Thursday, April 14, 2005

Under the Bridge

"Under the Bridge" is a wonderful song by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, chronicling the thoughts of lead singer Anthony Kiedis as he contemplated suicide. Whenever I hear that song it reminds of the individuals in my life that have taken their life, and I kind of feel guilty because in hindsight there were clear signs that they were crying out for help.

Ben: Ben was a cat that I used to skateboard with as a kid, he was always a peculiar guy. After High School I didn't see Ben until 2001 in a nightspot at the beach. It had to be the most awkward reunion ever because for one thing Ben was 1) Talking extremely black, which threw me for a loop. 2)Had a two huge knots of money that would absolutely choke a horse. When I told him to be careful flashing that money around in public he 3)Showed me the loaded 357 Magnum tucked in his pants pocket. Ben was about 100 pounds soaking wet, I just imagined someone taking his gun and beating him with it. We kept in touch, primarily because I found out that Ben was a big time pot dealer and a brother can always use a hook up. We hung a few times and the fact that he talked black really bothered me. I can see if you are a white guy that was raised around black folks, or spent a great deal of time with black folks, but this guy was Lilly white for 25 years then all of a sudden he is DMX?? It just pointed out that he was searching for something in his life.

Anyway, I had inquired about some weed, didn't even ask for a hookup, and Ben tried to overcharge me. I don't mean because we were cool, I mean overcharge me period. I was offended but I didn't give him shit about it, I just refused to pay those inflated prices and that was that. About a month later me and my friend Danny were playing pool in a bar and Ben walks in. He looks shook, but he insists that that he is OK. He begins to apologize profusely about trying to overcharge me, I mean the guy was apologizing all night. I told him don't sweat it, but he started apologizing for shit that I didn't even know that he did to me.

Ben invited me and Danny to his house to get high and drink some more, so Danny and I agreed. The problem was Ben kept asking us if we were going to his house later, after we already said yes, which started to freak us the fuck out. After the 10th time of him asking us we declined and went our separate ways. A week later I had learned that Ben had shot himself on a beach early one morning. Looking back, maybe Danny and I should have chilled with Ben. Maybe he just wanted to be around friends? Who knows, but it reminds me of "Under the Bridge" where Anthony Kiedis sings "It’s hard to believe
That there’s nobody out there/It’s hard to believe
That I’m all alone"


Miles: Miles was a dude that I met in college. He was from Raleigh North Carolina, and from day one I thought of him as my little brother. We were the same age, but it seemed that he had a giant magnet for people to pick on him and make his life hell. He was a great kid, quiet, smart, and didn't hurt anyone, but the signs were there from day one. Sometimes he would say to me, "man, I wish I was dead", or "My life isn't worth living", but he said it in such a sarcastic tone I didn't take him seriously. I tried to be the best friend I could be by 1)Beating the shit out of this dude that made his life hell, and making the asshole in question apologize to him in front of a group of people 2)This is going to sound bad, but these girls had played a trick on Miles by one of them asking him out on a date. When he arrived at the location the girl stood him up, and they found this wildly hysterical the next day in the cafeteria. Not to be outdone I poured the contents of a Big Gulp all over them while screaming, "Is that funny bitches??!!"

I could momentarily cheer Miles up but it seemed like a constant uphill battle. We had planned to hang out during the summer when I came to NC, but at the end of the semester before he left he said "Maybe you shouldn't worry about coming to NC man." I asked what was up and he said that he might be tied up. But he said some things that will always follow me, "HumanityCritic, you are a great friend and you are the only person to ever have my back. I want you to remember that you are a good person and god will definitely bless you." Looking back that was his way of saying goodbye, because a month later I showed up at his parents house to surprise him and his mother had informed me that he had taken his life. The part that makes me sad is that his mother said, "Miles always talked about you and what a great friend you were to him, you were the only source of joy he had for years. Bless you son". Then she gave me a big hug. Apparently Miles had left some items for me in a box. Contents: Hip Hop Vinyl, some drawings, a letter telling me that I was a good friend, and a Run DMC poster that currently hangs above my computer as I type this.
I remember that I was trying to find solace in the fact that I treated him well, to make myself feel better, which reminds me of the following lyric. "She sees my good deeds
And she kisses me windy/ I never worry, Now that is a lie
"

Lynn: A person that I had met during my High School years. She was a beautiful bi-racial sister, but the funniest thing was that her father was kind of racist, even though he is her natural father. I always said to her, 'His ass wasn't racist when he was giving your mom the "rough and rugged". Lynn was a knockout, but she had the lowest self esteem of anybody I had ever seen. She would go on and on about how ugly she was, and that no man would date her. See, I tried to date her but she wasn't having it since I dated her friend and she found out what kind of asshole I was.

