CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — There is that lasting image of Dick Trickle in the Winston 500 lighting up a cigarette while driving his stock car with his knees during a caution lap. He places the cigarette through a hole he carved in his helmet for a quick toke and exhales. The green flag hits and out the window goes the cigarette butt and back to racing goes Trickle. ``Dick always had a cigarette lighter in his car,'' said fellow NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine.
Trickle was a unique driver with a unique name who found cult-like status before his death Thursday.
Trickle, whose larger-than-life personality and penchant for fun won him legions of fans despite a lack of success beyond the nation's small tracks, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said. He was 71.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said authorities received a call believed to be from Trickle, who said ``there would be a dead body and it would be his.'' Authorities tried to call the number back, but no one answered.
Trickle's body was found near his pickup truck at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, N.C., about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte. Sheriff's Lieutenant Tim Johnson said foul play was not suspected.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I hate suicides!
Not just the act: the people who commit it.
Suicide is the most selfish, uncaring act one person can commit. It goes directly against the people who care about the person. In a way, it's worst than rape, treason, murder --- because the suicide cannot be punished more than he punishes himself .. and his victims.
Suicide. "Self Murder", to be precise, supposes that the suicide is the only victim. That's not true. Anyone who cared, even tangentially, is affected. I've known people who killed themselves, and I've see the effect on family and friends, and friends of family, and families of friends ... oh, it's too much like the "six degrees of separation" to define.
I do understand that sometimes a suicide is a person who has learned that they have contracted an inoperable disease leading to a painful and ignominious end. I get that. And I also know what it's like to watch a loved one die slowly; that person, at the end, has nothing left at all, not even dignity.
Nothing, except integrity.
The family understands, the family eventually accepts, and the family has this last slender thread to help them eventually accept: "He went down fighting, right to the end." Or "... he never gave up." Or "... anyone can live, anyone can die when it's easy; he showed us what courage is all about".
I had an uncle, the meanest man in the world, who never gave a damn for anyone else. He was a bully, a brute, an abusive husband and father. A drunkard, a liar, and a cheat. He would say anything to anyone, and laugh loudest when his crude remarks hurt his victim the most.
But when he was diagnosed with Cancer, he went through the thirty months without a complain. No, he was not cheerful; he was no less abusive, or unkind, or cruel. But he never whined. He could have ended his life easily, but he refused to take the "easy out".
I won't call him a man, but I will give him credit for having the backbone to die as he lived; he fought often, he didn't win all or even most of his fights, but he never gave up.
I watched my father die. I watched my lover die. Often confused, usually in pain, and it hurt like hell when they died. We all, family and friends, breathed a private sigh when they finally died. Nobody said anything of the sort, but we knew that it was a blessing that they didn't have to suffer any more.
And we had respect for them. Our love for them remains untarnished by any last minute of ignominy.
You can live a life of perfect harmony, and blow it in the last second.
I'm no a Catholic, and I do not agree with many of the tenets of that religion. But I understand that the Catholic church does not countenance suicide, to the point that they will not allow a suicide to be buried on sacred ground. I think I understand that. (Am I wrong? Has the Catholic church changed its policy? If so, I think it was/would have been a wrong move. Suicide is Murder.)
There's also another version of "suicide". When, for example, a soldier gives up his life to save his companions. (I said it was complicated!) Selfless actions may be 'suicidal', but noble at the same time. We all recognize this, and know the difference.
One is noble, one is craven. Even a suicidal person knows the difference. The difference is in caring more for others than for oneself.
Animals don't suicide; they fight for life unto the very end Suicides are less than animals.