Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nothin' on TV? Honey, pack up the Astrovan, let's go watch the suicide jumper.



About seven thirty, I was getting acquainted with my new cable setup in my roach-ridden apartment, when the unmistakable drone of a helicopter rotor interrupted me. At first, I shrugged off the ruckus due to the proximity of my apartment to the a nearby hospital, but the sound went on for way too long for a normal medivac flyby. There had to be something going on. The whirlibird was hovering way too low for way too long. I let it ride, and continued bathing in the bluish glow of cable TV. Later on, I went out for a bite to eat. I knew something was really up when the fire engine blocked the path to my fast food dinner. A motorcycle cop inside Wendy's noted that there was a "Guy that was gonna jump off a crane up on Peachtree." I got my frosty to go. I had to see this.

By the crowd gathered around the area, you'd thought that Peter Jackson, or at least Burt Reynolds, was eating filet mignon and scallops at Benihana across the street. Nope. Everyone was peering upward at the guy contemplating ending his life. From my vantage point, the guy looked like a sugar ant perched on the end of the construction crane's boom. The talking teeth on the news later said the crane was at least 300 feet tall. I knew that a fall from that height to pavement would not be pretty. Have we made any progress from the days of the Roman Colosseum?

The entire scene was one of contrasts. On one hand, you have a dedicated crew of people who shut down a major Thouroughfare in Atlanta to save this person's life. Then you have the crowd of people in their crazy creek lounge chairs waiting with baited breath to see the termination of a life.

I scanned the ever-growing crowd, I noticed families show up to watch the man do a 300-foot swan dive onto Peachtree Road. A mom posted up a patch of grass with her son- the kid couldn't have been more than 8 years old. Dad showed up later with a Diet Coke purchased from the adjacent Blockbuster Video. Folks even setup camp chairs to make an evening of it. Big burly dudes showed up arm-in-arm with their girlfriends. Yuppie White collar guys in Bruno Magli loafers showed with expensive Japanese cameras. The police set up an entire section for the media. And Everyone occasionally took cellphone “pics” of the guy on the crane. I suppose, deep down, everyone wanted to see the pretty pink mist. Whether it was all the transfats in my fast food dinner or this spectacle, I don’t know. The whole thing made me sick.

The entire scene was one of contrasts. On one hand, you have a dedicated crew of people who shut down a major Thouroughfare in Atlanta to save this person's life. Then you have the crowd of people in their crazy creek lounge chairs waiting with baited breath to see the termination of a life.

I couldn’t leave, though. I was transfixed. Some folks set up lawn chairs. Some cracked jokes about work in the morning, “So get on with it and jump already.” I chuffed at a few of the jokes. But WHAT IF? What if I saw a guy fall like an unwanted rag-doll right into the street from that height? What would that sound like? Would I be able to feel the impact? I wasn't sure I wanted to find out.

So I left. Sad thing is, I went back to bathe in the bluish glow of cable TV. I took great care monitor the ticker updates of the man on the crane. Somehow, the four blocks and the scene on TV was enough buffer zone for me to watch the events unfold. I'm no better than the rest of 'em.

6 comments:

Marlow said...

Man... That is gnarcore. I am in agreeance.

Evan said...

For sure man. Good call. People are disgusting sometimes.

"People eat bloodsausage."

Kristjan Michael Morgan said...

One word: Brutal Juice

Kelley said...

So I have to know......did he jump?

Biblioteknine said...

By the way, Homeboy did NOT jump.

Alvaro said...

Wow that's crazy man! Glad he didn't jump. It's sad that we as a society are more interested in the bad things that happen or in this case can happen than in good things that happen.
We miss ya bro!