Rudimentary Peni

Better Not Born

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It seemed like a damn futile business to keep on living. No more tutors - high school next September which would probably be a devilish bore, since one couldn't be as free and easy as one had been during brief snatches at the neighbourly Slater Avenue school...Oh hell! Why not slough off consciousness altogether?...The whole life of man was a mere cosmic second -so I couldn't be missing much. The method was the only trouble. I didn't like messy exits, and dignified ones were hard to find. Really good poisons were hard to get -those in my chemical laboratory (I reestablished this institution in the basement of the new place) were crude and painful.
Bullets were spattery and unreliable. Hanging was ignominious. Daggers were messy unless one could arrange to open a wrist in a bowl of warm water -and even that had its drawbacks despite good Roman precedent. Falls from a cliff were positively vulgar in view of the probable state of the remains. Well what tempted me most was the warm, shallow reed-grown Barrington River down the east shore of the bay.
I used to go there on my bicycle and look speculatively at it. (That summer I was always on my bicycle wishing to be away from home as much as possible since my abode reminded me of the home I had lost). How easy it would be to wade among the bushes and lie face down in the warm water till oblivion came. There would be a certain gurgling or choking unpleasantness at first, but it would soon be over. Then, the long, peaceful night of non-existence... What I had enjoyed from the mythical start of eternity till the 20th of August 1890. More and more I looked at the river on drowsy sun-golden summer afternoons. I liked to think of the beauty of the sun and blue river and green shores and distant white steeple as enfolding me at the last -it would be as if the element of mystical cosmic beauty were dissolving me, and yet certain elements -notably scientific curiosity and a sense of world drama- held me back. Much in the universe baffled me, yet I knew I could pry the answers out of books if I lived and studied longer. Things have learned to walk that ought to crawl.

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