Read Or Not To Be: A Collection Of Suicide Notes by Marc Etkind. It theorizes that the suicide note is a literary form, since before it was common for people to know how to read, there weren't any. It goes into a brief analysis of how suicides were taken socially, religiously, and legally (at one point, if a man offed himself, his body wasn't allowed to grace a cemetery and his property was turned over to the state, leaving his family in yet another state of despair) both in history and today.

It breaks up suicides in several categories: location, historical significance, motives, tools of the trade, as well as noting a few famous people like Sylvia Plath, John Kennedy Toole (locally famous for Confederacy of Dunces here in New Orleans), Kurt Cobain, and the still yet undead O.J. Simpson.

Even though it is, in my opinion, too brief in its content, it does its best to document what I believe are universal truths. One of these is that, through studies of suicide note, it was be discerned that the reason people were killing themselves hundreds of years ago are no different from the reasons given today. The human condition is, in essence, a constant of inconsistencies.

The book left me feeling almost compelled to kill myself if only for the sake of a well written suicide note. I've decided to live after all, letting the moment of literary motivation be taken over by that pesky common sense. I leave it up to you. If you're going to do it, leave a halfway decent note, so maybe your passing will be noted in a book as dark, sickly comical and strangely profound as this one.

How's that for an Everything node quest?

C'mon, people, let's show some intuition. Where are your suicide notes? Where are your screams of self-induced pity and expressions of loss for this life? All I ask is that you use proper grammar, proper ink and paper, and leave it where someone will find it. And for God's sake, clean your room first.

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