Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

RIP Dr. Kutner

Playing in the background: An eerie silence.
Meters swum today: None. .87 of a mile on the treadmill, though.

If you don't watch House, the eminently addictive medical drama on Fox, you might wanna skip this post. If you do, you probably know that Dr. Lawrence Kutner (that's him with Dr. House; Kutner is the one who doesn't have his finger up his nose) was found dead in last night's episode. His death was ruled a suicide. The actor, by the way, is just fine; he left the show to take a job at the White House. No kidding. Fox, apparently aware this story line might be a tad bit controversial, opened up a Facebook memorial page for fans to leave their assorted rants.

Besides the usual the-show's-going-to-suck-now posts, there were quite a few saying that it wasn't fair of the show to not give us any warning. Like showing Kutner moping moodily about, giving away possessions, doing some of those things that people allegedly do when they are about to kill themselves. I couldn't add my $0.02 because I'm not on Facebook, but for the record, I thought the depiction was pretty darn realistic. I have known two people who killed themselves and neither of them really gave much warning. Okay, one of them disappeared for six weeks first, but he'd done that before and turned up alive and well and why's-everybody-so-mad-at-me. So as much as I'm gonna miss Dr. Kutner, I think Fox did a good job with this episode.

It's hard for me to imagine what must go through somebody's mind before they kill themselves, as in, why do they think this is such a great idea and stuff like that. At many points in my life I've been plenty mopey, and certainly the idea flitted across my mind from time to time, but I've got some pretty strict rules about when suicide is appropriate and being mopey is not sufficient. Dying of cancer, in terrible pain, and don't want to break the family budget to pay for the really expensive weeks you have left? Go for it. About to be tortured for information that will get all your friends killed and there's no other way to escape? Yeah, that works. Just accidentally killed 107 people on an airliner because you're the unfortunate mechanic who, I dunno, forgot to take the tape off the pitot tube or something, and the instruments kept reading the plane was at 7,000 feet right up until it hit the ground? That's a stretch, but, yeah, I guess it would pass. Double points if you take out a serial killer or child molester on your way out the door. But to kill yourself because your business failed, the stock market crashed or your wife found out about your girlfriend is just whining. Seriously. Grow up, get some help (and a good accountant) and move on. Mind you, these are my rules, so they only apply to me. Your Mileage May Vary.

The other great part of this episode was the way everybody reacted, or failed to react, to Dr. Kutner's death. I also thought that was pretty darn accurate. I dunno how many funerals y'all have been to lately, but people act weird when someone they love dies. Some people go into their apartments (ala Cartman) and won't come out. Some people want to Process with anybody they can pin down for two seconds (ie, Cameron) and others can't even be bothered to attend the funeral (House) because they're so busy trying to find out the answer to the Great Why. I've heard people laugh all the way through a memorial service. Maybe it's hysterical laughter, but when Joan's mom died and the funeral home spelled her name wrong on the urn, Joan and I both about laughed our fannies off (and scandalized the Dixieland band). The poor guy from the funeral home was mortified, though. "This has never happened to me before," he said. (Me neither. It was still pretty funny.)

My point, and I do have one, is that if you're gonna put the people you love through this kind of thing, you better have a darn good reason. So if the idea of suicide has done more than flit through your mind, and you are NOT A. dying of cancer, B. about to be tortured for...oh, never mind, they wouldn't let you on the Internet from your cell, anyway, would they? or C. an unfortunate mechanic who happens to know two or three serial killers and/or child molesters that he can take out while he's at it, please call one of these numbers right away: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889).

Tell 'em Jen and Dr. Kutner sent you.

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