Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man." -Mercutio

It's another warm, sunny day in Southern California and I find myself somewhat grateful to be alive in order to witness this magnificent day with all of my five senses.  With a winter like this, who really needs summer?  I won't go so far as to allege that I am lucky or even blessed to be here when so many people around the world are experiencing record-breakingly cold and blistery winters.  Because as an avid atheist and constant detractor of all things religious or spiritual,  I cannot bring myself to make such silly and uninspired declarations.

But in the wake of a death, a death of someone I actually sort of knew, I will say that I do feel somewhat glad to be alive.  After all, what's the alternative?  Death, and the infinite nothingness and utter emptiness that it offers by nothing more than the virtue of what it is?  No thank you.  I'll take it graciously when that time comes but I am in no way looking to hasten the inevitable.  In my mind, that's an absolutely ludicrous endeavor.  I'd rather enjoy the hedonistic benefits of life while I am still capable of such enjoyment.  Call me an asshole, call me insensitive, call me a nihilist with personality disorder, I don't care, but the pleasures of the flesh are pretty much what makes this life worth living.  Testify motherfuckers!

A few days ago one of my law professors died.  She killed herself according to the papers.  She was young too, relatively so.  I've discussed this at length with friends and acquaintances who knew her as well or if not better than I did.  We all seem to be in relative agreement that it was a very uncharacteristic and poorly decided choice on her part.  And even now as I write these words I am unconvinced that suicide was the true cause of her death.  In fact, I am going to privately aver that there was something else a brew here.  Though I will not be making such bold claims in a legal forum, I do believe that someone may have provided a helping hand, if you catch my drift.  But that is a tangent unbecoming of this particular post.

If this was a suicide, as many have now come to believe and accept wholeheartedly, then depression must have been the driving force, the overwhelming factor in all of this.  Though I've never really understood depression, I do accept it as a recognized disease as I have known many people who have outwardly claimed possession of it.  Still, this particular lady seemed above reproach in many ways, and therefore I cannot believe that she actually succumbed to the weakness and devastation that depression seems to always necessitate.  There was just so much going right in her life.  Unlike the majority of us, myself included, who are self-proclaimed losers, she was by all accounts a winner.

As I understand it, she had children, young ones at that who were still very much in need of the benevolent and positive impressing force of a mother in their lives.  It's their mere existence that makes it hard for me to believe that she would actually kill herself.  For someone as indisputably intelligent as she was, I think it should have been pretty apparent and nonnegotiable that her children would become seriously fucked up as a result of the suicide of their mother.  Quite assuredly, now thoughts of inadequacy will run through their heads in infinite repeat for as long as they both shall live.  That pretty much goes without saying.  So why then would someone so smart and rational do something so selfish?  This is precisely why I remain unconvinced.

What's more, and I cannot stress this enough, the manner in which she committed this alleged suicide was violent to the utmost degree.  In fact, I can think of probably a hundred better, less painful ways to go for someone so inclined.  It's a damn shame and I don't declare that very often.  Typically, women who attempt suicide opt for the less painful ways to go, i.e. drugs, drowning or even the noose.  Few take a plunge off a merely six story high structure that will not assuredly or quickly end the life in question.  It makes my bones hurt just thinking about it.

Still, description of her death and pity for her children are not the reasons why I'm writing this post.  Her death has actually gotten me thinking about a long-forgotten concept, something that I came up with a long, long time ago but necessarily allowed to relapse into the recesses of my mind as I grew older and less philosophically inclined.  The idea of the fatal flaw.

As one might imagine, just by virtue of her career as a law professor, this woman was smart, insanely so.  In fact, I believe she was one of the smartest people that I ever had the pleasure of speaking with and learning from.  And it has been this great intelligence of hers that got me thinking once again about fatal flaws and the people who unfortunately possess them, the people who find themselves inextricably attached to them.

It seems like all the great people, the people who have some kind of enviable talent, the ones who will go down in history as something fiercely special, have at least one fatal, insurmountable flaw.  And the more impressive the talent, the more likely that flaw in question will end up proving truly fatal in the long run.  I believe that's what has occurred here.

Though I hate to be overly derivative, there does seem to be a common pattern, an undeniable theme that has repeated itself over and over throughout the course of history.  I am saddened by this tragedy and I do find it to be quite a shame, but a part of me does realize that it might have been part of a crucial cycle, an essential regime that has probably existed ever since the first human beings stood upright and walked this planet.

These flaws that I speak of, the fatal ones that only the truly intelligent and magnificently talented possess, though I hate to say it, might actually be essential to guard humanity against a race of super humans.  It might be in society's best interest for certain insanely talented people to have untenable demons to grapple with.  After all, if there were nothing to distract them, these superb people would rule the world, no doubt about it.  Though some may be benign, as this law professor surely was, it stands to reason that others would be tyrants, and we can't have that.

As an aside I feel I must back up and define "super" in this particular context.  By super I hardly mean supernatural.  What I mean is that if these very talented people were able to live whole and fulfilled lives, completely unfettered and unweighed down by fatal flaws to contend with, their insane intelligence and enviable talents would soon give them the ability to take over the planet and everything in it.  There would be nothing that the regular, non-gifted people could do about it.  So in order to prevent chaos and keep the essential order, these super-talented, intelligent people must have a fatal flaw or two that necessarily captures all of their attention and eventually leads them strictly to their ultimate demise.  Otherwise there would be complete anarchy, and not the good kind; not the kind that I have always encouraged and outwardly touted.

In the case of the law professor I speak of, it seems as though despite her enviable intelligence, she fell to a disease almost as old as time.  Depression.  Even though she kept it largely to herself, she was obviously bogged down by it and that meant that she was never able to reach her full potential.  To be honest, I feel as though she should probably have had the means and drive to overcome it, being as intelligent, self-aware and proud as she was, but then again, I was never inside her head and I don't truly know what it is like to suffer from such a disease.  I generally get that depression can be crippling and unbearable at times, but I still have to think that for as smart and intuitive as she was, she didn't fully understand the implications of her choice. Now she never will.

In conclusion, she did a lot of good and helped a lot of people, but her life was nevertheless definitively and tragically cut short.  Call it what you want; despite all this, I would still call it a shame.

Rest in the Peaceful Nothingness of Nonexistence, Professor.


  1. I did a google search of this person. It sounds like she had quite the distinguished career. I would have to agree with the many comments. Suicide definitly seems to be a stretch.

  2. "avid atheist and constant detractor of all things religious or spiritual"
    Same here.

  3. I would call it a shame as well.