Cro has just imparted a tragic story about suicide - although the crime of 'suicide' no longer exists in the eyes of the state - and it reminded me of an incident of about 10 years ago, when I noticed an acquaintance sitting in the corner of the pub looking morosely drunk and introspective.
I normally avoided this bloke, because he was a bore of Olympian standards - he eventually became the only person in the pub's history to be barred for life, simply for being too boring. Think about it. Try to imagine someone who is so boring that they are barred from an English public house for life, and you will begin to get some idea about how stunningly boring this man was.
I went over to his table and asked him what was wrong. He told me he was deeply depressed and was thinking about going home and killing himself.
We all knew him as someone who - at the age of about 35 - was completely supported by his rich parents, and did not seem to want for any material thing in life. He had a new, smart car, and could afford to go to the pub every night, stay as long as he wanted in order to bore as many people as possible - all without doing any of the work the rest of us had to in order to pop into the place at about 5.00 o'clock and stay for a couple of drinks. He would be pissed by the time we arrived, and when we left he would stay, often until closing time.
I couldn't just leave him in this state, so I pulled up a chair and spent the rest of the evening trying to convince him that life was worth living, only leaving myself when I thought that there was a good chance of him not carrying out his threat of self-destruction. I spent all night with him and I was shattered by the time I got home.
The next day I entered the pub, finding him standing at the bar and chatting to a few bored-looking people who could not get away from him. I asked him how he was today, and he replied by saying that he did not know what I was talking about, so I reminded him.
"Oh that," he said with an infuriatingly broad smile over his idiotic features, "I didn't really mean any of that!"
I got my hands around his throat and pinned him up against the wall, telling him that if he ever wasted my time - or anyone else's - like that again, I would personally make sure he carried out his threat to kill himself, if I didn't do it for him out of impatience.
I wasted an entire evening on this fool.
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