It’s not too late to make final preparations for New Year’s Eve, y’know. Used to have a link to a funny article on www.thetexasmercury.com but it’s no longer there, fortunately I had a copy on my HD so here it is in full.

Snuffing it for the Holidays

With the holidays upon us, no doubt many of you out there are contemplating suicide. Public-spirited and civic-minded as I tend to be, I thought I might give you a few tips from my broad range of lethal knowledge on how best to go about it. Timely, too, that’s me.

First of all, if you choose to kill yourself with a firearm, don’t forget the title of one of Robert Ruark’s hunting tomes: Use Enough Gun! The two writers I have always identified with the most emotionally, Robert Ervin Howard of Texas and Horace Beam Piper of Pennsylvania, both shot themselves in the heads with a .38. In poor Bob’s case it was with a .380 ACP, a truly anemic self-loader round, whereas Beam did himself in with a .38 Special revolver. We don’t know how long poor Beam lingered after he shot himself, though the consensus of opinion is that it was a while. Bob, we do know, lasted about eight hours.

True, these were both lethal shots. Piper, who was always respectful of other people’s property, put down painter’s drop cloths in his apartment before he did the deed, to keep from messing up the landlord’s floor. Beam was a practical and deliberate man. Poor Bob was reckless and impulsive, and as his mother slipped into a last coma, he stepped outside to his car where he kept a pistol handy in case he ran into his enemies. (Quotes are usually put around that last word, obviously by people, unlike me, who don’t have real enemies.) People in the Howard house heard the gunshot, but nobody was aware that Piper had shot himself, so Bob spent his last lingering hours in the comfort of his own bed, while Beam lay there on the floor on painters’ drop cloths until he finally expired.

Both these men were talented, gifted writers whom the world had treated like crap, so don’t you think I don’t know how they felt when they went to squeeze those triggers. Here is just my sage advice to you: use a bigger caliber! I would not trust a nine-millimeter to get this important job done, nor a .40 Smith, either (though the original Jeff Cooper-designed ten-mil round would be another bullet to the brain entirely, if you happen to have an old Bren Ten or Colt Delta Elite handy; worthless fairy-faggot FBI agents “couldn’t handle” the full-house ten-mil, which is why the inferior .40 Smith was born). Me, I’ll stick with my .45?though my .44 Magnum would surely accomplish the job quickly and effectively, even with a .44 Special round. I suppose I would go as low as a .357 Magnum, but I don’t have one. I like my bullets the way my women like their cock?big and impressive.

Many suggest you stick the barrel in your mouth. The object here would be to blow out the back of your throat and (hopefully) take your medulla oblongata with it. This is, indeed, guaranteed certain death. As all good Mafia assassins know, a .22 to the back of the head at the point where the skull joins the spine is always fatal; but shooting yourself in the back of the head with a .22 requires you to be a bit of a contortionist, unless you have a really small pistol. (Or a “friend” to help you with the job?there’s a word I’ll put quotes around.) Do not use a .25 automatic, or any of the other useless mid-range calibers, like a .32. This is, after all, yourself we’re talking about killing here; you frankly owe it to yourself to do a good job. So again I say: if you are going to use a firearm, be sure to Use Enough Gun!

Some favor a shotgun. Ernest Hemingway, who suffered from “mental illness,” was cured of his symptomatic “writing behavior” by the judicious application of a series of electroshock treatments, or “electro-convulsive therapy,” as it’s euphemistically known today; and afterwards, for some reason he became so curiously despondent when he found he could no longer write that he decided to kill himself. He used a double-barreled twelve-gauge stuck in the mouth; reports are that little remained besides the lower jawbone. This surely will do the job, and effectively. It also makes one hell of a mess, so please, have the presence of mind to spread those drop cloths around first. Beam Piper would’ve wanted it that way.

