Monday, July 25, 2005

A Long Way Down

He said, She said. Annie and Paul debate the merits of Nick Hornby's new book, A Long Way Down. Annie talks about the agonizing wait for the author's books; Paul contemplates suicide.

There are a lot of ways to commit suicide: jumping off a bridge, ODing on drugs, pissing off Oprah; but I’ve never really seriously considered it. I mean, yes, as with many alienated gay teens, I have fantasized about Ending It All instead of having to suffer one more day of wearing a uniform to high school.

But in my fantasies, I’ve somehow skipped the killing myself part and pictured myself lying in the casket, looking serene and peaceful, a light dusting of powder on my nose and cheeks to prevent shine. My family would be wailing, beating on their chests. Serves them right for not letting me go to the Salsa and Merengue Dance Camp.

Suicide is scary to me. Death is scary to me. I fear death because I fear the pain of dying. I visualize the dying, I visualize the pain.

I have very lurid visions of what it would be like to be rammed head-on by a speeding semi-truck while driving on a highway.* I look at a knife and imagine someone stabbing me repeatedly, my eyes watching the blood spurt from my chest, a silent scream frozen in my mouth. I think about suffocating under Star Jones and an avalanche of Payless shoes.

But what of those who experience a pain in life that exceeds that of the pain of dying? At least when you’re dead, there is no more pain.

read what He said.

This book would have irritated me less had it not been written by Nick Hornby, which I suppose is akin to saying, “I’d like water more if it weren’t so wet.” It is what it is. Great Mandy Moore--how to deal?

The thing is, I can’t outright say “it’s bad” or “I didn’t like it,” would that I could be more two-dimensional, like Janice Dickinson. And it’s nothing to do with my long-standing allegiance to this particular author. There’s Hornby in here to be sure, but I can’t help thinking the real novel is another draft or two away.

Waiting for a new Nick Hornby novel is worse than waiting for your period after senior prom. You start getting a little antsy as if something’s...missing, only you’re not quite sure what. Before you know it you’re a seven-week-long F-you to Strunk & White. But then there are hints: you’re a raving bitch; you’re crying at that Michelin commercial again; all that’s left of your graduation wad is the receipt for $675 worth of smores ingredients. And the big payoff? YOUR STINKING PERIOD.

Fast forward seventeen years: You live your life, read books, see friends, watch TV--okay okay maybe that’s the same as “see friends,” but my point is, you live. No matter how sad & empty it might seem compared to your glamorous “friends’” life – it’s living, as some of us know it.

read what She said.

Recommended books by Nick Hornby:

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