Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Virtual Suicide

He decided that instead of actual suicide, he would plan a virtual suicide. First, he didn't like pain, and the continuation of his current life was like wading hip deep in a constant current of anxiety and loneliness. But he had two very good reasons to not commit actual suicide: he enjoyed living, and had hope that life would get better. He remembered better times, and there was no reason not to assume that he couldn't have those moods and feelings again. He didn't need a lot of money, success or fame (or actually any of it) in order to feel good. He just needed a peaceable companionship, and a notion that he was part of something larger, that he mattered.

But he couldn't perservere in the status quo. He began having death fantasies, of strangling himself or of eating himself to death. These were warning signals that he noticed and to some degree ignored because of his doubts. For doubt circled him like a flock of ravens. How would he live? Would he be able to pay his bills? How would he receive healthcare if he got sick? What would he do with all his stuff?

At last realized that it was his stuff that was holding him back: a vast collection of books, cds, dvds, media of all kinds; comic books, graphic novels, paper, paper, paper...

Paper enough to forge a warm cocoon of inaction, of repose, indolence and solitude. What he thought he always wanted--but which had worn very thin in practice. Like a little butter spread across too much bread. He woke up one day to find that his spirit had turned into Gollum.

So he began to divest, to toss and discard the detritus of paper and media that he had spent 30 years collecting. The pieces he couldn't bear to part with, he digitized, with his camera, his scanner and his videocapture software, so that he could reduce his burden of stuff to a more manageable level. He began a process of whittling away the superfluous: books he had never read, or would never read, the computer games he would never play, the dvds and CDs he would never watch or listen to again. And if it was ever in question, he could just render them into pixels and take them with him, no more than airy nothing.

And he found as he cleared away the coagulation of crap that plugged his living stream, his spirit begin to flow and grow again.