Some of you may find this a little too messy and even a bit homoerotic, and for you I would counsel, with a shotgun, a heart shot. Heart shots are very easily done with a good shotgun. The brother of a friend of mine killed himself many years ago with a sixteen-gauge fowling piece, a fine weapon that I later shot many times; and my friend, who found the body, reported that there was very little blood. This young man placed the muzzle to the center of his chest, sitting on his bed with the buttstock propped against the floor, and was easily able to reach down to the trigger. The resultant blast merely draped him back over the bed, stone dead.

A self-inflicted heart wound is better done with a shotgun because, even that close, the pellets will scatter; some will hit the heart itself, others the surrounding arteries, and all of these guarantee a quick if not necessarily painless death. I suspect, honestly, that no matter how well you do it, it is going to hurt some if you use a firearm. Those of you who do not want to spend your last moments of this hateful, stupid life in agony might well rather quietly bleed to death.

Then again, that is going to hurt some, too; but there’s no real way around hurting if you’re going to die. This is why firearms have their appeal: if you do it right, it’s no doubt just a brief flare of pain, and you’re gone. Personally I know very little about lethal injections and poisons and all that stuff, so I can’t rightfully comment on them as an adequate means of killing yourself. We have to stick here with what I know, and short of blowing yourself to Kingdom come, bullets and blades are about the extent of it. The use of explosives runs the risk of killing bystanders, and I am discussing mere suicide here, not the far more appealing prospect of murder-suicide, in which you take out some of the bastards before you take out yourself.

This is a possibility which, again rightfully, deserves its own essay. You can be as elaborate and creative as those poor high-schoolers Klebold and Harris, making pithy quips to your victims like Charles Bronson in the movies when you kill them, before taking the Final Solution to yourself. I, personally, want to go out like Ben Johnson (“Come and get it, you bastards!”) or William Holden (“Give ’em hell, Pike!”) in Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, or Al Pacino (“I’ll take you all to fuck-e-e-eng hell!”) in De Palma’s Scarface. Actually, if I could ever get hold of some fissionable materials, I’d build that simple shotgun-type atom bomb described in such down-to-earth detail by Martin Caidin in his second “Cyborg” or “Six Million Dollar Man” novel, Operation Nuke, which could be made with parts from a hardware store modified on a hand-turned lathe. “Come and get it, you bastards! I’ll take you all to fuck-e-e-eng hell!” Right. Exactly.

Anyway, bleeding to death. A bathtub full of warm water is the ideal locale; unless you panic or chickenshit out, there’s not much need to worry about putting down towels or drop cloths on the bathroom floor. Stay calm, don’t do much sloshing, and they can pull your bloodless corpse out clean as a whistle and let the icky old bodily fluids whirl down the drain.

There are several readily-accessible spots on the human body where you can do a little deep but judicious carving and start a flow guaranteed not to stop until your heart does, which’ll be pretty soon. Now most idiots cut their wrists, and they do it wrong, slashing across the wrist. Negatory. Take a look at your wrist a moment. See those big veins a-pulsing in there? You want to cut those along their lines of travel, open up a good flow; otherwise, you’ll just dribble and fuck up the tendons of your wrists, in which case you’ll look like another fucking dumbass making “a cry for help.” You want to “cry for help,” go do it around somebody else; I’m telling you how to kill yourself here, and how to get the job done right.

Look, don’t fart around with something like this. It’s not a thing to be done half-ass. It’s your life, presumably, and it’s a torment, undoubtedly, and you want out of it?hell, don’t we all? But bear in mind that, in most places, it’s a crime to kill your fucking self, since you don’t really belong to yourself; you’re part-owned by every snot-nosed cretin and son of a bitch who wants to claim a piece of you. So if you fuck this up, the very least you can expect is a series of long psychiatric treatments of the kind that drove Ernest Hemingway to commit suicide. Spare yourself that humiliation and degradation. Do it right the first time, okay?

