Helium Dreammakers Inc.
3444 Pine Street #200
Chicago, IL 40812

Attn: Complaints Bureau

Dear Sirs/Madams:

I'm writing today because I recently purchased one of your discontinued catalog items, the Christmas Time Suicide Balloon (product code SB3439).
You'll notice I'm still here, healthy enough to compose this correspondence. How about that? I'm living proof your Suicide Balloon has failed to meet even my lowest expectations.
I'll be the first to admit: I was suckered in by the TV ad which starts by depicting a bunch of kids at a private Christmas rave, presumably on E, excitedly wrapping multicolored ribbons around their necks and executing the latest dance maneuvers.
If I was supposed to identify with these idiots, I guess I failed. I watched with complete disgust, intrigued only by the length of time these images were broadcast around the world at a rate of however many millions of dollars per second per second.
As they celebrate the birth of Christ by matching beats, throwing each other watered down gang-related signs, generally wording it up & obeying their thirst & what have you, we in the audience begin to notice - hey wait a minute - their feet are leaving the ground!
I suppose the implied understanding here is that young adults have more going on inside their heads than meets the eye. In no short order, these individuals are lifted up and away, presumably toward asphyxiation and death.
All the while, each manages to carry on as part of a supportive, close-knit, racially diverse community: mixing and mingling without self-consciousness or undue complication. How delightful for everyone involved!
Wouldn't that be nice? Wouldn't that be the perfect end to an all-night E experience with your friends? To run out of air. To fall asleep and die and be dead first thing in the morning. Particularly if you ingested anything cut with strychnine, which from what I'm told can result in all-day jitters back at the office.
Perhaps they're never seen again. Or perhaps heat from the sun allows the balloons to remain aloft for years and years! Their lifeless forms could dangle above us forever, offering the world unassailable evidence of an intriguing, contemporary, relevant product which truly delivers.
The other spot portraying businessmen in smart suits & ties, bored of their wives and office jobs was similarly effective. Yes, it looked a bit like everything else out there, but that's not the thrust of this correspondence.
May I marvel for just a moment at the cumbersome, expensive cylinder of helium I was forced to purchase in addition to the balloon?

Why was I foolish enough to assume the required gases might be included? Where do you people get off forcing me to locate a vendor?

Lifting someone off the ground requires a large amount of helium, as it turns out - much more than I think you folks let on. The whole process made me feel fat.

I might have rented the tank had I known I'd be around long enough to return it.
As I left the store, the clerk was all:


Obviously not, but how am I supposed to answer a question like that? I offered no real response that I can remember.
Yes, here's me again. Dragging the cylinder up onto the bus and all but throwing my back out.

Thanks for the help, GENTLEMEN.

That's why boys never get laid: they're too dopey or shy to perform simple favors. Everything's infused with sexual harassment lawsuit paranoia these days. Goddamnit, just help the lady.

I guess it's wrong of me to assume they want to get laid or even that they know what getting laid means. Looking at their bleak stares, I just want to get home as soon as possible.
On board, I hear grumbling. Like I'm the handicapped passenger who puts the bus on hold for twenty minutes so the driver can crank down the wheelchair ramp.
No doubt everyone here thinks I'm toting along a big ol' tank of nitrous oxide. To these people I'm just another dumbshit raver girl going home after school for an evening of whippets behind the barn.

Long story short, the unspoken judgement from these total strangers grows unbearable and I ring for the very next stop.

How wonderful that I get to spend the last few moments of my life dealing with this shit.

My one wish: a rapid, uninterrupted levitation i
nto a pocket of our atmosphere with little or no oxygen so I can suffocate peacefully.

Step one. Remove the cap.

Fair enough, it came right off. Inside was a valve and a pressure indicator which sort of looked like the diagram in chapter B6 of your manual, but not really.
Step two. Not sure.

The print was blurred. I couldn't find an associated illustration. I'm assuming B7 has something to do with connecting the balloon spout to the helium spigot. I admit to stumbling blindly through the darkness of this passage.
Step three. Inflate?

I guess. Thanks for entrusting me with the most undecorated, boring balloon possible. I was led to believe killing myself might be more dope, fly, phresh, radical, etc. And nowhere was it specified how much gas would be enough, nor how much might be too much.
Step four. Stringsmanship.

Here's where I think the "ribbon" (actually an oversized clown shoelace) comes into play. There were numerous diagrams of knots, slipknots, nooses. Clearly my neck was to be involved, but how?
There's no other way to say it: The string / loop / thing is poorly designed. You provide way too much string. Halfway through the looping process I had to start over.
In an attempt to unloop my way back to step 4, I accidentally re-looped the first loop and these TWO loops were looped together. The result? I myself was looped.
It was a miserable experience. I tried a number of times to step out and away from these loops, back on the right track. In so doing, I almost knocked the helium cylinder over and the balloon was very nearly released!
Then the helium cylinder did get knocked over, and the balloon was released.

This was on the second floor of my house! If I'd left my bedroom window open, I might have easily plunged to my death.
But I wasn't "plunging" anywhere so long as your fine product was anchored around my ankle.

