by Timothy Yam
They say that in the last minute before you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes. Everything you’ve ever done, every achievement you’ve ever won, every person you’ve ever loved, all of it comes rushing straight at you for that final minute.
Bullshit. Now here’s what really happens.
See, the last minute of your life begins after about 5 or 6 songs into the concert. Pick a random pop tart, any one will do really, they are all pretty interchangeable. As long as she’s blonde, has big tits, and is utterly tone-deaf, it’s good enough. So after 5 or 6 songs, she usually does her little spiel about how she hopped around in front of a mirror when she was young and lip-synched into a hairbrush to Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’. I wonder if she understands the definition of irony?
So, as she’s yadda-yaddaing and blah-blah-blahing into the mike about her glorious lucky break (that’s a new euphemism for “sex with a producer”, by the way), that’s when I get up onstage, point a gun to my temple (left one, not right, I find that side of my face more aesthetically appealing), and say ever so calmly to the adoring, attentive crowd, that I am going to kill myself.
What inevitably happens is pandemonium. I never quite got that. Did I say I was going to kill everyone? No. Exact words. I. Am. Going. To. Kill. Myself. Myself. Meaning me. No one else. Yet, somehow, these people seem to assume I have it in for them as well. Maybe they are deaf. That could explain what they are doing at a concert like this. Of course, one person, either from the crowd, or security, will try to be the fucking hero and rush me. That’s when I break out the classic line. ‘Take one more step and I’ll kill myself!” Really, nobody appreciates how hard it is to do that line. You have to get the right amount of desperation, depression, agony, angst, and just plain crazy into it. Bonus points if you manage to pull it off when crying. Bonus bonus points if you manage to pull it off when crying and sniffling. As it is, I don’t really mean to brag, but let’s just say that I’m the Sir Laurence Fucking Olivier of that line. Practice makes perfect, after all.
Eventually, my adoring, attentive public arrive. The media, pointing cameras at me. The crowd, pointing fingers at me. And the police, pointing guns at me. See, once again, the utter stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me. I’m going to kill myself, and the cops somehow believe that I will back down if they threaten to shoot me themselves. I’d probably welcome the assistance. I wonder if they understand the definition of irony?
This is the point where I would whole-heartedly recommend finding the hottest reporter in the crowd. Really, you should. Trust me on this. Just scan the crowd with your tear-riddled eyes, through the flashbulbs of cameras and find the hottest reporter. Preferably with the biggest rack. All this will pay dividends later, I swear.
So once that is done, I trot out my spiel about my childhood, bereft of hairbrushes, mirrors, or Madonna (thank God), and instead, talk about the non-existent abuses I suffered at the hands of my imaginary parents. I was beaten. Molested. Burned. Boiled. Smacked. Fucked. Poor little imaginary me, suffering the most horrendous abuses the human mind can come up with. I’m winning them over. It’s a subtle thing, but you can see it. The cops lower their guns ever so slightly, the cameras close in a little bit more, invariably towards the left side where I’m holding the gun, my better side. It’s amazing how much a little planning can do for you.
I end my childhood, and go on to my adulthood. I’m psychologically scarred. I’m socially inept. I have bad dreams. I see dead people. And so on, and so on. I think I even see one reporter shed a tear for me. Or maybe just for the camera. Hard to tell. Then, someone yells out, “You have something to live for!”
Which is the most challenging phase of the final minute of your life. Nobody said dying was easy. You have to sell this. Let them know that they can save you. But you can’t make it too easy, because everyone loves a challenge. But you can’t make it too difficult either, lest they get bored of you. We’re on tricky ground now. Every response I make from now on needs to be pitch perfect.
“Oh yeah, what do I have to live for?”
“There’s always hope!”
Oh god, can we be any more specific? Fucking idiot. You can tell he’s an amateur.
“No there isn’t! No one loves me. No one cares. I might as well end it all!”
“God loves you!”
Shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits! Bloody idiot. Now I’m stuck. Deny the existence of God, and we get trapped in a theological debate for the next half hour. Bo-ring. Say God exists, and this show ends in five minutes, tops. Say, that reminds me of a joke. Man stands on a bridge, threatening to jump. Priest tells him, don’t do it, think of your family. Man says, I have no family, my parents are dead and my wife left me. Priest tells him, don’t do it, think of your friends. Man says, I have no friends, they all left me once I went bankrupt. No house, no family, no friends, no money. Nothing to live for. Priest tells him, don’t do it, think of the Virgin Mary and the sacred church. Man says, I am not a Catholic. Priest then tells him, ok, then go ahead and jump.
Haha. Hilarious. Oh wait! God doesn’t care about me! That’s the fucking answer! Can’t believe it took me that long to get it.
“No, he cares for everyone!”
“Where is he now! He has abandoned me, I am cast adrift in a sea of loneliness and despair!” Ugh. Did I say that? It seemed pretty decent in my mind, but sounds terribly wanky onstage. Note to self: rewrite script.
“No my son, he loves everyone, if you will let him into your life!”
“But I’m scared. And I am broken, and evil! God can never love me! No one can ever love me!”
That’s when the crowd get into it. Everyone loves you! You’re a shining, special, wonderful individual! A unique snowflake, twinkling through the cold night air to brighten someone’s winter night! A child of God, destined to serve his divine purpose! Life is meaningful! Life is great! Life is worth living! Choose life! Oh wait, that last one was from Trainspotting. Good movie. Couldn’t understand what the fuck they were saying though.
So anyway, we’ve reached the climax of our last minute. The crowd is hooked, all in rapturous attention at this wondrous drama of life and death. They want resolution. They want an end. They want catharsis. They want to feel something. Anything.
So, I end it all.
Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
“I want to live!” I cry out, as I drop the gun. I then dash into the bosom of the best-looking reporter (told you guys it would pay off) and sob, all while copping several feels of that generously proportioned body. Hey, for the exclusive story I’m giving her, it’s a fair deal. Quid pro quo. I barely say a word more though, as the cops and the paramedics drag me from her. I am sedated, put in an ambulance, and rushed to the hospital.
There, on that bed, after the morphine wears off (I’ve developed a decent tolerance for it by now), I rise. I am reborn, like a phoenix from the ashes of my weeping, blubbering, shivering cadaver. We are all reborn in that arena that night. People have seen death in the face, stared it down, and life has triumphed. Oh how it has. Cops go home and tell their wives, “I saved a life today”. Paramedics tell their partners, “Maybe it’s all worth it after all.” Reporters tell their audience “Hope and love have won over pain and suffering”. And I’m sure some guy, in some bar, is hitting on a girl with the lines “Hey baby, I stopped a guy from committing suicide today. Wanna fuck?”
We all bask in what we’ve seen today. It’s almost religious. Like an epiphany. Life is short. Life is meaningless, when you think about it. We are born, and then we die. All that gives our lives meaning is death. The realization that it will all end, and all we have is now. And I see death, every time I stand here. Look it in the eye, come so close to it I can almost kiss its cold lips. Let it come, let me stand on the precipice, and let me be redeemed. Me, the centre of the world, with my adoring audience hanging on my every word. And together, we bask in the beauty of life, we affirm the meaning of it all, we feel salvation thanks to my sacrifice.
And nobody needs to know it’s all bullshit. Nobody needs to know that the love, the joy, the epiphany, all of it, is bullshit. Nobody needs to know that I walk out of that hospital the very next day. Nobody needs to know that I move to a new city, with a new name, a new identity, a new self. Nobody needs to know that one month later, at a different venue, live and exclusive, I threaten to die in front of a crowd of people once again. And in some weird and wonderful way, I succeed. Nobody needs to know that I really did kill myself that night, the old me lost to the world forever. All anybody needs to know is that for a brief period of time, I felt loved, felt wanted, felt alive. And I will feel it again tonight.
So that’s what happens at the end. Forget the shit that people feed you about it, just trust in me, and believe. This IS what happens at the last minute of your life. After all, I should know. I’ve had quite a few.