100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #87.

So you feel like the walls are closing in, the wolves are at the door, and you’re at the end of your rope.

But why do you feel that way?

If you feel like a loser you need to ask yourself a simple question: Whose barometer of success am I using? In other words…

#87: Fuck The “Rules”!

Yes, I’m breaking my self-imposed rule against cursing on this site – but that’s the point exactly. Who says your life sucks so bad you need to leave it behind in the first place?

So what if your house looks like it hasn’t seen an update since the first Wall Street crash of the Twenties? At least it’s yours. Some people are reading this from their parents’ basement. Which again, is fine; at least they’re not homeless. And if you are homeless… At least you’re not dead. Where there’s life there’s hope. Always.

You’ve been with the same partner for over twenty years and the rut is becoming unbearable? At least you’re getting laid. (I hope.) Even bad pizza is still pizza and it’s the envy of a starving man.

Donald J. Trump may not be setting the world on fire with his presidential prowess but he still beat all the odds (and defied logic) and made it to the White House. And his entire cabinet took a step up and left the looney bin behind.

Kevin Hart may be a homophobic prick in the eyes of the world at the moment but he’s still responsible for some great films (Night School was magnifico) and he’s still one of the funniest homophobic pricks on the planet, so…

 

Charlie Sheen may have HIV and a career in tatters bu the also has people who love him and past triumphs to keep him warm at night. And so do you.

 

We spend so much time obsessing over what we don’t have that there’s no time left to be grateful for everything we do possess. Screw the idea of keeping up with the Kardashians, just thank Dog that you’re above ground. Celebrities, athletes, politicians, authors, whomever you envy, just know that they’re never as happy as they appear. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve achieved, we all have demons and challenges lurking in the corners of our lives. And never forget that everyone you envy wouldn’t be successful without the so-called “little people”.

We equate fame with success or victory but a single mom who works two jobs to put food in her kids’ bellies and clothes on their backs is as successful as someone who sells millions of records. A veteran who takes those first few tentative steps after losing a limb defending the innocent is as victorious as anyone with an Academy Award.

Take me for example, (seriously, my wife will pay you). I’ve driven my self to a breakdown over a failed book, a stalled blog and numerous failed pitches to the CBC. Dozens of celebrities have said “yes” to my interview requests only to ghost me afterwards. Oh, and I have IBS and I suffer after 99% 0f my meals.

I feel like a loser at times.

But then I remember that I’m married to the love of my life, we have a great kid together, a nutty dog, a big house that’s paid for, and a few pennies in the bank. I’m also a white male (though balding with a gut) who lives in the best damn country in the world – in spite of Justin Trudeau’s efforts to change that.

So I have diddly squat to complain about… Though we all know I still do. Some people may disagree, in fact, I know they do, but I’m not a loser.

And neither are you.

So keep on living life by a set of rules that won’t leave you looking down so often and you’ll be okay. You’re a winner. Period.

See you in the lobby, friends…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #88.

When we’re stressed, especially when that stress pushes you to the edge, the world becomes too much to handle… Especially the deafening noise.

#88: The Sound of Silence.

No, this isn’t a tribute to Paul Simon, though fair warning, he may be making an appearance down the road. This title, though somewhat misleading, refers to a little exercise everyone should engage in at least once a day.

Here’s how it works:

  • Go outside. (If you’re already out there, walking to work, or taking a smoke break, you can take a pause for the cause.)
  • If you can’t get outside for whatever reason, open a window or log onto YouTube and search out a video featuring nature sounds. (See where I’m going with this?)
  • Pause.
  • Shut out the cacophony of noise we surround ourselves with every day. Push away the people, cars, devices, television, whatever and just… Listen to the world as it continues to exist.

On my porch I can hear squirrels racing about like the furry little freeloaders they are, birds chasing each other and hunting for food, wind, (especially if my brother-in-law’s out there having a smoke) and various groans and moans of Mother Nature as she continues to endure in spite of mankind’s numerous crimes against her beauty. I recognize that if you’re a resident of your state’s penal system closing your eyes while in the yard during free time may be hazardous to your health, especially if Little Mikey of the Italian contingent wants to bury a shank in your ass, but just have your homies take turns circling you for a minute or so.

