01 October 2008

David Foster Wallace: Not Exactly a Tribute

I had the same reaction as one of my favorite bloggers (Skot over at Izzle! Izzle pfaff!) to Foster Wallace's death: You asshole.

I don't care how miserable he was, or how unable to go on. You don't ruin someone else's life just when you're about to escape your own.

It's only a notch above suicide-by-cop or any other form of suicide where people were obviously planning to kill themselves eventually, but first, they take out a few other people with them. The recent WVa killings are in this category. So, depressed fellas (and gals), do us all a favor; quietly kill yourself, alone, where you are certain to be found by a stranger, preferably a cop or someone else used to dealing with death and dead bodies. In fact, why don't you kill yourselves on the front porch of the local mortuary? Save everyone some trouble.

Of course I am a little sad about the students he won't teach (he was, by all accounts, a great teacher) and for the books, stories, and essays he'll never write, and I have nothing but empathy for his wife. But I'm mad about the way I will never be able to think of "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" (or anything else he ever wrote) without thinking about his death, and specifically the manner of his death, and I'm mad about the way he chose to leave this earth.

You asshole.

*And to anyone who's thinking, "Oh, you've obviously never been depressed; you just don't understand, he couldn't help himself!" well, you'd be wrong. I've been depressed. I've been really, REALLY depressed. But if I would have ever seriously considered killing myself, I would have considered it my absolute duty to die away from my house, or the house of a friend, or anywhere where it would give people the heebie-jeebies for the rest of their lives, and I would have made damn sure that a law enforcement official would have found me.

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