The Suicide Helpline

“Good evening … Suicide Hotline. My name is Trish. How can I help you?” the chirpy female voice answered at the end of the line.

“Hi … I’m John …I-I …I’m feeling a little depressed.”

“That’s great, John. You’ve come to the right place. I’m here to help.”

<Long pause from the other end of the line>

“John? Are you still there?”

“Yes, sorry. I’ve never done this before … called, you know. What am I supposed to do? I think my girlfriend is cheating on me.”

“Well, there are many things you could try. Have you considered an overdose?”

“Pardon!”

“An overdose, you know. Neck a bottle of sleeping pills with a few big glugs of J.D. … Slip quietly off into oblivion. It’s far less messy than jumping under a train.”

“I thought you were here to help?”

“We are, John.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be talking me out of it?”

“Certainly not! You called the Suicide Helpline, not the bloody Samaritans. We’re here to help you get on with it and stop making everyone else’s life so miserable. Do the decent thing and get it over with. There really isn’t any point in prolonging their misery, is there?”

“But …”

A deep sigh from Trish’s side of the line. “Don’t tell me you’re one of those hoax callers. Look, why don’t you stop wasting my time and just get on with it, either that or hang up the phone. I’ve other callers waiting, you know: people with genuine needs … so what’s it going to be, bucko?”

“Look, I’m sorry … forget about it. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

Beeep … The line goes dead.

Trish’s supervisor unplugs her headset and smiles encouragement at their latest recruit. “That’s great work, Trish. I see that you used an unorthodox approach, but hey, you got the result we are looking for. A few pointers though before you take another call. Maybe you should stick to the script until you get the hang of it, and perhaps next time, you could try for a little more empathy? After all, this is a 1890 number so the longer they stay on the line the better it is for us.”

“Oh! Okay,” agreed Trish, “if you think that’ll help?”

“Oh, and don’t forget to mention our sponsors. It’s vital that you plug them at least twice in every call. After all, they paying your wages.”

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