If you’ve visited the blog over the past couple of days, you know that I’m building toward the online FREE release of my new record “New Year’s Eve” this weekend by posting the story in sections on the blog. We’re up to the final part of the story. I hope you’ve been enjoying it. If you missed the previous parts and/or are reading this in the future and this just happened to be the page you stumbled upon, here are a couple of links…
So…now that we’re all caught up. Let’s finish this thing! Same rules apply about the copyright and whatnot.
It hurt, if you’re wondering. Of course it did. It was probably the roof of the van caving in that saved my life–and Ms. Paponicolas ruins ANOTHER New Year’s Eve. Hindsight’s always 20/20. Still, at least her insurance didn’t cover suicide jumpers. Something went right, anyway.
You read stories about jumpers who survived in newspapers and books from time to time. I’d read one a few years ago about a guy who jumped off of a bridge into a river, and just as he was in the air–the point of no turning back–he realized that he wanted to live. Of course, if aiming for a van-roof was an ineffective way to kill yourself, then aiming for a RIVER (as long as you can swim) was just a pathetic cry for help. That guy didn’t even skin his knees. I dislocated both shoulders, broke my nose and right cheek-bone, irreparably severed a tendon in my left leg, shattered most of my teeth, and suffered the other abrasions and bruises that you’d pretty much expect of a guy plummeting through a van-roof from the twelfth story of a building.
I should have picked a different day, or maybe a quieter street. As it was, there were tons of people around. Plenty of folks to scream and gasp at the sound of the crash, the “thunk” of my body hitting the van, the crushed metal…and The Scream. Even I was shocked by The Scream. It was the sound of the Living. The sound of Life desperate for Life. I struggle to even call it my own voice. It was coming from my lungs, yet wholly separate from me.
I knew almost upon impact that I was going to live, because I was sure I’d pass out roundabout floor eight…but I didn’t. I didn’t lose consciousness. It just hurt. A lot. I probably drifted in and out with the blood loss, but I was awake when the ambulance got there. I felt them insert the needle to knock me out. Then I woke up in the hospital. It sucked.
It’s been seven months of surgery and recovery. There were/are legal ramifications of course, but let’s not get into it. All that’s really relevant is the choice I had to make. I had three options. (1) Try again. (2) Don’t try again, but live in misery. (3) Adapt and overcome. Option #1 was out. The Scream told me that. Option #2 was somewhat to my liking. I’ve always been a pessimist and a misanthrope. (Chloe preferred the term “sanctimonious-asshole,” but I think “misanthrope” sounds classier.) But Option #3 seemed the one thing I hadn’t tried.
I’ve spent most of my life being the person everyone told me to be. My parents told me to be a good student. My high school guidance counselor told me to got to college. My college advisor told me to go into literature and teaching. My job told me to clean out my desk. My wife told me I was distant and unloving. My friends told me I’d become hard to be around. My brain told me to believe them and then told me to jump. My psychiatrist tells me I’ve got a long road ahead and that I’ve got to “do the work.” My priest tells me to say the Lord’s Prayer and I’ll be redeemed.
My heart tells me to listen to my gut…
Tune in tomorrow for the music!