Again, she was constantly depressed so I would do what I could to make her happy. We used to act like we were dating and go by her parents house. Her father hated young black males, so I used to come there with her on my arm with my pants hanging half way off my ass, using broken English, wearing a doo-rag, and talking about all the kids I had just to horrify the fuck out her father. Suffice it to say it worked marvelously. Good, because he was a racist prick.

She used to have the darkest sense of humor, but I loved that about her. We used to laugh at all the racial slurs her dad would use and she used to say, See HumanityCritic! Racism can be fun!" There was one fateful night that Lynn confided in me that her dad sexually abused her for years, and that her mom didn't know about it. Her stories were so horrific I started to cry when I heard the descriptions of what he did to her.

Like most friendships ours unfortunately faded away, and I didn't hear from her in years. A couple of years ago I had learned that Lynn had taken her life after a long bout with depression. She was such a unique person, it is a shame to lose such a precious life. A few months after she passed I saw her father at a bar getting drunk, don't ask me how I knew it was him and i did. I walked up to him and proceeded to...Well, I won't go there this time but lets just say that Lynn was somewhere laughing. Thinking about the time we cried together when she told me of her father's abuse, I think of Anthony Kiedis singing "..Lonely as I am,Together we cry"

For help.
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Prevent Suicide Now
Suicide Hotline
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

37 comments:

Belle said...

This is touching. You know I'm the teary type and Miles' story got me. You were the best friend you could be in all of these situations. In sharing this, you may have helped someone today.
Excellent.

Corey said...

That was touching man. I have a question? What can't you do?? Sports, humor, politics, emotions.. Geez man, you are a journalistic renaissance man!

I am Jack said...

This piece was touching because I had a friend kill himself over a girl. It was a shame. HC, keep on doing your thing.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday and I love how you are not afraid to be serious and tackle important issues. I have to agree with Belle, you might of helped someone today..

Mistachuck @ Yahoo said...

The story about Miles really broke me up man. Don't feel guilty because you did all you could do. You were a excellent friend.

Lene said...

This is one of your most touching pieces. It's good to know that you were such a good friend to these people before they left earth.

Amadeo said...

Good things. I had a client commit suicide in '02. It tore me up cause it was my job to help him. My only solace is the fact that out of over 180+ clients he was one of the few people who told me he appreciated what I was trying to do for him.

Ms. World said...

Very touching.

Nikki said...

Moving topic. I too agree, you never know who this might touch today.

Sunnchine said...

Damn, I'm sorry to hear that about your friends, but this is definitely eye opening and may have helped someone today. Thanks for posting this. In spite of your temper (lol), you seem to be a good friend. Definitely :)

lindsay-lee said...

Oh my goodness, you literally have me tearing up The story about your friend Miles was so touching. You were a great friend and that is why your friends is watching down on you now as your angel from heaven. Excellent post as ALWAYS!

Jez Chill said...

Life is so very precious and fragile. Your words are very powerful.

ShellyP said...

Yet again, more proof that you are multifaceted.

introspectre said...

>Introspectre bows deeply to HumanityCritic<
I'm at a loss for words. Remind me to hug you someday if we ever meet.

Positively Cheryl said...

Aww maan. HM you've got me in tears. It's been such a rough day at work and now after reading this i've just got to go and hug somebody.

You should publish a book. Your knack for writing and evoking emotions of all kinds amazes me.

I have a poem about suicide that won me an award in college and I made many people cry then myself.

Suicide is so devastating to everyone involved and i'm sorry that you knew so many people who've done this. Thanks for sharing!

tristessa said...

I really hope you tore her dad a new one. I don't think people always realize how deeply sexual abuse affects the victim's self-esteem. Abused children often think that they somehow caused the abuse and I think at least a little of those thoughts carry over into adulthood. It's really tragic.

Bridging The Dock said...

That's pretty hard, Critic - you make a chick wanna pull some dollas out or sign up for the next community clinic.

Brother OMi said...

damn duke, shit is mad real ( try not to cures on this one) . very touching. had to cry. its rough. had to hug all of my babies. I pray that when they get older, they won't go through this and feel safe enough to tell me

i guess that is why i am always hugging my children and telling them i love them. i would not wish that torment on everyone.,


but its crazy how the signs are there, but we don't notice them because its the furthest things from our minds.

surely the best post...

Dayrell said...

Hey this was a very great post HC. Although your friends are gone I'm pretty sure they are smiling down on you. You have such a kind heart. It's good to see people like you around. Thanks for making light of this, b/c sometimes I think it has a tendency to be overlooked. Oops, I'm teary eye. lol. Again, nice post. I like Under The Bridge by the Chilli Peppers as well.

ransom said...

i really love the peppers. i'm getting addicted to your site damn it! another one to read every day.

i think anyone who's ever lost someone to suicide is forever changed. i've lost 2 friends. and yes, there are always the signs and you always look back at them and wish you would have done something. but sometimes you have to realize that you did all you could. just by being there for them even if it was for a little while.

that said, i would have loved you in high school.

ransom said...

may i put a link to your site on my site?

i think you have a lot of wonderful & intelligent things to say.