Cutting the wrists is fine for women, I guess; but like putting the gun barrel in your mouth, to a man, there’s just something kind of pansy about the whole proceeding?sort of limp-wristed, you know? So I suggest you go for the femoral. Cut that baby and you will bleed out in no time flat. Sleepytime and then, you die. This is the big artery in your leg, best accessed by making a deep incision in your inner thigh, close to the family jewels (or to the batcave, if any of you ladies prefer to die in a manly self-inflicted fashion). That soft spot you feel there, the spot that feels so smooth there on most members of the opposite sex?it’s right under there. Consult any good anatomy book if you’re unsure?hey, is a trip to the library or a bookstore too much to ask, if you’re really going to kill yourself the way you should?

The brachial arteries in the armpits are just as good; but it may take a lot of exploratory gouging to get the desired effect?hell, you might as well bring the blade on up and cut your carotid and jugular, which’ll do just as well. You can most times feel them, pulsing in your throat, so they’re easy to find. But it takes a real manly kind of man to cut his own throat these days. We are such squeamish creatures of such a make-believe “sensitive” age that I can’t really envision any of you standing in front of the mirror with your drop cloths spread around the bathroom, fixing to take that razor-edged K-Bar or whatever might be your blade of choice to your throat. No, trust me: get in the bathtub and slice that femoral. It’ll hurt, some; but soon enough, that won’t matter any more.

Hanging is good, of course. Done properly, no form of execution, including self-execution, beats hanging, which is why I am always in favor of it. A clean neck-break is instant termination. That means you want some slack in your neck-rope. The ideal drop is a full body-length, so don’t snub it up tight, because then when you jump off the chair or kick it out from under yourself, you’ll just swing there choking to death, and that is not a pleasant way to die. Leave yourself enough slack for your body’s weight to give the rope a good clean jerk when it draws tight, and ye olde noose will do the rest. But for God’s sake, make sure you anchor your rope to something that can take your weight. You don’t want to be lying there half-choked to death with the chandelier down around your ears?you’ll look like a dumb-ass, again; and you’ll have to endure that damnable “hospitalization” and “therapy,” as if you’ll need to have it rubbed in afterwards, how fucking stupid you are.

See, I’m trying to help you people here. This is what I call “compassion.” A thing worth doing is a thing worth doing right, and that damn sure applies to something like killing yourself. I don’t blame you if you want to do it, and far, far be it from me to try to stop you; we can all use the extra breathing room. Like me and everybody else, you won’t be missed for long, and the world, she surely won’t stop a-turning because of it, I guarantee. So it all comes down to you, and how serious you are about doing this thing. I don’t write anything for people who ultimately aren’t serious about this life. It has its funny moments, and its moments of wonder and beauty; but it is mostly, I’ll admit, an awful, terrible thing and, in the end, you’re going to die, whether you want to or not. How you live, or die, is, in the end, strictly up to you.

So, let’s recap, shall we?

Firearms: Leave your .38s, your 9-mms, your .40 calibers and what-not alone, and go for the big boys. I recommend at least a .357 Magnum for a shot to the temple, but far better a .44 or .45. The prefrontal lobes are more or less in line with the temples, and that’ll put your lights out with a big enough bullet. Do not put the gun under your chin since this is so uncertain. I once heard of a fellow who took his face off with a shotgun that way. Still alive, poor devil, only now he doesn’t have a face, plus all that hospitalization and psychiatric “treatments” afterwards. I’m not a big one for mouth shouts, either, but, what the hey? I might be “homophobic,” you don’t know. If you’re not, then sucking on the business end of a .357 might be just the ticket out for you.

Shotgun to the heart’s good, too. Bear in mind, the heart is closer to the center of the chest than the popular imagination places it. Put the muzzle a little ways to the right of your left nipple and you can’t miss. You’re out of here.

Sharp instruments: Again, the femoral artery is the place of choice for today’s serious suicide. Yeah, you can go for your wrists; you can go for your jugular, too; but stick it in your inner thigh, and you’ll be sure to die. There’s a little rhyme to help you remember by.

Hanging: Always in vogue. Never go wrong with hanging yourself, provided you do it right! Keep enough slack in that rope to give your neck a good snap on your way down, and you’ll do just fine.

So. Happy Holidays to you, too. What’s for dinner this Christmas where you are?

Hank Parnell