Jacob Lawrence, "Funeral Sermon" (1946)
Jacob Lawrence, Funeral Sermon (1946)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

January 21, 2003:

Bleary blue eyes, ringed with red. Thin boy, college student, sandy brown hair, steps unsteadily into the living room, where his roommates look up from their movie. "I've taken all my pills," he says, nervously. Opens a hand to show the empty prescription bottle he'd clutched there. Wobbles, woozy. Alarmed, they leap to their feet, gather up his empty pill bottles, bundle him into a car, careen him to the emergency room.

Young E.R. doctor on duty as they check him in. End of a long shift, saving lives. Traffic accidents, gunshot wounds. Dying people who wanted to live. He's exhausted and his patience is short.

"What's the matter with him?", he asks.

"Suicide attempt," says one of the roommates. "He ate all his meds."

E.R. doctor, looks, blinks, reads the labels of the empty pill bottles. Rolls his eyes. "I don't need this shit," he says, vehemently.

Thin boy is on a gurney, eyes wide with panic. After numerous theatrical suicidelets he's terrified this one may succeed. "W-what's going to happen to me?", he asks the doctor, petrified.

Doctor looks sternly into his eyes. Holds up an empty prescription bottle. "You swallowed all of these?", he asks.

"Yes," says the thin boy, quavering.

Holds up a second empty prescription bottle. "And all of these?", he asks.

"Yes," nods the thin boy, quavering.

Holds up a third empty prescription bottle. "And all of these?", he asks.

Thin boy nods, quavering.

Young doctor shrugs. "Well," he says. "You're probably going to die. I don't think there's anything we can do for you."

Thin boy passes out, whether from the pills or from fear no-one can tell.

He lives. The fluke combination of all three medicines in proportion keeps him alive while his stomach is pumped and his system detoxed. In a few months he graduates, moves to the east coast, becomes a computer programmer, makes a lot of money. Far as anyone knows this was his final suicide attempt.