I just finished watching the film Wristcutters (2006), written by Goran Dukic. The movie is about a bunch of people trapped in a dreary purgatory created specifically for those who have “offed” themselves. The people who run this purgatory are referred to as the P.I.C., for people in charge (how great is that?!). They decide who got there by accident, who gets to leave and who has to stay. In purgatory, as in life, there is an order that doesn’t make sense.
Sounds like a real upper, doesn’t it? Well, although you’d think I’d need to keep a box of Kleenex and my therapist’s phone number nearby, the film was actually funny. In a dark way, of course.
I’ve always seen the darkness and the humor in almost everything. It’s either my god-given talent or a severe mental malfunction, but that’s neither here nor there. What touched me about the film was the main characters’ desire to figure out the MEANING OF LIFE and how they fit into the whole mess.
Everyone with a brain can relate to the desire to understand LIFE. But not everyone can relate to wanting to die. Anne Sexton, who offed herself in 1974 and is one of my favorite poets, wrote:
“But suicides have a special language. Like carpenters they want to know which tools. They never ask why build.” –Anne Sexton, “Wanting to Die”
I’ve been there–at that confusing point in your journey where nothing makes sense, where lines cross and goodness is blurry, and the option of jumping off the train is more appealing than staying on the ride. But luckily, unlike the characters in Wristcutters, unlike my favorite poets, I didn’t have to kill myself to realize that death isn’t THE GREAT ANSWER.
The thing is, none of us are above getting lost. None of us are above needing something to believe in. Something to hang onto. All I can say is that I’m glad I’ve stuck it out so far because it feels like every five years or so I experience a rebirth (I think they call this maturity?). The longer I deal with this life thing, the more I learn to shake my head, laugh, and say to the P.I.C., ‘what have you got for me today?’
Today’s musical companion is “Home,” by The Engineers.
“Home/Is this my home/Been starting over/Bathe in the water/Time/Time after time/I’m feeling so sorry/I run out of words to say/Relieved/I’m so relieved/The tables are turning/Don’t sacrifice this feeling/Goals/There are no goals/There is no order/Paid for in laughter/Home/Is this my home/Been starting over/Bathe in the water.”
People who “off” themselves take themselves way too seriously. When you realize your’e not so special, everyone else becomes so.
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