I'm in Chicago today, trying not to think about suicide, and my girlfriend asks, “So, who’s the next one?”

Stuck in the editing phase, more like amputating phase, and only 12 hours remain until the final deadline for my first novel. I've cut over 40 pages and it’s getting easier to say goodbye. Distractions are welcome at this point. 

“Next what?” I ask.

“The next famous person to kill themselves.”

A gruesome thought but part of preventing suicide is guessing who’s next. I’m not a professional, nor a clinician, academic or an expert (see previous blog) in the field of suicidology, but it’s pretty obvious who’s getting on at the next stop of the suicide train.

White, male, late 40s to mid-50s, by gunshot or suffocation. The celebrity might be a musician or a comedian, because both careers need depression to succeed.  

I don’t want to be right and I hope the publicity awarded to famous people ends up creating awareness. Maybe suicide is contagious, but I’d like to think the more we openly talk about the causes, the less we’ll see the effect.  

But to predict the future, merely study the past.

During a pause in cutting (editing, not suicidal practice) where I had just eliminated a wonderful piece about the chess game in Blade Runner, known as the “Immortal Game” played in 1851, and how the director’s brother Tony had jumped from the Thomas Vincent Bridge, which in turn triggered remembrance of recent celebrity suicides . . .

7 years ago, filmmaker Tony Scott jumped off a bridge after a long bout with cancer. Also, football player Junior Seau shot himself.

6 years ago, Martin Manley, a sportswriter and statistician, left behind what I believe is history’s most complete and detailed suicide note. http://martin-manley.eprci.com/suicide_preface

5 years ago, we lost Robin Williams. And since then, I haven’t been able to watch Aladdin (thank heavens for Will Smith bringing the Genie back to life).  

Two year ago, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Chester from Linkin Park both strangled themselves.  Can’t say anymore, still grieving about Chris.

And last year, we lost Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Also, the kid who played Alexander Rozhenko (Worf’s son) on Star Trek: TNG killed himself on New Year’s Day. And Margot Kidder who played Lois Lane. And musicians Avicii and Zombie Boy. Also, David Buckel, an LBGT activist, who burned himself to death in a Brooklyn park.

This year, as of June 2019, Kelly Catlin took her own life, an American gold medalist in cycling.  And an ex-Peruvian president as well as the lead singer of The Prodigy

Not sure how to end this blog.  I don’t want to come back in a few months and add a piece about how my favorite actor, artist, musician, comedian, author, or athlete has taken their life. Maybe that’s better than having to add a piece about someone I actually know.

Suicide leaves so many unanswered questions and everyone believes they could have done something about it. And that’s the hard part: we often don’t know soon enough because we didn’t ask.

As for editing, it doesn’t really seem that important anymore . . . 11 hours left.