Words to Die By – Eli Evans

When the murderer thinks of all the murderers who managed to achieve more than he could in the grisly craft to which he dedicated himself until the bitter end with passion and singlemindedness – the ones who murdered more, or more creatively, or more notoriously, the dissectors and cannibals (blech, but in the mode of Kafka’s “Hunger Artist,” if he’d ever met a dead body that had appealed to him he would not have hesitated to gobble it up right then and there) and skin-suit tailors, those who scattered corpses like salt across vast geographical territories and those who murdered unexceptionally and infrequently but made legends of themselves nonetheless by depositing clever calling cards beside their victims’ cold cadavers or sending ominous looking messages in cipher to local television news stations – he thinks that probably he should just go ahead and kill himself, so worthless has he turned out to have been. But then he reminds himself that just as there are murderers to whom he compares himself unfavorably, there are murderers who compare themselves unfavorably to him (or would, in any event, if only they knew who he was), and even murderers to whom the murderers to whom he compares himself unfavorably unfavorably compare themselves, all of them toiling away while the vast majority of people who aren’t murderers or students of murder or both (that is to say, the vast majority of people) don’t even know the difference between, say, a narcissistic murderer and a sadistic murderer, no less a major murderer (such as he aspired to be) and a minor one (such as he has ended up having been); that when you give yourself over to a certain way of thinking, nothing will ever be enough, and if instead of being executed in the morning (whether by hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection his lawyer either does not know or is pretending not to know in order not to have to tell him) he were to live long enough to see his young son suffer feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy similar to those he is suffering now, what he would therefore say to him is: Our time on this earth is short. Find what you love, do it with all your heart, and let the chips fall where they may.