Trust me, no matter what you have going on, it’ll be worth it. Just don’t do it when you’re driving or operating heavy machinery.

When you stop listening you can hear everything.

This exercise works best at the beach or in a wooded area. Big cities like New York or Toronto don’t have forests but they have “wooded areas’ – for now – so take advantage of that open space wherever you can find it. Drink in the sound of the waves lapping against the shore, woodpeckers assaulting Groot’s relatives, et cetera, et cetera. You’ll feel… Very small.

 

But the upside is that you’ll also be below that imaginary line we all have when we say, “I’ve had it up to here with..” Communing with the world’s natural audio will make you feel connected to a force that’s bigger than yourself – but only if you let it.

Never forget: Suicide is a choice, one you’re in complete control of.

So take your time. Just like a three-way with a necrophiliac, suicide isn’t something you want to rush into.

See you in the lobby or on the nature path, friends…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #89.

I recognize that there are those among you who will not be swayed by emotional appeals, humor, or even nostalgia.

But what about sound economic reasoning?

Do you have any idea just how much a funeral with all the trimmings costs these days? Or for that matter, what a pauper’s funeral costs in 2019?

#89: The High Cost Of Dying.

When my father-in-law passed away a few years back we were devastated but the actual mourning process had to wait; there was no time to cry when you have to plan a funeral. Of course, my father-in-law didn’t want us to make a “big deal” about his passing. He knew what we knew: Most people can’t afford to die, even if they want to.

Granted, it’s not the suicide victim that has to worry about the economic hardship paying for a funeral can cause, but their loved ones certainly do.

 

Start selling those kidneys folks…

Here’s a brief look at some of the charges modern Canadian funeral homes place in front of mourners.

  •  Transportation from the hospital to the funeral facility, and in necessary, back and forth from the crematorium.
  •  A cremation casket. (Even though it’s literally going to go up in smoke.)
  •  Death certificates and registration of death with various agencies. (Though it should be noted that you’ll be on the hook to let most government agencies know of your loved one’s passing, your funeral director will take care of a few for you.)
  •  Preparation of the corpse. (No, they won’t let you do her make-up or dress Grandma in her Sunday best if you want to save a few schillings.)
  •  Media notices. Fun Fact: Sky writing is cheaper than a modern newspaper obituary.)
  •  Those little (not cheap) cards everyone takes at the service – and then promptly tosses aside when they get home. (Personally, I think something user-friendly like a ruler or tape measure would be a more effective way to keep your loved one’s memory alive. You won’t forget Grandpa when he helps you measure out a new deck.)

Then there are taxes (like Death, you can’t escape ’em) and the question of whether or not you want to spend more cash on a post-internment reception. Yes, it gives people a chance to mourn together, but it mostly just gives people a chance to fill their gobs and get drunk together. As opposed to an expensive send-off as my father-in-law was, he would’ve really flipped his spectral lid if we had a reception afterwards.

The cold, hard truth is, we had a funeral for ourselves to pay our final respects for a man we all loved dearly. We’re just damn lucky we could afford to pay for it; at the end of the day we were looking at a $15,000 bill, complete with “the same coffin the Kennedys use!” according to our funeral director’s spouse. Granted, it even had a little drawer for treasure effects like an autographed copy of a cast photo of The Sopranos.

Hey, to each their own, right?

My mother, on the other hand, didn’t want a funeral or service of any kind, just a simple cremation. And in her case, we complied.

But it still cost over four grand for two urns and the whole crispy process.

And on that note, think long and hard about the people and – the bill – you’ll be leaving behind if you choose the date on which you leave this plane of existence. Sure, there are those who don’t blink when it comes to funeral expenses; like the guy who pulled up to our local facility, his deceased mother in the backseat of his caddy and said to the staff, “Mom’s in the back. Give her a simple burial and charge my card… I have to get back to Toronto to keep closing deals!” But most people aren’t this guy.

Take a nanosecond and consider simple economics and their effect on those you’re leaving behind. Death ain’t cheap, baby.

See you in the lobby and your bank’s loan department, kids…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #90.

Taste is the most powerful of all our senses.

Discuss among yourselves – but do it later, I have business to conduct right now. And today that business begins with that distinctive “pop, pop” sound of… You guessed it… Gunfire. Yes, I loves me a good drive-by, I surely do.

