Suicide Letter Full Of Simpsons References

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Vol 40 Issue 23

Boss' Threats Hilarious

KNOXVILLE, TN—Employees working under Champion Direct Marketing manager Dale Farner found his threats during a Monday meeting hysterical, sources told reporters. "If you like your job here, you'll start to shape up," Farner said, reprimanding a group of his underlings working in CDM's basement offices. "You think your jobs are guaranteed? Think again. I can replace any one of you, just like that. There are plenty of folks out there who would take pride in telephone sales." The employees, most of whom will quit before the end of summer, broke into giggles when Farner threatened to cancel the staff summer picnic.

Leno's Voicemail Message Pauses For Laughter

LOS ANGELES—Tonight Show host Jay Leno's home outgoing voicemail message stops briefly to allow for audience laughter, sources reported Monday. "You have reached the home of Mavis and Jay Leno, and if you don't know what to do by now, then you've got bigger problems than Martha Stewart,'" said Leno's recording, followed by a five-second silence. "But seriously, callers, at the beep, leave a message." After a short pause, Leno's message concluded, "Am I right?"

Congress Launches National Congress-Awareness Week

WASHINGTON, DC—Hoping to counter ignorance of the national legislative body among U.S. citizens, congressional leaders named the first week in August National Congress Awareness Week. "This special week is designed to call attention to America's very important federal lawmaking body," Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert said. "At least three citizens in every state, and as many as 55 in California, presently have some form of congressional duty, whether it's as a senator or as a representative." The festivities will kick off with a 10-mile Walk for Congress Awareness, when blue ribbons will be handed out in honor of those who served in the first 107 congresses.

Reagan To Be Honored With $5,000-A-Head Funeral

WASHINGTON, DC—Former President Ronald Reagan will be honored with five days of memorial services, culminating in a $5,000 a head funeral in Washington's National Cathedral Friday, Paul Darlington, a spokesman for the Bush re-election campaign, said Monday. "At 5:15 p.m. EST, former President Reagan will be escorted from the U.S. Capitol and received with ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral, where a dinner of baby arugula, roast beef, and herbed red potatoes will commence," Darlington said. "As Reagan lies in repose, a host of leading Republican party members will be available for photo opportunities. President Bush, who will deliver a eulogy at the close of the solemn gathering, is urging all Americans to dig deep into their hearts to honor this great leader." Several thousand people are expected to pay their respects.

Guys' Night Out To Include Several Key Non-Guys

COLUMBUS, OH—Though buddies Jim Foglia, Chuck Harvestine, and Russell Vento insisted that Thursday will be a "guys night out," certain key non-guys are likely to be in attendance, sources reported Tuesday. "Honey, we're just going to be drinking beer and talking about the Reds—nothing you'd be interested in," Foglia told his wife Emily, withholding information regarding specific plans to begin the night buying drinks for college girls at the Varsity Club. "Maybe we'll stop for burgers afterward, I don't know." Based on previous "guys' nights," the trio will more likely end the night in the company of non-male lap dancers at the Vroom Vroom Room.

Jim Anchower's All About Living Life To The Fullest

Hola, amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I been spending a lotta time quietly reflecting on all the things going on in my life. First off, I got shitcanned from my job driving people from the airport to the car-rental place and back. I was on lunch break one day when the guy who was filling in for me dinged a car in the parking lot and didn't tell anyone. The manager thought I did it, so when I checked the bus in for the night, he fired me on the spot, without even checking out my story. Man, that hurt. I was seventh in line for a promotion.

Tenet's Resignation

CIA Director George Tenet resigned last week, claiming that the decision was "personal" and unconnected to recent controversies. What do you think?
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Suicide Letter Full Of Simpsons References

STORRS, CT—University of Connecticut sophomore Aaron Bennett, 20, was found dead of an apparent sleeping-pill overdose in his campus-area apartment Saturday, a suicide note riddled with references to the popular TV show The Simpsons on his desk.

Bennett appears happy in a March photo taken in his bedroom.

