So why is Vadney contemplating suicide? Well, I know it’s hard, but let’s try to imagine ourselves in his position. This is my (imaginative) take on it:
Would you buy this used man?
You are 57 years old. You have been trying to make a career as a freelance translator for over 25 years now, and still you can’t make a go of it. Your business is derisory. Others, in far less time, have built up successful careers, but you can’t do it. You are coming to realize that you are too old to start again. Until a few months ago, you had a job-search website up, but after over five years, it became just too humiliating, and you had to take it down. Now your opponents, who have access to archived copies, are making fun of you over it.
Your lover, Edward, is 14 years your junior. When you met him, you were broke. When he gets sick of supporting you and kicks you out, you will be broke again. Naked came I, as the Good Book says. For a while it was rather neat that a younger, wealthier man supported you. In a way it proved you were desirable—to someone at least. But now you worry about being old and ugly. You know that dyeing your hair a lurid shade of orange can only cover for so much. You know that your days of living in comfort as his parasite are numbered.
You know, too, that, when the time comes, and your toyboy has had enough of you, you will be very hard-pressed to find a replacement. As you so aptly put it, “Middle-aged men with low self-esteem and zero self-respect are not exactly A-list company.” You really don’t like yourself. If you were happy with what you are, you wouldn’t dress up in a lab-coat with “Dr H. W. Vadney” printed on it. Not for a portrait; not even to do the gardening. It might not have made you a better person, but it fooled some people and gave you an illusory feeling of respect—not self-respect, maybe, but respect from others. Now that you have been exposed for what you are—a fraud—you must know that people laugh at you behind your back about that famous lab-coat.
In fact, there is nobody you encounter, either in your so-called professional life or in your neighbourhood, who you can’t be sure isn’t secretly laughing at you. You have been caught lying about your credentials, and it has been in the press, and it has been mentioned on professional websites. You have nowhere to hide.
Reality is closing in on you. For years—decades—people believed you were a doctor or a clinical scientist, or they politely pretended to. But now the secret is out: you have only a lousy BA, and you made a mess of your MA. You had so much trouble coping with that failure that, even nearly 30 years later, you were still pretending to have passed your MA. Until you were exposed as a liar. The whole house of cards has come crashing down around you.
You continually lose court cases; you must realize that you can be stung for costs, and then your only way out—apart from suicide—will be to go bankrupt or to go cap in hand to your young lover, who sooner or later must tire of your demands for money. You can’t accept that the fantasy persona you created for yourself is a lie; so you relentlessly harass and pursue anyone who challenges or threatens it. But somehow you know too that you have been caught out: the game is up, and you will never again be taken seriously. Your claims to be a doctor and a clinical scientist, instead of winning you respect, have made you ridiculous, despised, a laughing-stock. It is too late to recover your self-esteem and relaunch yourself: you are too old and you have no independent means. You can’t even earn a living.
You know too that some of the things you have been exposed for are serious crimes: fraud, perjury.... Even your current obsessive hate-blogging could get you prosecuted for harassment, but you just can’t stop. You could land in prison. With your fake upper-class mannerisms, your puffery and your holier-than-thou attitude, you will be despised and detested, both by the other criminals and by the prison guards. Your two absurd and pathetic attempts to become a judge will not sit well in your new environment either. Your life in prison will be hell.
You? A judge? Some hope! With 17 votes, it looks like not even all your family voted for you. You should be grateful: a judge in prison would have an even worse time of it than you’ve booked yourself in for.
You skulk around the house in your dressing gown, behind closed shutters and boarded-up windows, peering out at the world, at the people who, unlike you, have a life, wondering whether they are talking or thinking about you. Pathetic. You Google your own name obsessively to find out what people think of you. You have next to no work; you are afraid to show your face for fear of ridicule, or just for fear that people will realize you have nothing better to do than wander around. Your future as a homeless and despised old jailbird (if you survive to be let out), unattractive, unloved, unwanted, living on the street, is too horrible to contemplate. How sad.
No wonder you want to kill yourself.
But don’t worry: he won’t do it. He hasn’t got the guts.
PS: If anyone is wondering what happened to the entry on the distinction between onanism and masturbation, two topics dear to Mr Vadney’s heart (see his blog entries from December 2007 for multiple references thereto), stop worrying! I posted it to this blog by mistake: it was intended for the companion blog, Biblical quotations for the Vadney, and that’s where you’ll find it now. Although that blog is primarily intended for his spiritual guidance, that particular entry is more for his general education, which is sadly lacking. However, I included it there because it rests on a Biblical quotation which is commonly misunderstood.
PPS: I’m still in Annemasse. My precise geographical coördinates, to two decimal places, are on my ProZ.com profile. I can’t be bothered copying them here.