punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Jumping off cliffs

My mother never asked me, "If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump off too?" She knew better. Of course, when someone asks me that now, here's what happens:

I postulate this comment. The hypothesis is that everyone has jumped off a cliff, leaving you alone. There are several ways to look at this:

The first is a smarmy answer: Yes. "I figure if everyone did it, they know something I don't. I'd hate to be alone." Stock answer. That's not actually how I feel, but it's a passive aggressive slap back in the face for someone asking me such a loaded question in the first place. They expect, "No!" and then you go along with them because just because you are doing what everyone else is doing, it somehow gets tied to your untimely death at the hands of gravity. It makes about as much sense as claiming you prefer gas ovens to electric, and it getting compared to NAZI death camps.

The second is more subtle, but not by much. "No. I like being alone. I'll finally get stuff done." A weak, emo-goth answer that also sidesteps the leading conclusion that mass suicide is something to resist.

Of course, if I felt like really tangling the opponent in a side-topic, I'd request clarification. "Wait, why did they jump off a cliff? Where is this cliff? Did the bodies just pile at the bottom?" I'd wait for them to pause because almost no one expects a followup on a rehearsed phrase. Then I'd smack them with another twisting thought, "Did everyone die? You just asked if they jumped off the cliff, not IF everyone died after jumping off a cliff. Maybe it's part of some sport." Again, wait for the pause. Or weak attempts to change the subject. I'd give them a half phrase into that before I'd ask, "So how do I know it's EVERYBODY? How many is EVERYBODY? Like is it assumed to be everyone who exists, or a certain subset, like those in the county or only my friends near a cliff at the time of the jumping?"

It doesn't stop there. I would speculate several short stories that would involve the kinds of "what ifs" about living in a cliff-jumping world. Was this a mass suicide? Part of a cult? Was everyone a zombie? What would the world be like afterward? What would it actually BE like as a survivor if everyone jumped off a cliff? I pictured a kind of two-person survivor fiction going mad on some planet surface, like out of a Ray Bradbury piece, or maybe something in the style of a 1980s bleak future.

Then I heard the late Don LaFontaine's movie trailer voice saying

One man.
Against the world.

One large cliff.
And the clock is ticking...

Then there'd be half-second flash clips of a Mad Max like wasteland with a partially wrecked car jumping through fire. EXPLOSIONS! You'd focus on Nicholas Cage talking to a grease-paint and dust smeared Cameron Diaz. There'd be a electric guitar heavy metal soundtrack. At some point he'd say to her:

It's not about the cliff; it's about the edge...

The music would pause dramatically.

...I am the edge.

Instantly cut to a clip of him nonchalantly walking away (in slow motion) from some explosion falling behind the edge of a cliff... without even looking back (wow, what a guy!)... playing to some Korn musical number at volume 11 and a splash screen that says

Nicholas Cage is
dropping 2012

Alan Dean Foster will do the novelization.
Tags: cliff, humor, suicide
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 1 comment