*junglefevAh* said...

can't say that i've ever experienced this - hopefully i never will... thanks for sharing

Thinkerbelle said...

Humanity Critic: sensitive, considerate,selfless, devoted and inspiring... Who knew???

coley said...

Well, I'm a little late with my comment...Everything that I want to say to you has already been addressed! Just know that I'm soaking up your words and want to tell you to keep writing! You're amazing!!!! Thank You :)

deborah said...

Timely post... for me at least.

Thanks.

Oh, and I think I may have guessed who your blog biter is... can't help me tendency to be nosey! And if I am correct, all I can say is... you are not being paranoid.

Fran said...

You touched my heart completely with this one. I hurt for those people that took their life away, it is just such a shame and horrible that life got so bad for them.

I had to deal with a best friend that was very suicidal and used to cut herself. I honestly feared for her all the time and just protected her like momma bear.

You never know how you can change a persons life by being there for them, and showing them that you truly love them with all your heart. There are so many out there that believe otherwise and are just so miserable inside from past/present experiences. It breaks my heart, noone should be feeling like that. *sigh*

Thank you for sharing this...humanitycritic (hmph! I'm curious to know your name) :)

EJ Flavors said...

Man, HC. That was a great post.

TheSaga said...

maybe ur not as much an asshole as u think, HC

Yolanda said...

So poignant. Serves as a reminder not to take for granted that those we care about will always get through it. Also serves to let us know that sometimes even loving them won't keep them here. Depression is a darkness that works deep at the core to destroy an individual. Thanks for sharing, HC.

Jdid said...

what can i say that hasnt been said. that was a very touching piece. sorry to hear about your friends.

Anonymous said...

No one close to me has died so I can't even imagine being touched by three suicides. You've really put things into perspective and it was touching to read of these experiences. Thanks for the links too.

Toya said...

i'm like 3 days late on commenting, but i had to comment.....this post was about to make me cry...i'm sensitive, but i held back the tears....i can kind of feel those people pain, because i myself have dealt with depression, but i've never thought of suicide because i'm afraid of death.....since i know how it feels to be depressed, something i've been dealing with since i can remember, like age 11, all the way up to know (tho i'm better), i hate for someone else to feel the same way...especially with Miles and Lynn...recently this guy i have class with tried to kill his self...he was going to our church off and on and was in our choir for a bit...he was in my voice class this semester...last week on thursday, he tried to commit suicide, but he failed...his mom took him out of school and he went back home ot Chicago...i knew that he would look sad sometimes, and un happy, but i just figured he'd be having a bad day, because sometimes i have those, or that he had an attitude problem, or ust didnt want to be bothered....i seen him that thursday in class, but we left early cuz the teacher wasnt there...i dont think i got a chance to talk to him, but i wish i did...looking back i wish there wasnt something i couldve said to him, given him an encouraging word, because i feel that i've pretty much overcome my depression, but i didnt....even tho he didnt kill him self, he tried, and i'd hate to find out that he tried again in the future....i've been praying that God would release that burdent hathe has on him, and that feeling of wanting to take his life....i'm glad you posted this, because like everyone else said, it could really help someone...and sorry for the LONG comment :-)

blue2go said...

Powerful and touching. I had a client who was attending my job finding class jump off the bridge. I called her house three times when she didn't show up for class. Later I found out my boss and the secretary knew about it, but hadn't told me. I was pretty mad at them, and that was the beginning of the end of that job for me. Imagine her poor family getting those calls on the answering machine from me! She had suffered multiple stresses, lost her home to a flood, divorce, ill mother and depression. Wish I could have done something more for her.

Gretchen Ross said...

Under the Bridge...I remember when that came out I was in junior high and every boy that could get his hands on a guitar was trying to play that opening lick. It got tiresome fast. But I like the original song.

Mahogany Elle said...

Wow...trying not to tear on my computer keys. This was so touching. I'm sure you've helped someone out there. God Bless You :)

Paco said...

Great post HC! You always find a way to out-do yourself...

This post touched me just b/c I went through a suicidal period in my life during my first 2 years of HS. I made a promise to somebody that I would never take my life and that is what has always kept me going throughout my life. But to this day I still battle with those thoughts...

To be honest, one of the reasons why I never go through with it (even when I was getting ready to take all of those pills I had in front of me) was because I couldnt bear the thought of my friends crying for me. And this post solidified my feelings that I did the right thing b/c just reading through ur post, I cant stand the thought of my bestfriend going through the thoughts or the feelings that you described.

Never stop writing!

Lola Gets said...

I know Im hella late, but I just had to say something. That song always meant something to me, but not that. Im going to be thinking about that new meaning for a while. I applaud you for being nice to those in need of a friend. And now Im starting to cry cause Im having a bad day. L