and regret.

And in this we too were healed, dying each night only to awake to a star beautifully apathetic to our rocky satellite.

Our grand experiment had to die. Life was catching up too quickly to us, phonebills infallible evidence of our disregard. I had to kill it.

Where is that phonebooth?

Dialing...

Dialing...

Why do they never pick up until the third ring?

Diali (*click*) "Suicide Prevention Center, my name is Sarah..."
"Hi Sarah. Listen. I've got a twelve gauge under my chin. You have sixty seconds to give me a reason to live or my brains become one with the wall."
She sounds a little panicked. "Killing yourself isn't going to solve anything. Death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem..."
"I'm not solving a problem. I said give me a reason to live, not a reason to not die. Forty six seconds left."
"Think of your friends and family, and how this will effect them..."
"I'm an orphan and all my friends were killed in a chemical fire. Thirty five seconds left."
"What about all the experiences you will miss: you won't travel the world, you won't have sex..."
"I'm confined to a wheelchair and I was castrated when I was four. Twenty three seconds."
"Suicide is a sin..."
"I don't believe in God."
"Jesus man, what do you want from me!"
"A reason to live."
"Well shit, I don't know what the fuck to say to that. Why don't we all just kill ourselves then!?"
"Because nothing matters."
"Huh?"
"There, I did your job for you. Nothing matters. We are free to create ourselves and overcome our world. Nothing matters, so everything matters." My words are cumbersome, indecipherable, but somewhere in there is an inkling of knowledge. "I'm dead. Times up. But yours isn't. What are you going to do with your life?"
"Ho-" *click*

I used to prank call Suicide Hotlines. They gave me hope. And reason. I may have abused the system, but they accomplished their purpose. I still have this day, willing and malleable to my ends. Fuck yeah.

3 comments:

Salem MacGourley said...

I think your post relates to my last post.

Just as "Jack" went to support groups he shouldn't have for comfort, you took advantage of a type of support, albeit in an unorthodox way, for your own needs.

Other people, even the operators themselves, may see things differently, but I feel you used a resource for its proper purpose.

Tau Hecht said...

The parallels are uncanny. I didn't even see the relation between Jack's support group addiction and my own abuse of well meaning social advocates. Holy crap, I am Tyler Durden.

I would definitely put pretending to kill myself in the top two best expriences of my life, and it did help me get through 'the dark times'. However, I did not chronicle the occasions when it went wrong. There are few things more embarassing than being found out, and when my band's little tirades were interrupted with, "What is this shit?" it puts a damper on the experience.

I've had the burning desire to volunteer for suicide prevention services ever since that time, either as some kind of redemption or merely to see the other side of the coin, and help some lonely soul trapped out there in the web of life. Maybe someone would have the decency to prank call me.

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