Decisions, decisions

How best to commit suicide to ensure a painless and quick death, yet not cause anyone else distress or make a mess? Hmm…let’s weigh up the alternatives:

The technique is cheap, simple and universally known: swallow handfuls of prescription barbiturates and over-the-counter painkillers, wash them down with vodka, keep drinking, swallow more, lie back, await developments. My only reservation is that the most popular of the suicide methods is not infallible. Too often the outcome can be agony, 999 calls, stomach pumps, permanent damage to vital internal organs and an even worse life of dependent disability. Conclusion: NO – could go wrong.

All the rage in grim places where the trapped have few other choices – such as prisons and the Welsh valleys – and also the favoured spur-of-the-moment option among hot-headed young males who nobody ever bothered to teach how to take a setback, hanging is apparently so easy it can be accomplished with a mere shoelace. I find this surprising, because snapping a few of your own vertebrae seems a tricky task requiring knowledge of anatomy, tensile strength, knots and weight/height ratios – not to mention the sheer bravery of confronting that awful kick-away-the-chair moment. Conclusion: NO – sounds like hard work.

You will need to get to an elevation higher than a 10-storey building to make absolutely certain you don’t end up a brain-damaged quadriplegic, but the problem with leaping from the balcony of an urban tower block is that you could end up squashing somebody down on the street, so the likes of bridges and cliffs are more public-spirited locales. Penarth Head would be most convenient for me, but for such a one-off I’d take the trouble to go a little further afield to, say, Nash Point (cleaner air, better views). Conclusion: MAYBE – if I can get the petrol money together.

If you say the word “suffocation” out loud you inadvertently say the word “fuck”: proof positive of the essential silliness of censoriousness and prudery, non? Anyway, where was I? Oh yes: sticking a Lidl carrier bag over my head. Research tells me the urge to inhale is so overwhelming that many rip away the rubber band or claw holes in the plastic before unconsciousness has had time to fully set in. Conclusion: NO – too long-winded.

Believe it or not, this is a death I’ve already experienced! (see Take it from me, it’s not as bad as you imagine – you’ve just got to be in the right frame of mind to surrender to the awesome power of nature. Conclusion: MAYBE – with the right cocktail of drugs.

Like shooting fish in a barrel in the USA; but here it’s hard to get a gun, and the knowledge of where precisely to aim hasn’t been passed down through the generations. Sure, you stick it in your gob – but do you point up, down or straight ahead? And what about whiplash and recoil? Conclusion: NO – too violent and technical.

Oh Maura, dear Maura, what have you done Maura? Oh Maura, sweet Maura, why did you do it Maura? The tap drips, and the rippling water reflects sinuous patterns on the ceiling of candlelit bathroom. Maura looks beautiful, her head lolling on the surface of the deep red bathwater. An Irish girl with a baby, alone in London, not coping, far from home…Oh Maura, my Maura, you didn’t give me a chance Maura. Conclusion: NO – too bloody.

In the good old days you used to be able to stick your head in a gas oven to do the deed, but ever since comparatively toxin-free North Sea gas that traditional finale of the depressed housewife has been impossible – leaving electricity as the go-to utility for the domestic suicide. This is usually done by dropping any plugged-in and switched-on electronic appliance into the bath while having a soak. Conclusion: NO – excruciatingly painful.

Chucking yourself in front of an oncoming vehicle, driving a car at speed into a wall or just lying down on the railway tracks – there are numerous ways to organise an impact suicide. Where I live, the Paddington to Swansea mainline is handy and getting through Network Rail’s “security fence” would be like shelling peas, but there’s a lot of cameras and gangs of men working on the Windsor Road bridge 24 hours a day so to make sure I wasn’t disturbed, I’d go down Gwynllŵg. The inter-city trains shoot across the levels at over 100mph, making instantaneous decapitation and death a cakewalk. In the dead of night, among the reens, marshes and hedgerows of my childhood, the driver would just feel a tiny little shudder and never know. Conclusion: YES!

There you are then.

The way out by George Grie

The way out by George Grie