It is always the most depressing time of the year, this month going into February. Last summer is long gone, next summer's never coming and the country is lined with slush. Here's my seasonally adjusted therapy, my deep-winter cheer-up trick: thinking about suicide.
As Nietzsche said, it helps you though the night. And the fact is, you never know when a clever exit might be needed, especially as time goes on. Be prepared!
When young, the plan was a young man's plan: to dive off Nelson's Column during the rush hour. Ah, what it was to be a teenager! A big dive with everyone watching. Think how sorry they'd all be then. But it wasn't realistic, was it? Getting up there was harder than getting down. It was frightening – the falling, and the possibility of changing your mind halfway down.
More and more it's become important not to be aware of the distinguished moment. As you get older there are fewer and fewer things you want to look at with the unflinching eye of youth. But paradoxically, exhibitionism also has its place. An audience takes the edge off the loneliness. In this isolating moment, you need company. So, no pain, no falling, no violence, but let's have enough stage management to bolster our reputation after the event (it will be the one thing people remember about us).
So, the Viking funeral. That is, on a longboat, pulling out of Nice harbour (the audiences are better in the home of existentialism). You have a massive overdose on board and a fire starting in the hold, the boat sails towards the setting sun and after you lose consciousness, it sinks.
But as you are realists you've already decided this has too many problems. The steering of the ship. The pace of the fire. The French coastguards. There is a danger of resuscitation. Apparently, 16 per cent of physician-supervised terminations don't go according to plan, let alone these Busby Berkeley productions.
The same goes for taking a little plane up and putting it on autopilot while your overdose takes hold. You do have to learn to fly enough to take off and aim out to sea. And though it does appear to have more certainty than the Viking longboat, there are still problems of execution. Do the sleeping pills work? If you've been drinking, does the liquor make you throw up the drugs? Those cockpits are very confined and you don't want to be retching. And they are fanciful, truth be told.
The solution lies with a psychiatrist friend of mine: he told me about the preferred method of older people. It's a little banal, but it's comfortable, and clean.
I was going to tell you what it was but I've suddenly had second thoughts. It's such a deft way of doing it you might do it yourself, and think of the example you'd be setting.
Anyway, now the sun has come out with a dazzling display, and the travel supplements are spilling out of the weekend press, and a perfectly good alternative to eternal death is to book a week in Ibiza.