Thomas Wictor

Not a chance

Not a chance

I got a message.

You’re too young to write your memoirs. Feels like a suicide note saying, “Thank you world and fuck you.”

Well, I wrote the memoir because readers forced me to.

No, that’s only partially true. Readers of did demand that I write a book, but the truth is that I wanted to do it too. I had stories to tell.

The reasons I wrote the book were to banish my own demons, entertain you, and maybe help a few people in trouble. There is absolutely no chance that I will commit suicide, no matter what. Tim and I had a conversation about this in the car today as we went to see Mom in the hospital.

Tim won’t mind me saying that as traumatic as my history is, his is much worse. Inconceivably worse. Trust me.

But in the car he said exactly the same thing I did. We’re both optimists, we both want to hang out to see what happens, and we both think that life is far too precious a gift to throw away.

Don’t think for a second that now we’re a couple of plump, self-satisfied, eunuchoidal Pollyannas, skipping along and singing, “La-la-la, isn’t the sunshine bee-yoo-tee-fool?” We’ve both attempted suicide. Tim’s attempt was truly Grand Guignol and like everything he does, hilariously macho. I’ll leave it to him to describe it someday if he wants. We spent decades thinking life was a hell that couldn’t be over fast enough.

My best friend committed suicide in 2001, and my father committed suicide. Both suicides were protracted affairs that involved me directly and from which I will never recover. Since I know the impact suicide has on others, I would never do it. I couldn’t do that to my siblings Tim, Paul, Carrie, Pat, and Eric; I couldn’t do it to Scott Thunes; I couldn’t do it to Joe Cady; and I couldn’t do it to Mark McCann, even though he’s currently sulking for some unfathomable Aussie reason.

Things are really hard right now. They may be hard for the rest of my life. But I won’t know until my life is over.

I literally never think of suicide. All I think of is the future and how I can improve myself. In 1997 the Best Therapist in the World told me that because of my history, I find it frightening to experience genuine emotions. Emotions were dirty, scary, and deadly. I thought that feeling deep emotions would kill me. Expressing love was nearly impossible except with Carmen, which is why she haunted me for twenty years.

In explaining to an interviewer why I never got over her, I said imagine that every time you went into a restaurant, you became violently nauseated. Then you found one place where you could eat without getting sick. You went there every day, and then after five years they shut the door on you. When you tried other restaurants, you got nauseated again, so eventually you had to give up and watch everyone else have that which you’d lost forever.

Dave worked with me for over a year and helped me as much as he could. At my request he was very candid with me. He said that I was too damaged to improve beyond a certain point, and he was right. But where I am now is so far beyond where I ever thought I’d be that I’m perfectly happy with what I have.

There’s the term “dog years”; one dog year is about seven human years. You have to think of me in terms of Thomas Wictor emotions, which are about 80 percent of human emotions. Since I believe that we get multiple chances at this, I look forward to becoming fully human—emotionally—in my coming lives. I believe that the only way to become fully human is to live.

In the past I didn’t believe in multiple lives. What scared me about religions that posit one chance at it was the possibility that I’d be just as screwed up in the afterlife as I am in this life. Then I thought that maybe when you die, the fog lifts and you become the person you should’ve been before you went through the meat grinder.

My father has pretty much disabused me of that notion. Tim and I have been haunted since February 23, 2013, the day Dad died. We don’t know if it’s him, a part of him, or something that inhabited him and compelled him to make awful choices. Whoever or whatever it is, it knocks things over, rings the doorbell, makes weird grunting noises, crashes around under our houses, and just generally makes itself a low-grade pain in the butt.

There are actually no physiological, psychological, or spiritual grounds for a person changing after he dies. If a man was stubborn, rigid, unreachable, and unfathomably angry in life, it stands to reason that he’d be that way in death, assuming that the soul lives on. And I’m now 100 percent convinced that it does.

I believe that earth is where you learn. Every second I spend on this planet is helping me improve. I hope someday to feel emotions like a human and not Thomas Wictor. To do that I must live.

And I believe that life is a gift that must be honored. It’s mine to do with what I please.

It pleases me to live.