Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Friday, November 11, 2005


I read an article in today's G2. (Actually read it whilst sitting in the doctor's waiting room thinking what a shambles our health service is.) Food for thought? I think it gives us all something to think about. Take note people (esp. the last bit):

Supposing ...

... We had instant suicide buttons on our heads

Charlie Brooker
Friday November 11, 2005

How much does it take to break you? To break you to the point of wishing you were dead?

Quite a lot, for most people - a couple of bitter divorces, plus a total career collapse, followed by bankruptcy and a dash of existential woe. Whereas my threshold's far lower. Simple everyday chores do it for me. During the average washing-up experience I'll wail about not wanting to live any more at least six times. And I genuinely mean it.

That the slightest personal drawback leaves me huffing like a toddler denied sweets is a good indication of just how cosseted my existence has become. It's a life of luxury taken for granted.

Not that I live like a king - the same applies to everyone in the west. We spend our lives flopping on the sofa, moaning about the telly - but the sofa's upholstered with pauper skin and the TV runs on baby blood. Our double-glazed windows block out the sound of lashes and screams from the workhouse next door, while an electrified fence surrounding our garden frazzles any potential intruders to a sizzling carbon turd - which we feed to our dog. Our tiny, pedigree dog. Our dog in a sodding tiara.

To make matters worse, every now and then, we'll come across something in the paper that reminds us just how much injustice it's taken to put us where we are, and we'll get a bit angry and sad, and we'll roll our eyes and turn to our partners and tut and say, "Have you seen this? The world's so unfair," and then we'll get distracted by a car advert on the telly that's got that bloke who was in that thing in it. What was it again? Was it Holby City? Pass us a Malteser.

We're pigs.

Perhaps if we'd all been born with a suicide button on the back of our heads - a "death button" that would kill you instantly and painlessly on a single press - we'd all be a bit more grateful; more aware of our good fortune. Yes, a single press and tee hee hee - it's dead as a cardboard box you be!

Incidentally, it's a button with its own fingerprint detection system, so only the owner can use it - it's not like some prankster can hide behind a hedge and prod it with a long stick as you walk by, then laugh as your corpse lands face-first in doggy-doo. It's yours and yours alone.

Of course, few would make it past adolescence. What? I've got to go to school with this huge spot on my chin? Click. And that's only the first of a long line of push-button temptations. There's exam pressures - click - your first heartbreak - click - your mid-20s breakdown - click - your shitty job - click - turning 30 - click - your first grey hair - click. And so on. But it's all for the best. It thins out the populace and spreads the comfort around for everyone.

Besides, anyone voluntarily pressing their button is a fool, and the world's got too many of them. Stroke it, by all means. Flirt with danger. Run your finger round the rim and contemplate choice. But don't press it. Who cares how big that pile of dishes gets? You're alive, stupid. And you're lucky to be here. Now get on with it.


Blogger Richard said...

Long live Charlie Brooker. He's so funny, it's just such a shame he hates the world so bad. The paragraph that starts "Not that I live like a king" made me laugh out lout.

5:18 PM  

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