Somehow I jettisoned the cylinder, sustaining a minimal amount of damage from oncoming traffic.

At once I found myself in the awkward position of having to avoid harm - even defend myself!

What's that about??
Let me distill my thesis to its essence. I spent upwards of $50.00 on a Suicide Balloon so I could COMMIT SUICIDE.

The only prospect worse than living out the rest of my life is a sequence of botched attempts to bring about its conclusion in a public forum.
Have I engaged enough poignant nouns and colorful adjectives to attract the attention of your department for even a moment?

I'm sure you'll accept this complaint in the helpful tone in which it was intended.
Why not just offer a small handgun with an elongated barrel bent into a U shape and corresponding mouthpiece? I believe I fashioned one from clay in the third grade, but it cracked in the kiln.
Why enormous, child-sized ovens end up on display at just about every elementary school, I'll never know - but that's neither here nor there.
Had I any peace of mind along this journey, I might have untangled myself and fallen onto something sharp, like the cross on a church steeple.

And yes, I could have bit clean through the string I suppose, but I'm not inclined to pursue expensive, long-term health care solutions involving paralysis and lectures from paramedics. That's a little too Christmasy for my tastes, thank you.



Jingle jingle! Here I come boys and girls! My Suicide Balloon's filled with TOYS and GOODIES for everyone who's been good this year. I'll just let go and drop down your chimney.
Was that horrible THUD the sound of Rudolph or the baby Jesus? Let's bring our ceramic mugs of Safeway Select cinnamon egg nog out to the front porch and sneak a peek!!!!
Around one o'clock, the skies cooled down. The balloon got smaller and I began to sink. My theory of floating around forever was abandoned.

I was fortunate enough to return to Earth nice and easy, in the used condom section of a broken bottle strewn, needle filled, criminals-all-around hamlet of downtown.
What passed was a moment of somber reflection. On the plus side, none of this had been a dream. I was very much alive and healthy enough to attempt suicide again later at my discretion.
Sadly, I was still myself. I stood there for a moment wondering if any sort of good humor could be extracted from today's lesson. A few jokey-jokes came to mind, nothing remarkable. Mostly I was the joke, since I had to walk all the way home.
Three or four city blocks to the nearest bus stop. Then the 22 to the 24, the 24 to the 14, and the 14 to the 51J. It occurred to me that what I need most is a car. An oversized family sedan, filling up with water at the bottom of a lake nobody knows about.
I know, I know: nobody at the opposite end of this correspondence will ever have much cause to celebrate my scatterbrained complainery.

This letter will be secured to an office fridge with a fruity watermelon magnet, produce maybe a single chuckle, and that will be that.
And beside it, a stained missive about how Bill Gates and the Borg both Ate My Balls, and how Bert is Evil, and a printout of those high-LaRioUs dancing hamsters. CLICK HERE FOR MORE SICK AND TWISTED SITES!! OH GOD I'M AN IDIOT RUNNING AROUND WITH A SHOTGUN!! **WHOOPS** I TRIPPED AND **BONK** MY HEAD AND **BLAM** I'M DEAD.


I'm not suggesting I'm somehow entitled to a refund. Nor am I about to repackage all that stupid shit up and mail your idiotic balloon back at my own expense. I don't have stamps or envelopes laying around my house.

And I don't have tables, and I don't have chairs. Everything that smashed out my window got ripped off. I came home to a self-serve sidewalk sale in the middle of the street, and it all went.
This means if mom and dad couldn't bother to go shopping somewhere crowded this year, your presents might be on the lame side.
But guess what, I'm too jetlagged from my big long journey to be concerned with the direction of my life just at the moment.

I should have ditched eighty to ninety percent of all my worldly belongings a long time ago.
Go ahead, take it on home. You're saving me the rental costs of a U-Haul and a trip to the underside of a freeway overpass.

I could survive by scrounging through the garbage like anyone else. I'd be an excellent homeless person. I wouldn't even need a stupid sign. People would fork over money just because I'm a girl.
Eventually I'd be able to buy NEW stuff, which I'd store in a house with a bigger rent and more expensive utilities. And then I'd kill myself and we could do this all over again.
This letter is over. I'm sad to report I feel no better. You, the audience at Helium Dreammakers Inc have failed to provide an adequately-sized canvas on which my thoughts and feelings can be projected comfortably.

I can offer no sassy, smartass conclusion. No point. No overview of the material previously laid forth. For what it's worth, I'm left only with the desire to fold these thoughts and feelings up into ten paper airplanes and sail them out my window.

There exists an unexplained compulsion inside me to demonstrate a further level of seasonal incompetence. One so ludicrous and inappropriate it can only be understood on a purely emotional level. When I figure that out, I promise to be in touch once again.
In the meanwhile:

Please find attached a completed order form for that other product, the Sit 'n Spin 'n Commit Suicide, along with a cashier's check for eighty-nine dollars.

Very Truly Yours,

None of your business.