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V.23 No.11 | 3/13/2014
A semicolon on Sara Saucedo
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Arts Feature

Resisting Suicide; Using Semicolons

How the right punctuation could save lives

By Mike Smith
Don’t put a period on the end of your life, says the Semicolon Tattoo Project, now in its second year of encouraging public conversations about suicide and self-harm.
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V.21 No.48 |

news

The Daily Word in fat stacks, emo countries and Roasted Turkey Doritos

By Marisa Demarco [ Thu Nov 29 2012 9:02 AM ]
The Daily Word

Someone in Arizona and someone in Missouri bought the winning tickets for the $587.5 million jackpot.

Ask two people in New Mexico to spot you some cash because this morning, they're millionaires.

Feds to probe the culture of APD.

Prompted by religion, a ENMU graduate returned toilet paper he stole from the school years ago.

The world's most emo countries, color-coded.

On Monday, there was no no violent crime in NYC. That anyone knows of.

And fast-food workers there go on strike.

The immortal jellyfish ages backward.

People in India arrested for political Facebook posts.

AP Style Guidethe rulebook for most mediabans the use of "homophobia" in favor of something "more neutral" ... ?

Holiday flavorcountry: Roasted Turkey Doritos.

Down in the dumps? There's a good chance you're going to spend your money foolishly. (Plus: Studies making fun of your spending habits a surefire cure for depression.)

Pro wrestler wants his Romney tattoo erased from his face.

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V.21 No.41 | 10/11/2012

news

The Daily Word in missiles, meth and mind reading.

By Nick Brown [ Tue Oct 9 2012 10:06 AM ]
The Daily Word

There are 350 million depressed people.

North Korea says its missiles can hit the US mainland.

A 132 year old woman died.

Fart teasing led to murder.

When was the last time you played with your sound effect buttons?

Here's a bird falling into a chocolate fountain.

Look at this optical illusion and shake your head side to side. It looks kind of like there's a person there.

Try this creepy mind reader!

Who is Benjamin Kyle?

The Amityville house is back on the market.

A man died in a deadly bug eating contest.

He is actually Luke's father.

The super-sonic skydive is on hold. But might happen … I don’t know.

The cops caught a guy with three pounds of meth.

Happy birthday John Entwistle.

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V.18 No.52 |
Lee and Antigone
Marisa Demarco
Lee and Antigone

An 1,800-Mile Plus Bike Ride

By Marisa Demarco [ Wed Dec 30 2009 4:31 PM ]

Everyone told Marshall Wayne Lee that Texas would be flat. "It is NOT flat," he says.

Lee should know. He just rode his bicycle through there with a basset hound named Antigone strapped into a child's trailer. They left on Oct. 3 from Chicago. and they're heading to the West Coast.

Lee, a veteran who was deployed to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, sold all his belongings this year except for what could fit in a small storage shed. He jokingly refers to the small bike cart as "the U-Haul." He's looking for a job and a new home. They were supposed to be done with their ride by now1,800 miles along Route 66. But he's taken many diversions to visit friends and family, and he's got quite a ways to go.

Antigone
Marisa Demarco
Antigone

He felt trapped in Chicago, working a dead-end job as an assistant office manager at a medical supply company. The same day he was laid off, someone gave him the bike as a gift. Lee's not an avid cyclist, or rather, he wasn't before he began his long journey.

There were dark days in Chicago, when Lee was out of work and suicidal. He'd lost his job, and though he'd sent out 150 résumés, he didn't get a single call back over the course of 10 months. The depression set in, and it was hard to get out of bed, he says. He started to make a plan to end his life. But the nagging questions always went something like this: If I hang myself, how long will it be before someone finds Antigone? What will happen to her?

Without an answer, he says, he was eventually able to pull himself from the grip of depression. He worked on healing himself, and later participated in the Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18-mile foot trek from dusk until dawn put together by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The walk helped his recovery. "It brought me back to the world."

Marisa Demarco

The ride, too, is connecting him to life again, he says. "It feels great. I was starting to get sad that I wasn't going to be anywhere for Christmas, but then I compared it to life in Chicago," he says. The bills are still there, and he still doesn't have a job. But he's not sitting at home fruitlessly sending out five résumés per day. "When I'm out on the bike, my thoughts go all over. I think about my life and what I want it to be like. I think about my writing. And I look over my shoulder and Antigone's back there, hanging out."

It's triumphant, he says; the ride gives him the sense that he's really doing something and getting his life back together.

As they travel, the duo is bringing awareness to two causes. Basset hound rescue and foster care, is, of course, Antigone's message. She was adopted from the Guardian Angel Basset Rescue, which pulled her out of a puppy mill at about 2 or 3 years old. Her teeth are so messed up, Lee says, it's hard to discern her age. While in the state, she's pointing her spotlight at the Basset Hound Rescue of New Mexico, which is in need of foster families. (Antigone even has her own blog.)

Lee, meanwhile, is trying to bring awareness to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and, locally, the Agora Crisis Center.
Along the way, Lee's met a number of good people, friendly people, particularly in Oklahoma and West Texas. And he learned a thing or two about the meaning of "hill country." He tries to ride 50 miles a day, stopping in cities as he goes. He's gained 10 pounds, he says, but his pants don't fit any differently, so he's hoping it's muscle. "The effect on my emotional health is the most dramatic," he says.

There are a lot of people in America who are probably out of work and struggling with depression, Lee acknowledges. And though he's not a psychologist, he recommends simply getting out of bed as a way to combat it. "Do something every day," he says. "Clean the house. Take a shower. Volunteer somewhere." And be honest with yourself about what you're feeling.

He's got some stats to reel off: Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. It's the third leading cause of death among teenagers, and the third for people aged 18-65. Lee fears we will see a rise in suicide rates during the economic decline, but says we won't know for a few years, because the statistics take time to compile.

In spite of the hills, the rain, the coldthe lack of Starbucks between Robert Lee, Texas, and Roswell, N.M.,Lee says he knows he's accomplishing something. "I feel like a contributor, instead of just a taker."

If you are in crisis, call the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255 or, locally, Agora at 277-3013

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