"Outwardly, Aaron seemed like a gentle, quiet, stable person," dean of students Kathleen Ernst said Monday. "But clearly, he must have had a darker, troubled side that he kept hidden. The only thing we can be certain of is that, to the very end, he really knew his Simpsons."

Friends and family are struggling to comprehend the dean's-list chemistry major's motivation for taking his own life, as outlined in the three-page suicide letter.

"When death comes so suddenly, it can seem incomprehensible," Ernst said. "It certainly doesn't help matters that Aaron's note begins, 'No banging your head on the display case, please. It contains a very rare Mary Worth in which she has advised a friend to commit suicide.' How do you even begin to explain something like that to his parents?"

Bennett's cousin, Tracy Hogg, said she did not know that the young man was despondent, but did know that he was a big Simpsons fan.

"Aaron had loved The Simpsons since he was little," Hogg said. "He found so much joy in the show. He had nearly every episode memorized word-for-word. You'd think there'd be no reason for someone like him to take his own life."

The three-page note, headed with the inscription "Dumb Things I Gotta Do Today," includes references to plotlines from dozens of the more than 300 episodes of the animated series. Bennett quotes Simpsons mainstays like Bart Simpson and Ned Flanders, as well as relatively obscure characters, such as Lyle Lanley, Disco Stu, and Very Tall Man.

"Today, part four of our series on the agonizing pain in which I live every day," Bennett's note read. "Or should I say part 400? Not even drinking age yet and I'm tired, people. For me, life is like an escalator to nowhere. Well, this is where I jump off."

Storrs Police Department detective Roger Mann said the note is so dense with references that the investigators, most of them only casually acquainted with the show, have had difficulty distinguishing Bennett's original thoughts from the many Simpsons-derived expressions.

"It will take some time to fully understand Aaron's letter," Mann said. "For example, he talks about banishing himself to the land of wind and ghosts, a remark that struck me as particularly haunting and despairing. But later, someone told me the line comes from a Simpsons lampoon of a Japanese TV commercial."

Some of the quotes in the letter contain no clear allusion to Bennett's impending death or despondency.

"On page three, the letter says, 'Can you open my milk, Mommy?'—a line with no apparent suicidal meaning," Mann said. "But then, you don't know. When he quoted Simpsons character Ralph Wiggum, Aaron might have been lamenting his lack of independence or pining for his lost childhood. But I'm willing to bet that he just thought that line was funny."

Continued Mann: "I believe this may also be the case with 'Diagnosis: delicious.'"

A police photo shows Bennett's suicide letter, exactly as found on top of his desk.

Magnus Whittaker, Bennett's friend since junior high and a fellow Simpsons enthusiast, said he corresponded with Bennett regularly until about four months ago, when Bennett mysteriously stopped e-mailing him. Whittaker described his friend as a kind but withdrawn young man whose favorite mode of communication was the quoting of Simpsons lines.

Whittaker said that, in in a phone conversation weeks prior to his death, Bennett was unusually candid about his unhappiness.

"Aaron likened himself to Frank Grimes," Whittaker said, referring to the hard-working Springfield Nuclear Power Plant employee. "He resented that no one paid attention to him, and he complained that no one seemed to appreciate his hard work. Once, when we were IM-ing each other, he said he sometimes wished he would electrocute himself, like Frank Grimes did. I was like, 'Holy flurking schnit.'"

In spite of the warning, Whittaker said he was shocked when Bennett took his own life.

"I am absolutely stunned Aaron was capable of killing himself," Whittaker said. "I was even more bowled over by his note. I mean, that 'I ate too much plastic candy' line was so cool. I actually had to look that one up."

As those who knew Bennett continue to decipher his final thoughts, Ernst urged any students who might feel depressed to seek treatment.

"You may feel unloved, misunderstood, or stressed, but all people experience those feelings at one time or another," Ernst said. "I want everyone to know that help is available from a variety of sources, on and off campus. It's so tragic to see someone so young give up and say, 'Oh, I've wasted my life.' It's just such a shame that Aaron felt his was the worst existence—ever."

"Jeez, now I'm doing it," Ernst added.

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