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All My Puny Bell Jars

First I read All My Puny Sorrows written by Miriam Toews.  Then I read The Bell Jar written by Sylvia Plath.  I was surprised to find out that they are both about suicide and the successful and not so successful attempts thereof by two women, in different eras, of course.  The Bell Jar was published in 1963, and Plath killed herself shortly thereafter.  All My Puny Sorrows, or AMPS as it's abbreviated was published in 2014, so we can say that the "suicide problem" has been around for at least 51 years.  If you asked Albert Camus about suicide he would say, "it is not a problem.  It is a choice," (in a French accent) and then he would probably visit a prostitute because that is also a choice. 

In both novels the one trying to kill herself is not successful on her first attempt.  I have read that men do not attempt suicide as much as women, but when they do they are more successful at it. Similarly, when a man goes shopping in a mall, he will go to the store directly, whereas a woman will visit every store except for the one she came to see.   Similarly, male sperm go straight for the womb, whilst female sperm take their time and dilly dally and look in all the windows and maybe get a frozen yoghurt or froghurt as some people are saying these days.   Suicide for women is more often a cry for attention than wanting to die, otherwise they would just get the business done.  If I were to commit suicide I would blow my brains out with a gun, but they don't allow guns in Canada unless you are a hunter, and if I was a hunter the proclivity to kill myself would be greater, I reckon. 

AMPS was set in Winnipeg, which is where I went to school.  So I found it enthralling to read of similar roads which she drove on and of course the river there.  She uses the river as a metaphor for her life.  We are all a bit like rivers in one way or tother.  We are all like something anyway if you are into metaphors.  We can be anything!  That is the power of abstract thought and it is a sign of higher life.  Another sign of higher life is your ability to kill yourself which is not seen in any other animal.  Probably because the other animals don't have huge expectations placed on them.  Lions do, by protecting the pride, and humping a lot, but the expectation for male humans to hump late in life is a bigger one because lionesses are not nearly as caddy and do not have nearly as large vocab as female humans.  The lion just has to run away from her or crush her or bite her neck or whatever and that is the end of that.  If a man tries crushing his wife or whatever he will go to jail.  At least in jail some of those large expectations are removed, but new ones are added.

It was also unimaginable to read of characters in Winnipeg which I knew and have met, including a certain professor at a certain university.  It's true, I've been to University, I have seen the world, and what do I have to show for it?  That's right, an itchy ding-dong and a bullet wound.  Whoopty-doo!!  You can have my bullet wound and ding-dong and what have you, thank-you, and I will take a life in the jungle debt free, eating all that fruit.  Yes, you can take this and I will grow my hair long and pound on my chest as real men should.  Real men should also drive trucks, but I can't even do that anymore cause my truck was repossessed by the tax men, so now I got to doodle around on my shoes, you know.  Or on my horse, who is actually a man named Hal who lost a big bet to me a while ago, if you knew anything about it.   

Both of novels were semi-autobiographical.  AMPS was written from the Suicide's Sister's perspective, whilst The Bell Jar was written as the Suicide Attemptee's perspective.  Both of the characters lead opulent lives.  Both love ideas and the piano.  Now, I don't want to sound like a chauvinist or anything, but this is what happens when women get ideas.  Bam, kill themselves.  Bam.  Bam.  Idea.  Bam.  Idea. Bam. Dead.  All these ideas, all these deaths.  Bam.  Another one gone.  You see her eyes light up one minute, the next minute she's got a gun to her head or is slicing her wrist or what have you.  The way women like to kill themselves the best is to slice up their wrists and to climb into a nice hot bath and let the blood flower from their veins so that they can die in a gaudy brilliance.  It is how Bill Hader' character, Milo Dean tried to kill himself in The Skeleton Twins.  He is a man, but gay so he doesn't really count. 

So, ladies, watch out with all that knowledge you have access to.  You might find yourself frosty cold in a red bathtub somewhere waking up gasping for air and dialing your mother.

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