David Foster Wallace, the novelist, essayist and humorist best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead Friday night at his home in Claremont, according to the Claremont Police Department. He was 46.
Jackie Morales, a records clerk at the department, said Wallace’s wife called police at 9:30 p.m. Friday saying she had returned home to find that her husband had hanged himself.
The news broke to me when I signed onto Twitter an hour or so ago.
I dislike suicide. It’s usually undertaken because of feelings. Feelings are the worst reason to suicide. The second worst reason is money.
I can understand suicide when facing a protracted, incurable, and terminal disease.
But because someone feels bad?
Damn, there are pills today that can really help with that. There’s no shame in popping a prescription to nudge the brain back towards self-preservation. Why should there be any shame in that? A bunch of dendrites malfunction, or the balance of chemicals goes awry — no different than popping aspirin for a headache. I’ve never, ever heard someone proclaim shame over taking a pill for a headache. So why should there be shame for what is essentially a brain or mind ache?
And since he was a writer, he’d just about be expected to have a black dog stalking him at some point. It’s an occupational hazard. The shadow that falls over the vocation. The dark side of the calling.
If anyone out there reading this is considering ending his or her life due to feelings, go get some medical attention. Don’t let your mind trick you into thinking there’s no hope. There is. Hop on a pill to transport you to the other side of that bleak tunnel.
Me, I thought it out a long time ago. That’s why I nurture my spite. Even if I ever lose all hope — in terms of self-feeling — I can always cling to my spite.
Spite is my life preserver.