Monday, February 12, 2007

The Walk to Prevent Suicide

Yesterday as I was leaving the bank, I saw a poster that read “walk to prevent suicide.” Whereas I found the association between the place where one checks one’s account balance and suicide quite natural, the idea that the sign at the exit of bank, “walk to prevent suicide” immediately furnished the solution to this problem I found a bit bizarre. Perhaps they were desperate—tired of having to scrub the blood stains off of the floor all the time—and had decided to give this a try; maybe the corpse collectors were on strike. Before catching sight of the sign I was planning on taking the train but then I decided to walk lest I end up taking my life.

As I was walking, I wondered exactly how this helped to prevent suicide. The theories that first came to my mind, like incidental weight loss or the beneficial effects of some sun exposure during those short winter days seemed unlikely from a marketing point of view; and Bank of America is pretty good at marketing. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that it’s probably true that your suicide options are somewhat limited while you’re walking. You can’t overdose on sleeping pills (unless you are a habitual somnambulist) you can’t run your car in the garage and breathe in the fumes (unless you have an enormous garage) you can’t aim the gun at yourself as well when you’re a moving target as when you're standing still… maybe the idea did have a certain logic to it after all. On the other hand, you can walk off a cliff or directly into traffic; but then you’d have to live in a big city or near a hiking trail. What do you know, even in the question of suicide by locomotion it still all comes down to location.

Recently I caught word of a run for breast cancer. Why should one walk to prevent suicide but run for breast cancer? It actually sounds quite misogynistic. But the worst has got to be “Race for the cure”. Great for whoever wins the race, but do the losers just limp away to die? Eureka, mystery solved! When you haven’t raced fast enough to win the cure, that’s when you’re supposed to walk to prevent suicide.

1 comment:

Robert said...

I rather assumed you were in deep snow and required snow shoes or skis to get to the bank. If walking prevents this terminal consequence then don't stop too often. I am hoping for a ray of sunshine from you, especially on St. Valentine's Day.