Thursday, October 03, 2013

King Jeremy the Wicked

First of all I'd like to address my absence on this site. I promised a weekly post, yet my last post was 32 days ago. That's not being late, that's a hiatus. So, how did this situation come to be? Well, funnily enough I actually did post an article about this subject the day it was supposed to be posted, but I pulled it after I decided I wasn't at all happy with the tone of it. I deleted most of the text and started over. This time I would miss the Monday-deadline I set for myself over and over, spiraling down a vicious circle (yes, I do realize that's technically impossible, I'm trying to express myself here). But hey, I'm here now, so let's talk about Jeremy.

Jeremy Wade Delle

The backstory.
The song 'Jeremy' by Pearl Jam is about a boy who has to deal with a great deal of anxiety until he decides that it's not worth it and shoots himself in front of his classmates. It's an account of real life teenager Jeremy Wade Delle, who has shot himself in a Richardson High School at about 9:45 AM on the 8th of January, 1991.

Jeremy, fifteen or sixteen years old, was a shy boy, and was picked on because of it. He was very non-social and was described as 'real quiet' and a 'loner'. He did have one friend at school though: the sixteen year old Lisa Moore. They exchanged notes discussing general topics. Jeremy's later notes expressed curiosity after Lisa's then boyfriend and started talking about trouble he's been having with a teacher, signing all of his notes with 'Write back'. One January Monday however, he signed his note 'Later days'. The following Tuesday Jeremy was late, missing the first class. When he showed up in English class, the teacher told him to go get an admittance slip from the school office. He walked out and got a gun that he planted in advance, presumably in his locker. Upon his return, he walked directly to the front of the classroom and said “Miss, I got what I really went for” and pulled out the .357-caliber Magnum, placed it in his mouth and shot, without any hesitation. Just outside was sixteen year old Brian Jackson, trying to open his locker. He didn't think much of the bang. Could be a book slammed against a table, maybe the class was performing a play or something. But then a girl came running out of the classroom, screaming and crying, rapidly informing the small school that something had just gone horribly wrong. Frightened but curious Brian stepped inside where he saw Jeremy's body lying in his blood on the floor and the teacher standing against the wall, crying and shaking. The teacher resigned after the incident, a hole in the wall from the bullet is still visible today, being kept like that in Jeremy's honour.

Pearl Jam enters the story.
Pearl Jam was at the time still busy making their demo for what would eventually become 'Ten', but not now, as they where on tour (I'm having a hard time figuring out which one exactly. For example, the FiveHorizons Concert Chronology doesn't mention a concert around that time in that area. Nor does TwoFeetThick. The closest I could find is the 10/11/91 concert at the Vatican in Houston Texas (via FiveHorizons), but that's much too late since Pearl Jam already began recording Jeremy in March. Their famous tour opening for Alice in Chains seems to fill the right timesloth, but they didn't go anywhere near Texas). When in the area (during whatever tour), Eddie Vedder came across a copy of 'The Dallas Morning News' in which there was an article about Jeremy. In a 2009 interview with Seattle Sound Magazine, Vedder said that he felt "the need to take that small article and make something of it—to give that action, to give it reaction, to give it more importance."

Jeremy and you.
I think most people know a Jeremy. Do not approach him with clich├ęs about how wonderful life is, he has heard them all and he is not impressed. When Marilyn Manson was asked what he would say to Klebold and Harris of the Columbine murders, he replied: “I wouldn't say a single word to them, I would listen to what they have to say. And that's what no one did.” I think Manson is right on the money here, most Jeremies out there aren't looking for a psychiatrist, just being there listening will do. The worst thing you can do is trying to push whatever idea you've got to solve this, the best thing you can do is being there. Just listening. Stephen Fry has said: “If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” Like the weather, depression isn't something one could just walk off and forget about, it just there, whether you like it or not. There isn't a single solution because there isn't a single cause. And sometimes there's the need to curl up and take shelter for a while, that's okay. Invite your Jeremy to parties and be persuasive about it, but never force him to go anywhere. Sometimes he doesn't want to be around people and that should be respected too.

We unleashed a lion.
Eddie Vedder actually knew a Jeremy too, a kid named Brian committed a school shooting in his Junior High School, which is why he decided to sing the song in the perspective of one of Jeremy's classmates. He knew exactly what feelings come from knowing someone in your school did something like this, since he actually has first hand experience. In December '91 Vedder told KLOL FM: “I actually knew somebody in junior high school, in San Diego, California, that did the same thing, just about, didn't take his life but ended up shooting up an oceanography room. I remember being in the halls and hearing it and I had actually had altercations with this kid in the past. I was kind of a rebellious fifth-grader and I think we got in fights and stuff. So it's a bit about this kid named Jeremy and it's also a bit about a kid named Brian that I knew.”

This is it for now, but I will come back to revise this article since I'm still not happy with it. I will focus on something else for now, maybe clarity comes later, when I've gotten the change to clear my mind.

The actual newspaper article as read on
Marilyn Manson quote: Bowling for Columbine.
Stephen Fry quote: Secret Life of the Manic Depressive.
Eddie Vedder Quote about shooting at his school: KLOL FM
Eddie Vedder Quote 'Action, reaction, importance': Seattle Sound Magazine, March 2009.
And, of course, Wikipedia.

I've decided to drop the weekly schedule altogether and just post whenever I feel like it instead. So be sure to bookmark or subscribe!
Hakuna Matata!

-The Human Crayon

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