Foolia Sneers, special needs to the San Fran Cornycal
Rude Bluff, MX -- Speedy Gonzales zipped around this small cheese-producing town, wearing a stereotypical sombrero and wailing on two-faced cats that guarded the factories. He favoured cheesy quips and earned the title "The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico". He had a toothy smile.
He was also depressed and wanted to kill himself.
Unbeknownst to his friends and loved ones, the rodent logged onto an obscure Internet-type computer thingy commonly unknown as Usenet to confide his darkest thoughts.
There, Gonzales found people who actually listened to him. During the wee hours of the morning, Gonzales checked into a Tijuana motel where he lugged a large anvil atop the door frame, and then shoved open the door.
His cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, was notified of Speedy's death by a message Gonzales had delivered to his door 12.6 seconds earlier.
"I have been deepressed and suicidal for a long time," he wrote. "I know I should have told you, but then again, someone should have told me that mice don't even like cheese, we mainly eat bread or fruits. But cheese happens. No biggie. Death is just a part of life... the last part!"
Gonzales's death is one of a whole bucket-load of suicides that the Cornycal is attributing to the group but oh-so-conveniently not identifying. The group has stubbornly refused to disclose the identities, on the feeble grounds that they can't reveal something they never knew to begin with.
On a typical day, the group is filled with bad grammar and off-topic ramblings, but by ignoring all that and fixating upon trolls and turning off your sense of humor, you can find everything from homicidal taunts to secret plans for the global extermination of the entire human race.
The group defends itself by claiming that people should have the right to talk about their problems without being attacked or dismissed. But mental health experts vigorously pooh-pooh any idea that doesn't inflate their perceived importance to society, not to mention their funding.
When Pedro Gonzales, Speedy's father, speaks of the newsgroup, steam blows out his ears beneath his barely animated features. "He went into that group, and eet was like throwing a cat among the peegeons. I'm all for freee speeech, as long as eet doesn't involve my family. Someone should be held accountable, perhaps someone particularly close to heem, someone who might have been expected to play some sort of protective, sympathetic, paternal role."
Maria Gonzales maintains that if her son had just sucked it in for another fifty or sixty years, he would have learned that his life could have gotten much worse. "He may have thought he had heet rock bottom, but he didn't realize how much futher down he could have fallen. They never told heem that a few people manage to work through their own unique depression that was probably completely deeferent from hees. They never gave heem false hope." Instead, the hapless rodent stumbled upon a group of peers who insisted on taking his views and experiences seriously.
Gonzales posted many messages over a period of several months, indicating that he was not merely having a "bad day". "I've stopped taking my medication, so I no longer feel like a hollow zombie. The man-of-a- thousand-voices in my head, the overwhelming feelings of futility, the lactose-intolerant diarrhea... And that's just while I'm asleep! All the treatments only make things worse. So I am finally going to try a temporary solution to a permanent problem."
It took several attempts, but Gonzales used a trick suggested by other posters, clearly being far too thick to come up with such a dastardly scheme on his own. He posed as the rootingest-tootingest blacksmith this side of the Rio Grande to order an anvil from AOL (ACME OnLine, a subsidiary of Time/Warner Bros.).
"How was I supposed to know? What am I, a mind-reader? But I find the gravity of the situation very painful," claimed Head of Research & Development, W. E. Coyote in a signed note. "Ouch!"
Last December, Jolene Hodgepodge filed a wrongful death suit against a poster. She later dropped the case after realizing that it was, well, wrongful. "My daughter might still be alive and in terrible pain if she hadn't talked to that group. She also might still be alive if _I_ *had* talked to her. Or if the rainbow fairies who live in Mushroom land had magically made all her problems disappear. You just never know."
In May, two Englishmen, one of them Scottish, met through the newsgroup and formed a suicide pact. Flanders jumped over the White Cliffs of Dover, but Swan changed his mind at last minute, and related the story online. Buttinskis promptly arrested him for violating the country's Suicide Act.
"Wot kind of bleedin' nutter would want to talk about 'is feelings when we can just throw 'im in the clink?" asked P.C. Plod. When Swan failed to appear in court last month, police were utterly flabbergasted to discover that he had --gasp-- hung himself.
Before his death (what, you thought we meant *after*??), Gonzales spoke to a poster called D. Nile. But Nile did nothing to stop him. No banal lies about how "everything will just be all right", no kidnapping him and tying him up, no pharmaceutical frauds at disgusting prices.
"I just listened to him the way none of his so-called 'friends' apparently ever did," he wrote. Nile outright REFUSED, I mean can you believe it, he just WOULDN'T hand over all his personal info to us, despite the Cornycal's assurances that all we would do is demonize him in an article that completely failed to address his side of the issue.
Such newsgroups exist because "people want a place to talk where they can actually be taken seriously," said Laura Weisenheimer. "They bring all the risks and benefits that you find anywhere people are actually, uh, alive. Duh."
Had Gonzales been foolish enough to reveal his plans to a mental professional, oops, we mean a mental HEALTH professional, he could have been locked up against his will. "We don't care about our patients, not if we could take flack for it," confided Herbie Hoover, medical director of the American Foundation for Covering Our Asses.
Micky Failure, a psycho at the University of Chicago at Chicago, in Chicago, IL, made a wild and unsubstantiated guess that Gonzales's reluctance to kill himself *before* posting to the group just maybe might have been a ploy to get attention.
"I've never read any of the posts, but I make my living telling other people what they're thinking," boasted Failure, admitting that for his services [sic] he charges sick people far more than he needs to live comfortably. "The only reason this group exists is to kill people. They obviously don't realize that suicide is the last choice you'll ever make. They probably think the word means 'getting stoned' or something -- I mean, I did before I looked it up in the dictionary for this interview!"
Failure added, "Life isn't a game that can be played over again. Well, unless you're like a Buddhist or something crazy like that... but... well, who are you going to listen to, half the world's population, or Me?!?"
On a table in the chapel are dozens of pictured frames -- Gonzales ripping the fur off a cat's back as he zooms past; another where he is making his getaway with several wheels of stolen cheese; yet another where he is wallopping a feline with a large mallet.
Speedy's school teacher, Elmer Fudd, recalls meeting him for the first time. "Finawwy, a mouse who isn't afwaid to be diffewent," he thought. "I hope this teaches evewyone just how dangewous it is to think for youwself instead of mindwesswy following the herd -- don't be a mule, stay with the school! Eh-heheheh!"
Rodriguez, Gonzales's best friend, recounts, "I reemember all the fun times we had... speeding around town in the meedle of the night, burgling the cheese factories, tormenting los pussy gatos... I don't theenk Speedy understood that once he was gone, the rest of us could no longer selfishly depend on heem to provide our entertainment for us."
A maudlin slideshow of Speedy's life plays on a screen, to the strains of "Cheese Release Me" in the background. The attendees pitter-patter from the room as silent as mice.
There is nothing left -- no more pain, no more suffering, no more heartless deaf bastards who try to ram down your throat how good your life is after all despite never having lived your life for even one day. At last the speediest mouse in Mexico has a chance to rest.
[Ed. Note: the story you have just read is true. Only the names, facts, and figures have been changed to oversensationalize the issue and sell more copy.]--
"People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news." -- A. J. Liebling