The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE THIRTY FOUR: Decision To Fall…
There are some decisions in life that are pretty easy.
What am I going to have to breakfast?
What shirt am I going to wear?
What am I going to watch on TV?
Some decisions are a bit harder.
This mole looks weird. Should I go to the doctor?
My engine in knocking. Is it the gas? Should I take it in?
This job is going nowhere. Should I look for another?
Then there are decisions that may be near impossible to be made…but yet…we may have to.
It’s been fifteen years since 9/11 and the worst terror attack the United States has ever seen. And it still affects us. As the fifteenth anniversary rolled around, videos and pictures from that day has circulated on the news and the internet.
One of these pictures is the reason I’m writing this blog post.
It’s entitled The Falling Man. It was taken by a photographer by the name of Richard Drew. He was there, taking photos when he looked up and took a rapid fire secession of photos of a man falling from near the top of the North Tower. In one photo, the now famous Falling Man is seen falling head first with one of his legs cocked as if he’s about to kick a ball.
The man is clearly alive in these photos as he plummeted to the street below.
As of this writing, the identification of this man is unknown but some believe he worked in a restaurant in the North Tower called Windows. And he wasn’t the only person to jump that day, but this ‘Falling Man’ is the most…famous.
I would show you this picture but I don’t have permission and honestly, it’s a bit disturbing.
And it’s one hundred percent heartbreaking. If you want to see it, just look it up. You’ll see what I mean.
Now, the decision. Here you are. You’re working, just a normal day and BOOM. An explosion a few floors below you. You and your work mates and anybody else around you try to evacuate the floor but the elevators don’t work and the stairwell is blocked. There is no way down. So you have to stay.
This part is speculation. Maybe smoke starts to build on your floor and becomes overwhelming. You and some other people decide to break some windows so you can get some air. Then the flames come. There is no stopping them.
You must now decide. Stay and either die of smoke inhalation or die by burning to death.
You think to yourself, I’m not going to live either way. I will be dead in a matter of a couple of minutes. You think about those you’re about to leave behind. You think about if it’s going to hurt. You’re going to think about how much you are going to miss your loved ones…all in a matter of a few seconds.
Then you hurl yourself out the window.
How do you make that kind of decision? You have to fight against all of these inner forces to do so.
Is jumping the wrong decision? In this situation and in my opinion, it’s a resounding no. By jumping, you’ll see the end coming but odds are it won’t hurt. Not in the slightest. Stay and burn, there would be lots of pain. And I bet he had no idea that a few minutes after he did, the building was coming down anyway.
I think he made the best decision with the options he had.
But the question remains. How does one decide to do such a thing? It goes against everything humans have built inside of them. One of our natural-born instincts is to survive. At all costs. To over-write that need must be superhuman. To act on that must have felt like the world pushing against him. Imagine the first time you dived into a pool from a diving board for the first time. Now multiply that by an uncountable number. That’s how I feel about it, at least.
Since I have seen that picture, I can’t get it out of my mind (the reason for this post). I have studied it. I wondered what was his last thoughts. I wondered if he could think of anything at all because of fear.
Or…was he at peace…knowing he made the best choice?
I want to believe that. I really do. Maybe he knew the enormous choice he made and was happy that he fought instinct and won.
There are some that may fault him and say he committed suicide. Some that may be reading this may think that very thing.
I only have my opinion to answer that. When you are given the choices he had and it comes down to only him, he made the best one. Was it suicide?
No. It was mercy.
I don’t think that image will ever leave me and if you know the image or looked it up after reading this, I don’t think it will leave you either. It will haunt us from time to time. We’ll ask our self if placed in the same situation (and I really hope not, for either of us) will we be able to make that decision, to stay and burn or to jump and fall.
For me, I hope I have the courage to jump and fall. Not to make light of it (even though I feel the need to make light of it a little), I think if I can over come that fear to make the leap, I might enjoy the fall somewhat. I hope so, anyway. To feel weightless for a minute. To feel safe from the smoke and the flames.
And to know I went out my way.
I’ll end this one with this: make things right where you have wronged. You never know the decisions you might have to make tomorrow.
Sept. 30th 2016
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.