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No. 3253: Suicide Hotline

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Suicide Hotline

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Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/garfield/?comic=3253

Strip by: DanielBT

Garfield: What a boring, dreary existence this is
Garfield: Distressed, depressed, and down in the dumps
Garfield: Now I'm suicidal
Garfield: I need help
Phone: S-P-H, *, hello?
*Suicide Prevention Hotline
Garfield: MEOW!
Phone: What seems to be the problem?
<I am constantly hit in the face of the pointlessness of existence>
<Every day is the same thing day in and out>
Garfield: Okay, here I go on the count of three... one, two, three and up!
Garfield: This time I'm really going to do it. Here go the legs lifting the body...now!
Garfield: This time I'm really, really going to do it... one, two, three.... hi ya!
<It was fun at first, but now it's just becoming tedious>
<Normally, I enjoy lying in bed, but not when it's a struggle just to get up>
Garfield: It's one of those mornings
Garfield: The kind of morning where you've been up for two minutes and it feels like two days
<Recent events don't help to alleviate the situation>
TV: Today's news is VERY depressing
<Some days, I think of just putting my head between the footrest lever, and ending it all>
Garfield: I can't stand the thought of trudging through another dismal February
[You've clearly thought long and hard about doing this. Do you have any friends or family members who could help?]
<Please. If I disappeared tomorrow, Jon wouldn't even notice I'm gone>
Jon: Wait'll you see what I bought
[What you're feeling is nothing different from what everybody feels every day.]
[All that matters is that you don't act out on those self-destructive thoughts.]
<I don't need another lecture on the wonderment and fufilment of life>
<Life so far feels pretty much the opposite of that>
Garfield: Being depressed is bad enough. Now Jon will probably try to cheer me up with stupid platitudes
Jon: You're depressing, Garfield. And you're fat and lazy too
[Surely there must be something you look forward to.]
<Not really. On my good days, I eat to fill the empty hole in my life>
Garfield: I eat too much because I'm depressed, and I'm depressed because I eat too much
Garfield: It's a vicious circle...
<On my bad days, I don't even have much of an appetite anymore>
<I can barely manage to muster the energy to do things I once enjoyed>
Garfield: Some days I get tired of being a cat
[These are serious considerations, but it's good that you've taken the time to look for help.]
[Letting others know what you're feeling can be a healthy first step.]
<You know, your voice sounds very familiar. In fact, you sound just like...>
TV: Hey, America, here's a cat food we bet your cat will love
<...you sound just like that cat on TV!>
[There's a good reason for that - I AM that voice.]
<What are you doing on a suicide hotline?>
[Just giving back to the community. But let's not talk about me, let's talk about you.]
<No, no. I've never had the chance to talk to a near-celebrity before!>
<You don't know how much your little quips mean to your fans!>
[I have some idea, yes.]
<You're selling yourself short here! I don't even like the stuff you promote, but still watch every commercial you've ever done without fail>
[Well, that's nice to know.]
<Oh man, nobody's ever going to believe this!>
[So, getting back on topic, when was the last time you felt happy?]
<When? Uh, it was... um...>
Garfield: What a dark and gloomy day
Jon: Odie got his tongue stuck in the vacuum cleaner, and all he can say is, "AUWL! AUWL!"
Garfield: Clouds part... the sun breaks through...
<It was such a long time ago. I can hardly recall>
[How about when you found out who you were talking to?]
(Hangs up)
Garfield: Boy, do I feel dumb

The author writes:

This was inspired after looking up the Wikipedia entry on Lorenzo Music, and finding out that he volunteered for a suicide hotline. Routinely, callers would complain about their wretched lives, then notice that the voice on the other end sounded like Garfield.

The hardest part about doing this was trying to figure out suitable back-and-forth dialogue.

There's a surprisingly large amount of depressed Garfield strips, which helped. There were fewer comics with Garfield holding a phone, which would've necessitated constant editing, which seemed to limit potential conversation, so I cheated somewhat, using a recorded call printout between the two parties.

It might be considered counter-intuitive, but depression has been shown to cause both increases and losses of appetite.

This suicide call is fictional, and shouldn't be considered typical of regular callers, which can vary widely. There are general guidelines to follow, ranging from being sympathetic and non-judgemental, but very few online examples. Any errors in judgement are my fault.

To anyone disappointed for how it ended up, I had writer's block creating this for months, because I had no idea how to end it properly. I couldn't decide whether or not to go for a poignant or funny note, and went for direct embarrassment instead. If anybody else can think up a more satisfying outcome or more authentic dialogue, be my guest.

[[Original strips: 1988-12-11, 2004-07-18, 1985-12-10, 1980-04-06, 1985-11-25, 1984-01-01, 1987-02-22, 2008-04-17, 1989-02-11, 1988-11-23, 1987-10-01, 1987-01-29, 1988-05-03, 1983-08-28, 1984-07-16, 2002-07-16.]]

Original strips: 1980-04-06, 1983-08-28, 1984-01-01, 1984-07-16, 1985-11-25, 1985-12-10, 1987-01-29, 1987-02-22, 1987-10-01, 1988-05-03, 1988-11-23, 1988-12-11, 1989-02-11, 2002-07-16, 2004-07-18, 2008-04-17.