I attempted suicide in 1965. I wasn’t very good at it.For one, while I have since learned that the lethal dose of regular 75 mg aspirins lies on the far side of 500 tablets, I attempted my lethal feat with 121 of the little darlings (yes, I kept a tally).For two, I did lose my nerve late that fatal afternoon, and alerted my dad to my Bayeresque overindulgence.This is not to say that this was not an interesting exercise, it was. I was sincere in my banging on that dark and final door—truly expecting it to open—having no clue that it would take at least four times as many of these small, white, bitter tablets to even begin to pry it open. I’ve since learned that people have even survived a thousand or two of them, when treated swiftly and correctly—but who on earth would have the time, or patience, to pop two thousand aspirin? I mean, by the time you’re done with the second thousand the first will have worn off: do you see my problem?Yes, that one: aspirin is definitely the wrong suicide medium.Be that, however, as it may: blissfully ignorant that my undertaking (yes, pun intended) would only lead to a few months of ringing ears, as I rounded the even century of these bitter pills, I was certain I’d face Mr. Reaper in short, and relatively painless, order.Why did I do it?Why, to get even, of course. And to place the blame for his son’s premature demise squarely on my dad’s guilty shoulders.Were there other reasons?Well, if truth be told, I was also a little curious.:Pill #1 minus 14 hours:I had recently dropped out of school. The schooling I had so abruptly abandoned was the first year of what we then, in Sweden, called Technical Gymnasium. But here’s the conundrum: since I had had among the highest acceptance grades that particular school had ever seen: what on earth happened?And here’s the answer: girls, that’s what happened. Girls and alcohol, that’s what happened. Never a good mix, especially not at that age.And math, that’s what happened. The math I was so brilliant at in 9th grade and so effortlessly earned the highest possible grade in (capital A, we called it in Sweden) had turned infernally hard in the 10th.Incredibly hard.So hard, in fact, that some of the first words out our math teacher’s mouth that first day of the fall semester were, “You had better eat well, because you are not going to sleep much.” Translation: nothing less than long, sleepless nights over books and books of trigonometry, integral calculus, et al. would earn you a passing grade.Unfortunately for me, that summer someone had apparently translated all these books from math to Greek, for that’s all they were to me.Well, I ate okay, and I didn’t sleep much (I got that part right), but what kept me and the Sandman at odds most nights was not piles and piles of math homework, but girls. Girls and alcohol. Nary a math book in sight. Inevitable result: I flunked my first math test. The math star of the class flunked his first math test. That was truly embarrassing.By snowy February truth was writ large on the proverbial blackboard: I was failing, and failing badly.Onto plan B: Drop out, start from scratch next fall (with less girl and alcohol distractions). The problem here was that I never let my parents in on plan B, not even after I had implemented it.However, five days into this well-conceived and up to this point splendidly executed plan, the school tattled on me and fatherhood was not amused.Motherhood was a bit down about it as well, but supportive in a way.