Poor Yavuz Berke, now Adam Leon. He’s that 31-year-old Turkish-origin Canadian student pilot who wanted to end his life but couldn’t summon the courage to do it himself. Deciding to outsource the job, he stole a plane from his flight school a few days ago and flew into American airspace without authorisation, figuring that he’d be put out of his misery by their jumpy, post-9/11 air force.
He spent hours overflying several US states, desperate to be shot up. Imagine his sense of betrayal when, instead of blowing him out of the sky, the F-16 fighter jets followed him around and tried to talk to him, just like everyone else! Finally out of fuel, but self-preservation maddeningly intact, the unhappy fellow landed carefully on a highway, walked to a grocery store and sipped a cold drink while waiting for the police, which, when it arrived, was no doubt perversely understanding.
Seriously, what does a bloke have to do to check out these days? Suicidal depression is an unbearably painful state to live in. Yet choosing death, let alone by one’s own hand, takes more courage than most people have. I know I want to kill myself about twice a day but, on account of spinelessness, get only as far as a bit of black humour (it’s the really unfunny things you’d better be able to laugh at). This is either lucky or unfortunate, depending on how you feel about the sanctity of life.
I’m relieved that Leon survived to see his psychiatrist another day, but I retain a sneaking sympathy for people in the double hell of an unbearable life and an impossible death, who want to die but can’t bring themselves to actually stick in the knife/jump off the cliff/swallow the poison/pull the trigger. Their only option seems to be to try to put themselves in harm’s way and let things take their course; and clearly, the US Air Force is unreliable.
What else could you do? The classic Hollywood solution is to hire a hit man to kill you at some undisclosed time and place. This being Hollywood, you’d meanwhile fall passionately in love and spend the rest of your time on the run trying to contact the assassin and cancel the order, until you discover that your new love is the assassin’s ex, so he or she is going to kill you anyway. Melodramatic, but that’s Hollywood.
If you’re female and tired of life, you could head over to the Swat Valley and engage strange men in conversation, maybe show a bit of leg. This option might also be available in Kashmir before long, given recent reports of Taliban infiltration across the Pakistan border. The downside is that they may not kill you completely dead. But then again they might.
You could invite a few hard-up pensioners over one evening, lay on a terrific spread, talk about your flat screen television and resort holiday, and mention that you worked on Wall Street and will never have to work again because of the enormous bonus they just gave you before letting you go for gambling away everyone’s pension funds. This death may actually be more painful than anything available in Swat, but is guaranteed.
If you really are fabulously rich, you have only to exploit, insult and otherwise alienate your spouse and/or children, then just sit back and let nature take its course.
Yeah, all right, Thanatos is a tough nut to crack. But if you’re really determined, just spend the day driving around Delhi. That’s so effective that it works even for people who have no desire to die.