Not buying it? What, white boys can’t engage in good old fashioned street violence now? All right time to get to the point, the real one.

I love popcorn. I love it as much as Louis C. K. loves exposing himself while mocking victims of school shootings. And that’s a whole lot of lovin’, baby.

From the smell, the texture, the look (like little brains that have exploded in a symphony of sound and fury!) the way the artery-clogging butter glistens on its surface, popcorn is one of the Big Guy’s greatest creations, It’s right up there with my wife, orgasms and comic books. And yes, in that order.

I can’t truly enjoy a film in a theater without it. Canadian cinemas no longer serve popcorn in buckets (I lobby against this travesty every election season but politicians care more about the glamorous causes like taxes and illegal budgie fighting rings) but one of the best things about going to New York City with my daughter is visiting the AMC Empire 25 theater at 234 West 42nd Street, and diving into a ginormous Yankee-sized bucket of the stuff. God bless America and it’s penchant for extremism.

My earliest memories of the white stuff (not cocaine!) stem from that glorious creation that’s led to more than one four-alarm kitchen fire, Jiffy Pop. If you’re not familiar with this bygone snack of another era take a gander below…

“It’s science, kids! Now go get in the back of my van!”

All good now? Then we’ll continue.

Jiffy Pop was a magnificently-innocent, interactive snack that brought families together. If the video above takes you back to a simpler time long before the age of the microwave I hope it brings good memories with it. Hold onto those memories. Hold onto your love of a snack like popcorn (we all have a favorite). But whatever you do… Hold on.

Food can do more than just make us grow love handles and increase our cholesterol count tenfold, it can shake long-buried recollections loose and most importantly, it keeps us alive. But more than that, it should be fun to consume! Popcorn fits the bill in every way. I don’t care how broken you may be, everyone has a cherished/unforgettable memory that involves popcorn in some way.

For me it was snacking on a giant glass bowl of delicious Jiffy Pop while watching The Love Boat with Cheryl Harrison in her parent’s basement on a Saturday night. (This was long before Netflix or even VHS recorders, kids, truly the Dark Ages) She swiped some of her mom’s peppermint Schnapps out of the liquor cabinet and while I didn’t drink, I was more than happy to allow her to take a few swigs, thus hopefully ensuring a carnal elementary school victory for yours truly.

As Gopher and Julie chatted on the Lido Deck, we dry humped like two awkward, inexperienced rabbits. Then she threw up on me.

The best part of this tale? It wasn’t even my worst date ever.

So if your demons come calling just throw a packet of Orville Redenbacher in the microwave, select a season of Stranger Things from the Netflix menu and hold on. Even the simplest of pleasures is still a pleasure and pleasure trumps pain every time.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #91.

Even if you’re not politically-inclined this one should still stir something in you.

Even if it’s only disgust.

#91: US President Donald Trump.

To begin with, for those of you who are still here, this post is not an endorsement of American President Donald J. Trump, nor am I condemning him. No, this is just your ole buddy, The Hook, pointing out an irrefutable fact.

From the second he announced his presidential run – which was more like a political wildfire – Donald Trump made the US political scene (and the world) the most exciting place in the Multiverse.

He banged a porn star. Stormy Daniels said she hated it and that she wasn’t attracted to Trump at all. And yet, she admits no one forced her to engage in said coitus. I thought you only had sex with people you didn’t like when there was a paycheck involved, Stormy?

People assume he wants to “Stormy” his daughter, Ivanka. I don’t know about that, but all I’ll say is that they have the oddest, ickiest father/daughter relationship in pop culture history.

He lies so much his pants are now woven out of asbestos.

 

Alec Baldwin’s Trump impersonation is worth living for.

 

The environment isn’t high on his list of priorities (to say the very least). Why save the planet when you can create your own Space Force to ferry you off to Mars when you’ve turned Earth into an uninhabitable ball of gas? And speaking of space… there’s actually a branch of the United States military called Space Force?

Seriously?

Space Force sounds like an Eighties toy line. “Collect the entire Space Force line, kids! Now with Captain Dirk Comet and his space monkey, Beppo!”

