Robert Pamperin was eaten by a Great White shark off the coast of California back in the late 50s. His last words were to his dive buddy, shouted at the surface: ‘Help me!’ Then he was swallowed. Imagine it. That is a moment in time imprinted forever on the two people who witnessed it and lived to talk to the newspapers about the ‘thrashing’ and the ‘crimson water’. I have tried to kill myself four times but even at those points of emotional distress I’d never pick Pamperin’s method of death. Not in a million years. Which is why suicide attempts, in my case, were selfish and weak. I sought a slow trip into unconsciousness, then respiratory collapse, followed by a gentle stopping of the heart. An easy way out with no jagged teeth and no thrashing. Cowardly. I know Pamperin didn’t commit suicide, but you get the point.
OK, so I lived and, I suppose, forty little white tablets and a load of alcohol can have the same results as a ton of marine animal with serrated teeth and a vicious blood-lust, given the right circumstances, but one way equals savage misadventure and other is simply pathetic. In the jaws of too many opiates and benzodiazepines there is no screaming, or panic. You just eventually close your eyes and drift away. There is nothing you can do. No shouting for help, or gouging at the beast’s eyes with a diving knife. You just accept the choice you’ve made and are thankful for it.The rest is up to fate. In my case, the first three times I hadn’t taken enough medication to kill me – though it did damage my liver – and the last one I survived because I threw up when I was unconscious, after ingesting enough meds to kill two or three people. I’d made sure that time, so I thought. And when I woke up, 36 hours later, and realised I was alive, I sobbed that I was such a failure I couldn’t even die properly.
Is there a moral here? Is there anything of value at all? I don’t know. I guess I can safely say I’ll never put myself in the position where I can be eaten by a shark, but that’s not a moral choice, that’s just a preference. There’s not enough control in the final seconds of being consumed by an animal; too many vague parameters. And, speaking postmortem-wise, it’s better to be slumped on a sofa than be shitted out the ass of something huge and hard to capture. People/family need closure even if you’ve got yours when the hammer dropped and the lights went out for the final time.
I won’t be swimming off the Californian coast today, or any other day, but my own pathetic, selfish, Great White shark attack could be at any time. I have the meds (my shark) and the soupy sea of a mental illness. It’s just luck or the random direction of a blood slick in the current that decide when the jaws bite down.
Take care out there all of you.