Having an off day

If you’re bound and determined to shuffle off this mortal coil, says Rand Simberg, the least you can do is to avoid getting other people involved in the shuffle:

It is an almost intrinsically inconsiderate and selfish act to kill yourself. The only way to do so in a considerate manner is to make sure all your affairs are in order, with clear instructions, and to not make a mess to clean up, or leave yourself where someone, particularly a loved one, will be traumatized by finding you (e.g., disappear into the wilderness and do it there). When you do it in such a way as to endanger others or cause property damage, I have zero sympathy for you, whether you survive or not.

Especially, you know, if it’s somebody else’s property.

While I am in general agreement with Mr Simberg, philosophically speaking, there are a couple of problems with trying to use this approach as a deterrent:

Having occasionally, at unusually-low points in my life, found myself fantasizing about crashing into a bridge abutment at 150 mph, I have at least a vague idea of where these poor shlubs are coming from, though I have, perhaps wisely, made a point of owning motor vehicles that won’t do 150.

Less impertinently, it’s possible to defend one’s right to do something — in this case, end one’s own life — without implying that it’s in any way a good idea.


  1. Jeffro »

    5 September 2010 · 4:41 pm

    Illegitimi non carborundum has been my credo for this situation.

  2. Laura »

    5 September 2010 · 7:30 pm

    If I decide to “off” myself, I’m doing it to look like one of my nemesis did it. If I can work it out, it will look like ALL of them were in on it. Those bitches are going down if it’s the last thing I do. And it will be.

  3. ak4mc »

    5 September 2010 · 10:25 pm

    I’ve never given any thought to how I would do it, if I decided to do it. The pre-planning is the hardest part and I’ll be damned if I’ll relieve a hypothetical future suicidal me of the responsibility.

  4. Tatyana »

    6 September 2010 · 7:52 am

    Paul in the comments to Rand’s post is correct when he speaks of two things: that self-preservation instinct is too strong to allow mentally healthy person to end his life and that the instinct of saving your kin by the price of giving your life away is incredibly strong too. So when these two are combined – say, a person with mental illness is convinced this illness is ruining the lives of his family members, their health, their prospects, their property – the solution appears to be obvious.

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