I drew this in the same Alcoholics Anonymous meeting as the original (lost) Autobiography cartoon. It’s one of the random scrap drawings that I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually add to the site but – while going through files, sizing artwork for my next batch of prints – I decided to clean it up a little bit and I sorta like it now. Besides – this little character’s got history! He popped up again just two days later in Group Therapy.
Anyway, I’ve been at it now for virtually all of the last twenty-four hours. I was up all night doing all sorts of basic maintenance/inventory kinds of stuff so that I can reorder out-of-stock prints, get some others for the first time, and buy more of the supplies that I need to package ’em all. I think I’ll probably stay up straight through the day and just go to sleep tonight. I can’t remember the last time I did that, but I feel pretty okay. I’ve been so productive that – until this moment – it hadn’t even occurred to me that I haven’t taken any Adderall today; I’m just on a streak, I guess.
Around 7 or 8 this morning, I took a break from the boring business end of “being an artist” and started working on a new cartoon, which I’m going to finish today but (for TOP SECRET REASONS) won’t be able to share with anyone for a month or so. I’m pretty excited about it though; it’s coming out really well.
When I looked up that Atom & His Package song for yesterday’s entry, I stumbled into this one first, which I had never heard before. I saw Atom & His Package play when I was fourteen (at The Orpheum in late 2000). It’s never really been my thing but after more than a decade of not being even slightly interested in anything beyond “Punk Rock Academy,” it’s starting to grow on me. This one’s really good. It’s total nonsense but it’s just too god damn catchy and energetic to ignore.
4×5½” prints of “Shoot Me” (numbered, signed, and sealed) are available in my webstore. In the same listing (for the same price) you can also buy the original.
“I’m Downright Amazed” was included on Atom’s final release, which my friend Alex told me is one of the best live albums he’s ever heard.
“Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t kill yourself. You TOTALLY can.”
This was my last piece before I moved out of Tranquil Shores and back into the real world. Until that morning, I had been operating under the assumption that I’d be staying for at least another two months or so but – as I found out when I went into the clinical office that morning – I only had ten days left. I was really upset – kind of shattered. It caught me completely off guard. I walked back to the residential property, went into my apartment, and painted this. It’s only on my jacket because I didn’t ever have canvases at that point and I was all out of cardboard.
I’m not sure the sentiment warrants any explanation but it’s a play on the misuse of “can” (in place of “may”) and a response to anyone who says that suicide is wrong or selfish. I think that’s true in some instances: the moment you decide to have kids, for example, I think you forfeit your right to kill yourself. To bring another life into being and then decide, “ehhhh… maybe life’s not worth living after all,” – that’s kinda bullshit. But in my case – back when I was seriously contemplating (and occasionally attempting) suicide, I didn’t have anyone in my life – no one that I felt I owed anything to anyway. I was isolated, hopelessly stuck on heroin, and every day hurt. Living was reallypainful. I think it was my older sister (I don’t remember for sure) but shortly after I got out of the hospital for an overdose in September 2011, I got a phone call.
“That’s a really selfish thing to do, Sam,” she said.
Fuck you, I thought. “You wanna know what’s selfish?” I asked. “Expecting me to endure this kind of pain every day – to keep on with this shitty, empty life, devoid of any happiness whatsoever – so that you can call me on the phone two or three times a year.”
Obviously, my life didn’t have to be that awful but – at that point – I didn’t have what I needed to do anything about it. And while I’m glad I didn’t die, I still (basically) feel the same way. Things turned around for me but there are plenty of other people who aren’t so lucky – people who struggle for decades with mental illness and addiction and never find any kind of a light. Carrying on with each new day is a gamble that doesn’t always pay off. And while I’ll always try to encourage someone to try something different / take another shot at life before they throw in the towel, I still wouldn’t tell them that they have to keep going. There are certain people whose deaths would devastate me but I know how bad life can hurt and I’m not gonna deny them relief. If you can’t take it anymore, it’s your right to check out – and the pain others might feel from the loss isn’t on you. After all – if it’s more than they can stand, everyone else always has that same option…
Although – if nothing else – suicide is pretty dumb – and sorta lazy. The thing about it is that it’s usually the result of feeling trapped in some situation. Being afraid of the consequences of breaking out [of whatever position]. But in killing yourself, you’re gonna break out of it anyway so why not first take a shot at another route of escape? Throw some shit in your backpack, get on a bus to some city eight hundred miles away, and just see what happens. Have a fucking adventure. If you can’t handle your problems: DON’T. Quit your job, forget about your lease, disconnect your phone, and just start over. Worse case scenario: you’re still unhappy and you kill yourself a week or two later. But if you’re not determined to be miserable (and you actually make an effort / try something new) chances are you’re gonna figure it out eventually. I did.
I’d like to think I offset the gloom of this entry with a little bit of optimism, but if I fell short, maybe this’ll make up the difference. It’s a song that is totally unlike most of the music I listen to, is (in a lot of ways) every thing that I usually detest in music, but that (for whatever reason) has a really positive, exciting, happy kind of effect on me.
Signed and numbered 7½x12″ prints of “Suicide Jacket” are available in my webstore. If you’re interested in purchasing the original (jacket), get in touch.