Networks like CNN and Fox News have become a pale shadow of what they once were, preferring to focus on destroying the Trump administration rather than maintaining their objectivity. And souls. Honestly, my family watches CNN and Don Lemon every day – but only to see what angle they’re going to attack from. I hate the term “Fake News” but it’s perfect for this age of media absurdity.

The media’s collective rampant bias has overshadowed any and all of President Trump’s economic victories, of which there have actually been many. Yes, Wall Street has been reeling for months from insane highs and lows, but overall the American economy has been doing better than it did under the Obama administration.

In spite of that the world continues to feel the shock waves of Trump’s unique leadership style.

Donald Trump plans on selling billions of dollars in weapons to a prince that had an American journalist tortured and killed on foreign soil and his response to the world’s outrage? “Well, we don’t want that  money going to Russia or China, do we?”

I could go on and on ad infinitum but I don’t really need to, do I? The fact is, there’s a new development every day. The Trump presidency is the gift that keeps on giving.

Why would you want to miss all this delicious chaos? To some these are the End Days. To me they are the Days of Discovery, days that will force us to examine who we really are and what we stand for.

Thank you, President Trump, for giving us all a reason to get out of bed every day. 

See you in the lobby, friends…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #92.

How do you define yourself?

By your successes or what you see as your failures?

Personally, I’ve learned more about myself and how I need to live my life from my bad days than my good ones.

#92: Your Pain.

Adversity tests us. It challenges us. It forces us to examine and (hopefully) accept who we really are. Would you even recognize pleasure if pain didn’t exist?

A childhood assault and a less than idyllic upbringing, to say the least, could’ve turned me into a monster myself; statistics show that children who are abused will turn into abusers themselves. Luckily, I grew up to respect – and fear – women and my views on sex are completely normal and not twisted at all. And yes, there’s a joke in there somewhere but I’m not feeling it, so help yourself.

Sure, prolonged pain, especially physical agony, is a heavy burden to live with and often ends in suicide, and I’m not passing judgement on anyone who feels deaths is preferable to a life of unending pain.

But what if mortal death isn’t the end?

If there is a Hell then suicide just opens the door to an eternity of suffering, assuming one believes in such things, that is. You can’t rid yourself of your pain if you’re dead but while you’re still alive there will always be a chance to you can rise above.

Where there’s life there’s hope for a tomorrow free of whatever pain is weighing you down and pushing you to the edge.

See you in the lobby, friends…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #93.

The main reason that Buffy The Vampire Slayer has become one of the most enduring television shows in history is simple:

High school really is Hell.

Joss Whedon may be many things, not all of them good, but he was smart enough to recognize the potential that lies in our high school years and he transformed all those seemingly-innocent experiences that terrified us all into action sequences and brilliant plot lines. And that’s why we’re going to focus on one of high school’s most terrifying protagonists:

#93: That One High School Teacher You Wanted To Disembowel.

You may have blocked out their memory, but everyone has one. For me, it was Mr. Kidney. He taught business (and how to hate going to school), his dress code was Sixties shop teacher chic, his arm hair was as thick as a Persian rug and he had very pointed views on yours truly.

“You’re a slacker, Hookey! And if there’s one thing I know… It’s that you always will be!”

Mr. Kidney’s dead now; sadly I wasn’t responsible for it, but his legacy of terrorizing his students endures in their memory. Teachers are gods in some ways; they shape our young minds and help chart the course of our entire lives. And some of them know it. And those instructors are the most terrifying of all.

 

I didn’t hear this much in high school. That, and, “Yes, I’d be happy to engage in coitus with you!”

 

To be fair, I recognize that many teachers were once students themselves, full of lofty ambitions… That life ground into a fine paste later on. And so they turned to teaching to pay the bills rather than wind up on the streets congregating verbs for twenty bucks a pop.

But abusing one’s power over another is never acceptable, no matter how bitter you are. Still, I suppose I should be grateful to my high school nemesis for teaching me to be persistent all my life.

It’s been decade since I left my high school’s hallowed halls and I still hate the son of a bitch.

And I’ll be damned if I’d give him the satisfaction of thinking that I actually was a slacker who took the supposedly-easy way out rather than stick to the business of living. As Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) once said in Young Guns 2, “I shall finish the game.”

Take that, Kidney.

See you in the lobby, kids…

 

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