Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Running on the Same Track...30 years later

Remember that episode of Friends where Monica and Rachel's neighbour, Mr. Heckles, dies and they are left to clean out his worldly possessions as his last dying wish? Chandler goes through Mr. Heckles' yearbook and belongings and realizes a pattern to his life and Mr. Heckle's lonely, depressing life.

CHANDLER: Wow, Heckles was voted class clown, and so was I. [talking and walking can be heard from the floor above] He was right. Would you listen to that?

PHOEBE: I'd call that excessive [noise].

CHANDLER: Whoa! [reads the yearbook]

JOEY: What?

CHANDLER: Heckles played clarinet in band, and I played clarinet. And he was in the scale modeler's club, and I was, well, there was no club, but I sure thought they were cool.

JOEY: So, you were both dorks. Big deal.

CHANDLER: I just think it's weird, you know? Heckles and me, Heckles, and me, me and Heckles...

CHANDLER: Look at this. Pictures of all the women that Heckles went out with. Look what he wrote on them. Vivian, too tall. Madge, big gums. Too loud, too smart, makes noise when she eats. This is, this is me. This is what I do. I'm gonna end up alone, just like he did.

JOEY: Chandler, Heckles was a nut case.

CHANDLER: Our trains are on the same track, ok? Yeah, sure, I'm coming up 30 years behind him, but the stops are all the same. Bitter Town. Aloneville. Hermit Junction.

I just had the same horrifying experience. And it all happened so innocently, too.

I was idly just reading about a woman in Croatia who has been dead for 30 some odd years and no one realized she was dead in her apartment because her neighbours assumed she left the country and no one reported her missing. I wanted to read more and somehow it led me to a Wikipedia page on 'unusual deaths'.

I skimmed most of it and one of them caught my eye. In 1974, a news anchor named Christine Chubbuck, committed suicide live on-air. The story was intriguing and I had to look her up to find out why she did it. She was apparently (obviously) very depressed and there was also a political agenda behind her intent to off herself on live television, but what struck me the most was her life storyand the events leading to her [un]timely death (as much as I hate using Wikipedia as a reference, it's just easier for me to summarize what I've already read from many other sources)...

Her focus on her lack of relationships was generally considered to be the impetus for her depression; her mother later summarized that "her suicide was simply because her personal life was not enough". She lamented to co-workers that her 30th birthday was approaching and she was still a virgin who had never been on more than two dates with a man... [Her brother, Greg] believed that her constant self-deprecation for being "dateless" contributed to her ongoing depression...

Apparently, she had an unrequited crush on co-worker George Peter Ryan. She baked him a cake for his birthday and sought his romantic attention, only to find out that he was already involved with sports reporter, Andrea Kirby. Kirby had been the co-worker closest to Chubbuck, but was offered a new job in Baltimore, which had further depressed Chubbuck...

She was self-deprecating, criticizing herself constantly and rejecting any compliments she was given. She was fond of word play and puns.

'Stunned' does not even begin to describe how I was feeling. I felt like my life literally flashed before me and realizing what my life was possibly coming to. The similarities between Christine and I are way too coincidental: she was a journalist, and I want to be a journalist; my dating pattern is almost identical to hers; I self-deprecate myself (to myself); I'm definitely no stranger to unrequited love and love triangles; I've become more active just to get a better body because my self-esteem is almost non-existent, even though I do hear the compliments; and above all, I love word games. I even baked cupcakes for a guy of whom I had a major crush.

I don't even know what scares the 'bejeezus' out of me more: dying alone and no one realizing for more than 30 years or feeling like committing suicide. I had to stop reading about Christine and the Croatian woman because I honestly felt a little sick. And I still do just writing about it.

I really need to do something.


sarah said...

Are you sure going to Hawaii is going to help?

Kathy said...

I hope you don't actually believe that you are running on the same track as this woman...