Like everyone, I’m curious about suicide. Of course, I don’t mean that I’m curious about killing myself, just about the subject in general. As many of you know, my background is in customer service and general management. So I often wonder what the culture is like at a suicide hotline office. Are the workers friendly? Do they get along with each other? Or do they bicker, form alliances, paint their enemy-colleagues as two-dimensional characters and find ways to externalize blame on them?
“Where the fuck is my three hole punch? Fucking Janet, I’ll bet she took it.” That sort of thing.
I also wonder if, like in any customer service environment, the workers grow to resent their clients. After dealing with the same suicidal person three or four times, do they begin rolling their eyes to the amusement of the person in the cubicle next to them, or, god forbid, start doing the male-pattern masturbation hand motion as if to sign “This guy’s not gonna do shit.”
Recently, I met a man who worked at one of these hotlines. He informed me that one of the most common phone calls that the suicide hotline receives is not from people who are indeed suicidal, but rather, people who use the hotline as a prop for their own masturbation, mostly men. They call up and act like they are suicidal long enough get a sympathetic conversation going and then, slowly, slowly, the groaning and grunting begins. It’s true, suicide hotlines have a whole written protocol for how to deal with it. I wonder if that protocol is in a checklist format. I’d love to know the verbiage of that checklist. I love checklists.
And finally, I wonder if they’ve started outsourcing suicide hotlines. Does it matter that the person counseling you has an American accent or not? Does that familiar intonation help cool and ease your self destructive impulse? And if you’re just calling to jerk off anyway, is it a turn off that the person on the other end of the line be in Bombay? I don’t know, I think Indian accents are kinda sexy.
Sad Vicious plays The Hemlock Tavern
This Friday March 16th 2012 at 9:30PM
1131 Polk St. @ Post
San Francisco, CA
We are the opener (of course) and will likely go on promptly at 9:30PM.
Also, I’m going to be in Boston giving a presentation at the Museum School Wednesday March 28th 2012.
And while I’m out there, I’m gonna go see Elephant Room in Brooklyn which I am SO STOKED FOR!!!
Thank you for your support,