This is a rather morbid song that definitely sends the wrong message. Why am I sharing it?

A little over 50 years ago (by a few months), my son was born. As an infant, he had trouble sleeping. When he couldn’t sleep, the only thing that would calm him and put him back to sleep was me singing to him. So I’d pull out the guitar and start playing and singing. It worked every time. It also worked when our daughter was born and also with our granddaughter. That isn’t a brag, just a fact, and I’ve claimed that it was because I bored them to sleep.

One of the songs that was my son’s favorite was this one; Suicide Is Painless. It was the theme song for the movie and later the TV program M*A*S*H. I think it was the melody that lulled him to sleep.

To set the stage for those who never had the opportunity to watch the movie, the character decided to commit suicide because he had a date with a very attractive and willing woman but had an issue with what is now called Erectile Dysfunction. He decided that if he couldn’t make love, there was nothing to live for.

What he didn’t know is that the “black capsule” he takes was just to knock him out. The whole thing was staged by the people he worked with and who honestly cared about him. Thus, this scene. It is powerful and it highlights the words in the song, “I can take or leave it, if I please.” In other words, there is always a choice.


What do you think?


Written by Rex Trulove

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  1. How desperate should he feel a person if he wishes to commit suicide? Environmental indifference and reluctance to see others in pain also do not help to get out of this desperation. But yes, there is always a choice.

    • That is exactly the point. The segment was meant to show people how silly their reasons really are if they seriously consider suicide. In the next part of the segment, he wakes up, it is a beautiful day, and his ‘issue’ no longer exists.

    • That was definitely not the intent. Our daughter was suicidal and really the only thing we could continually tell her was that she was loved, but there was always a choice. That was shown in this scene. We can all only give that to other people, however, the choice they make is ultimately theirs.

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