The Most Notable Thing About Tuesday’s Attempted Suicide

I planned to leave work early on Tuesday, but a last-minute meeting held me up.   If I left early as planned, I very well may have been on the train that struck a pedestrian and caused this:

Clarendon metro station in Arlington Virginia on Tues 12 OCT 2011

Apparently, the man that was hit by the train jumped onto the tracks to commit suicide. I was trying to get into the city to meet up with Antonie and Scott Dworkin for a lecture.   It was chaotic.  The metro was shut down, people were swarming all over the place, confused and stressed out.  The cabbies and buses were inundated.   An angry man in a suit shouted terrible obscenities to a bus driver for no apparent reason.

I’ve never seen Arlington like it before.   Antonie and I found each other and tried to figure out how to cross the river and meet Scott.  The cab stands were packed, so we called the cab companies.   They said it was a 30-minute wait.

Thankfully, everything ended up working out for us.   But I couldn’t help thinking about how unhealthy the person must have been that tried to kill himself by jumping in front of the train.   I wondered what his life must have been like to do that, and why he would choose such a terrible way to go.   I thought about how reliant we all are on the normal (relatively) smooth functioning of our transportation systems.

I was struck by the disruption this one man caused so many people throughout the city, and wondered if anyone else was hurt in the process.

As it turns out, other people where injured.  But never once did it cross my mind that the injuries would happen because of this:

EMTS responded to Rosslyn, where several passengers complained of fatigue-related injuries after having to climb up broken escalator stairs.

A local news outlet wrote that “several more medical calls” came in after “passengers were forced to climb up broken Rosslyn Station escalators” to exit the metro.  Imagine how unhealthy these people are:  a simple walk up the stairs results in the need for medical attention!

Granted, there may have been a couple of very old people commuting at that time, but as a regular metro rider I find it unlikely that these trains were packed with Octogenarians.   More plausible, some of the medical calls came from what Erwan LeCorre refers to as Zoo Humans:

Increasingly disconnected from the natural world and their true nature, zoo humans are suffering physically, mentally and spiritually.  Are you experiencing chronic pains, are you overweight, do you often feel depressed or do you suffer from frequent illnesses and general lack of vitality?

As Robb Wolf points out in his observation game, we have become sick as a people.  While this state is now all-too-common, it’s definitely not normal.

Modern technologies provide us with unprecedented living standards.   We should be deeply grateful to live in such a world.   But that doesn’t mean we should come to rely on technologies so much that we deteriorate to the point where a simple walk up a flight of stairs becomes near impossible.

Antonie and I were out in West Virginia climbing recently and we came across a 91-year-old woman named Shirley Yokum.   She was bright as can be, happy and healthy.   She chatted with us and walked around just fine.  For her 90th birthday she hiked over 40 miles through Italy.

When I get old, I sure hope I’m as healthy and happy as Shirley Yokum.   And I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that I never become a Zoo Human.

Shirley and Carl Yokum, owners of Yokum’s Vacationland at Seneca Rocks



About Bob Ewing

On twitter @DCBarefootRun. Media guy for libertarian law firm by day, primal/paleo (rocking climbing, BJJ, barefooter) by, well, lunchtime...
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2 Responses to The Most Notable Thing About Tuesday’s Attempted Suicide

  1. Joe T says:

    Very thoughtful post, Bob. I was more or less a zoo human for the first 23+ years of my life and thought it was just my fate. The incident you witnessed and people like Shirley are excellent reminders of the importance of health and happiness.

  2. Pingback: My primal weekend | The Primal Challenge

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