A Bridge To Somewhere

Last week there was an article in the Times about a 102 year old man who committed suicide.  He jumped off a bridge into the Missouri River. The man, Isadore Millstone,  was a beloved figure in St. Louis.  He had made a fortune as a builder (he built Busch Stadium among other things) and was renowned for his philanthropic activities.  Beyond that,  he was revered for his support of civil rights for minorities.  Mr. Millstone had outlasted two wives and  his  two children.  Although he was  widely respected, apparently, because he was so old,  no one interviewed in the article seemed to view  his death as a tragedy.  In fact, in what I thought was a rather flip and  tasteless remark,  a friend, who made note that Mr. Millstone  had been qute a  swimmer, said “I guess he decided it was time to make one last dive into the water.”   (This is usually the point at which I might say something even more tasteless.  But, I’m going to show some restraint, take the high road and continue.)

Of course, I had to know what drove him to take his own life.  I was expecting to read that he was in severe pain with some terminal illness or that he was morbidly depressed.  No.  All I could find was that about a year ago (when he was 101!) he had hurt his shoulder and was taking some pain medication.  Also, he was having some  trouble sleeping.   A friend (the remaining one) and I were kidding around that maybe the pain in his shoulder had taken some of the zip off of his second serve and that’s what drove him to such lengths.  At any rate,  there’s something that just doesn’t make sense to me about this whole affair.

I remember reading a while back a commentary  on suicide.   The author just couldn’t understand it.  He compared committing suicide to  shooting yourself in the head on the way down from jumping off of a building (think “bridge”).  His thinking is that since we’re all in the process of dying anyway it’s somewhat redundant to accelerate the  process.    It’s an interesting thesis but I’m not sure I agree with him.  But based on that metaphor , our friend Isadore couldn’t have been too far from hitting the ground when he put the gun to his head.  Maybe a foot….two, at tops.

I guess my interest in this story is generated by self interest .  (Big surprise.)  I’ve been having some pain in my Achilles tendon for the last year or two.  And, I’m not sleeping as well as I once did.  Not that I’m considering anything drastic. And, of course, I’m a lot younger than this Millstone fellow but lately I’ve been wondering how far from hitting the ground I am.  Wondering….. but I’m not so sure I’d like to know.

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7 Responses to “A Bridge To Somewhere”

  1. R Says:

    Was a note left behind? Could he have been pushed?

    • ironicman Says:

      rich… no note. no sign of foul play. but i wouldn’t be surprised if we find out he was distraught over an affair he was having with some woman in argentina.

  2. ed Says:

    You’re inexplicably affected by this man’s death… Could you be his love-child?

  3. charn Says:

    interesting…he was jewish and you never mentioned that—mmm, how come?

    • ironicman Says:

      jewish? reallly? i guess i’m more ecumenical than either of us give me credit for. (if you believe that…..i have an old miata i’d like to sell)

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