FANNY: I click. There’s a brief pause before the home page climbs, stuttering, into the screen. It looks just like it did six months ago. It would. With one exception, its not been touched since then. It actually feels neglected. Lonely. If that’s possible for a website. Like its haunted, like there are electronic cobwebs in there. I click some of the dust away.
The site, ‘What-Goes-Up dot com,’ was at heart a comical collection of bizarre accidents, a little bit like ‘You’ve Been Framed’ on the telly but not so tasteful and without the fluffy animals, apart from one clip, featuring a puppy and a lawn-mower. ‘A celebration of the spectacularly stupid,’ its owner and creator Max Wormwood had once called it.
One character that ably satisfied both these criteria and who dropped in on the site with frightening regularity, was Osgood Hardbach. Its hard to know, really, how best to describe Osgood. His daughter Tory doesn’t do a bad job.
TORY: Dad has attempted suicide forty-five times. Its an official world record. The TV show ‘Never Mind the Buzz-Saws’ have named an award in honour of him – for ‘persistence in the face of overwhelming stupidity.’ There are three different websites devoted to him, he’s got two fan-clubs and is the inspiration behind a sick computer game. There was even talk of a movie.
It started when he was eight, when he jumped off the garage roof. And, as a child, if he wasn’t trying to swallow stuff from under the sink, he’d be throwing himself off it or trying to drown himself in it. I don’t think he was very happy.
He’s tried fourteen times in public, seven have been videoed. He’s been on the news over twenty times. Two attempts are records in their own right and there have been three copycat deaths attributed to his infame.
He’s only tried to kill himself in front of me twice. Once, he got me to hold the camera while he slit open his throat. They didn’t name any awards for that. I was six. Or discuss making a movie. I was all alone in the house and he just lay there gurgling, and I didn’t even know how to turn the video camera off. That was attempt number twenty, it cost him eighteen months in the loony-bin. It was my worst birthday ever.
an excerpt from my first radio play. the whole thing can be heard here.