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mongrel_8
11-16-2000, 05:31 PM
Why on television and movies do they so someone who is about to jump off a building to commit suicide with their shoes off? Is this common practice with real life suicides from jumping?

fish in the sky
11-16-2000, 06:02 PM
Hrm. I've never noticed this. I don't watch much TV or movies though...

My thought would be that maybe the person is still internally debating whether or not to actually go through with it, and if you decide "no" it sure would suck to slip or trip over your shoes and fall to your death. Barefeet might provide more sure footing.

flynnstone
11-16-2000, 06:08 PM
Do you have any examples of tv shows or movies where this has been the case? I don't remember seeing any. Maybe the context would have something to do with it.

Saltire
11-16-2000, 06:41 PM
Just guessing, since I haven't noticed this myself, but could it just be a stunt requirement? Hard shoes might damage the airbag they are going to fall onto when they jump, or make ankle injuries more likely.

The Devil's Grandmother
11-16-2000, 07:55 PM
This may not be relevant, but in murder mystery novels they make a big deal out of the "fact" that suicides always take their glasses/shoes/coats off. Apparently the myth is suicides think they are "going to sleep" and behave appropriately.
I can see where the same “fact” would get absorbed by TV and movies as well.

mongrel_8
11-16-2000, 08:19 PM
xtal, that is a very interesting point, and would be my guess for the truth. saltire, I doubt it is for a stunt man because in the one's I have seen the person didn't actually jump. I remember the Collective Soul video to "The World I know" the guy took off his shoes, and I recently saw a commercial with a guy taking his shoes off before he jumped, but he didn't actually jump.

Sublight
11-16-2000, 11:47 PM
I know this was "common knowledge" in Japan, although no reason was ever given. As a result, every once in a while some practical jokers freak everybody out by leaving a pair of shoes on the edge of a bridge.

--sublight.

Astroboy14
11-17-2000, 12:36 AM
an example from a movie: IIRC, in "Forrest Gump" the girl (can't recall her name) is thinking about suicide, takes off her shoes, and climbs up on the balcony railing... she doesn't do it tho...

Reboot42
11-17-2000, 02:42 AM
A person who is going to commit suicide often will neaten everything up prior to doing it. It's like they don't want to be found in a messy house when deceased. Some are impulsive and kill themselves quickly, maybe leaving only a note behind. I think the shoe thing is a movie 'fact' and we all know how those go.

I know of only one suicide of someone I knew and I suspect this person did not really intend on going through with it completely, but slipped. She hung herself from a tree. It was suspected that she was going to gently let herself down if someone approached and hang there, but lost her grip and dropped. She had a history of suicidal attempts.

gigi
11-17-2000, 10:18 AM
Originally posted by Reboot42
She hung herself from a tree.

A nit, but I seem to be on a personal crusade...it's "She hanged herself".

Lissa
11-17-2000, 10:54 AM
an example from a movie: IIRC, in "Forrest Gump" the girl (can't recall her name) is thinking about suicide, takes off her shoes, and climbs up on the balcony railing... she doesn't do it tho...

Jenny does NOT take off her shoes. She's wearing those funky silver platforms, and they show them very clearly as she's climbing up onto the table, and then onto the railing. During the scene before Forrest goes to Vietnam, and she discusses suicide, the shoe dangles from her foot, but never comes all of the way off.

mega the roo
11-17-2000, 11:17 AM
It's quite often easier to climb on and over things without shoes in the way.

I mean, if someone is going to jump off a bridge I'm sure the last thing they want is to step on a shoelace and go toppling over by accident.

Shingen
11-22-2000, 12:32 AM
Originally posted by Sublight
I know this was "common knowledge" in Japan, although no reason was ever given. As a result, every once in a while some practical jokers freak everybody out by leaving a pair of shoes on the edge of a bridge.

--sublight.

What I've heard is that by leaving one's shoes off, a person may leave behind the troubles of their previous life when they are reincarnated. Similarly, when someone makes a major life change, such as a person leaving a life of crime to make an honest living, the Japanese expression is that the person has "washed their feet."

I wasn't aware that it was so universal, though. Perhaps this is just a local explanation for a common behavior.

SpoilerVirgin
11-22-2000, 12:57 AM
I recently saw a TV show (CSI?) in which the fact that a man had fallen to his death while wearing his glasses was proof that it was not a suicide. The investigator insisted that suicides always take off their glasses. All I could think was that it would never even occur to me to remove my glasses before jumping (assuming I'd every think of jumping). Perhaps that's because I don't really think of them as accessories -- I think of them as a part of me. Besides, without them I'd probably jump in the wrong direction.