I had graduated from Anderson College and was back home in Columbia. One Sunday afternoon, I got a call from my friend Jimmy. His speech was slurred. He told me that he just wanted to say goodbye. He had taken some pills and wanted to kill himself. Why? It was a bit unclear from his call, but it had something to do with the lack of friends. He and I had gotten close during our time at school and the theatre. He was planning to go with us to Europe in July. But now, he was taking a rather drastic step.
I knew about suicide attempts. I had tried too, but this time was different. Jimmy was ready to go, but I was not ready to have him go. I tried to get him to stay on the line as long as I could. He was drifting in and out. There were a lot of tears on both ends of the phone. After a while, he finally said that he was hanging up and going to sleep.
The line went dead. I immediately called a psychology professor from Anderson named Dr. Mandrell. This was before 911 was around. I told him what Jimmy had done and asked for his help. He called the ambulance, and it got to Jimmy's home in time. The doctors said that there were two things that saved Jimmy's life that day. The first was that he had eaten a big meal for lunch that Sunday, and the drugs took longer than usual to get into his bloodstream. The second was that Jimmy had called me.
He was not able to go to Europe with us. His mother took his place on the trip. Jimmy and I are still friends to this day. I am glad.