English: Old telephone switchboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It didn’t take a genius to work out that I wasn’t built for relationships, especially those horrid employer/employee relationships. Yes, a break from the work place was definitely in order, so I turned my attentions to the community in which I lived. Someone was bound to need me, so I applied post-haste to a charity called ‘Suicide Watchtower’ set up in competition to the ‘Samaritans’, and embarked on a four-week intensive training course that concentrated on a series of role playing exercises. Naturally I passed out with flying colours and eventually got to man the switchboard in an office located above a record shop in Kensington Church Street. I was handed a listed of trigger words and phrases never to be used, like ‘JUMP’, and ‘PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER,’ and quickly memorised these. With lives in my hands, I don’t mind telling you, I was plenty nervous. My heart was pumping, my hands were sweating and one of my balls was throbbing, mainly because I was sitting on it.
The switchboard light suddenly lit up and I was thrown in at the deep end. I took a deep breath and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Argos complaints department, how may I help you…Sorry!” I began again. “Err…Suicide Watchtower, David speaking.” At first no one spoke. “Hello, is anybody there?”
“Err, my name is Jeremy, and…” Apparently Jeremy was sitting in a hotel room drunk in charge of a loaded revolver. His wife had left him for his partner who had cheated Jeremy out of his share of a thriving business. I let the man talk himself out as I had been trained to do. Finally I said, “Jeremy, it’s always darkest before the dawn, so lets look for the silver lining together! Now listen very carefully.” I told him to grab a sheet of paper and a pen and draw a vertical line down the middle. This he did. “Now write out two lists, first the things that are troubling you.” I drank tea while he wrote. “Done!” “Good,” I said. “Now write out the things you have in your favour.” Two minutes later I heard a gun shot. I wouldn’t use that f**king tactic again.
The switchboard light shone. Brian told me he was standing on a stool with a rope around his neck speaking to me on a cellular phone. “Florian has left me. David, what am I to do?” It appeared Florian was Brian’s long time male lover. They had even gone through a marriage ceremony on the island of Fiji. I listened to the man for over forty minutes trying not to snore too loudly. Every so often he would punctuate his tale with threats to jump. Naturally I talked him out of it. However, after the sixth such threat my enthusiasm began to wane. Finally I lost what little patience I had left and screamed down the phone. “Jump you f**ker, jump!”
“I said, DON’T jump you f**ker, don’t jump! Quickly, give me your address. I’ll happily come round and throttle you myself! I’ve met a bore or two in my time, but you take the biscuit!” It was then that I heard the stool topple over and the line went dead. Scratch two! Did you know that most people who hang themselves actually die of asphyxiation and not from a broken neck? Very few people know how to tie a proper noose. Sadly, proper noose tying is a dying art form. Anyway, the whole experience at Suicide Watch re-affirmed my belief that I really wasn’t a people person after all.
NOTA BENE: Although this is primarily a COMEDY blog, I have no wish to offend. The subject of SUICIDE should not be treated lightly.If anyone IS offended, communicate this to me and I WILL trash this blog!