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By Pat Lisi
 
Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…that suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it’s too late, and…

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I’m beat
and to another give my seat
for that’s the only painless feat.

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you please.

 
I’ve seen every episode of MASH.  It started for me when I watched the original movie.  After that it was almost nightly, and the drunker I was the better.  At 10:30 sharp I’d plop myself down in my easy chair in the family room and watch MASH.  It always opened with the theme song, “Suicide is Painless.”  The tune embedded itself in my altered mind and I knew the words by heart.  As the music started, two Korean vintage helicopters entered the scene over the mountains.  Medics and doctors would rush to the LZ and take wounded GIs away on canvas litters to the makeshift ER.  The words to the song held me completely spellbound to the screen.  And, to the notion that maybe suicide was indeed a way to ‘bring on many changes’.
 
My God I was miserable, going nowhere, being no one.  I was like the Beattles’ “Nowhere Man”.  I knew it wasn’t healthy to keep driving those words into my head but I craved it, like a sick drug addict I NEEDED to hear that song and then watch the show.  It made so much sense.  It was who I was and I related to the action.  Not that I worked at a MASH unit, by the way.  I was a grunt and I spent as little time as I possibly could from the aid station in our combat ‘rear’.  No, it was the haunting words to that song that kept me alive every night at 10:30.  For the longer I listened to it and repeated the words, the more I knew that suicide was NOT an option for me.  It would bring on many changes alright, changes that I didn’t have the heart or the guts to make. 
 
I still watch MASH on occasion and I listen to the music and I remember the words.  It reminds me of how senseless the business of war really is, and it makes me feel good to be alive. 
 
 

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