Saturday, August 21, 2010

Not Painless

A few weeks back, one of my pupils finished his explanation of why he wasn't trying by telling me he was going to kill himself. After three or four repetitions, I got bored of arguing with him[1] and gave him a garbled version of Dorothy Parker's Résumé:
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.


Obviously this didn't help.

Me: ... You might as well live.
Pupil M: What was that?
Me: It's a poem about not committing suicide.
Pupil M: I'm going to kill myself.
Me: The poem's not that bad.

****

One reason my version was garbled is I got it mixed up with this line from The Flash Girls song A Girl Needs A Knife[2] especially this verse:
I’ve bought myself a new knife
You’d be surprised at what my knife can do
Guns can jam
Bombs are complex
Sometimes bombs can fail to explode
You’d better listen
This is true
My knife is simple
Part of it I hold
The other part of it’s for you

I don't think I told Pupil M that "sometimes bombs fail to explode" but I may have done. It's a useful lesson anyway.

****

This leads me, inevitably, to another more recent song by two women about killing.

My Terrible Friend, When I Decide. It kicks into gear at about the 1:00 mark:
But when I decide to kill you
I'll do it with my hands
And fine gloves worth the death of a gentleman

(Also at 3:22, Nataly's mole swaps sides; someone has mirrorimaged that shot)
(I notice this as I also have a mole on my upper lip)

[1] Because he was just repeating himself, and it was pretty clear he was just trying to shock me. He wasn't one of the compulsive liars, most of whom would happily tell me for hours about their various suicide attempts. By the way, there is nothing more boring than a compulsive liar who isn't very bright; smart compulsive liars are at least entertaining.
[2] Lyrics by Neil Gaiman