This line from The Edge of Seventeen doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Video clip

I don't wanna take up a ton of your time... but I'm gonna kill myself. I just thought that someone should know. I don't know how this works. I'm probably gonna jump off an overpass in front of a semi or a u-haul, not a bus, I'm not gonna be a dick and make people watch. But it has to be big, it's gotta be so big that it just – done! – kills me. Lights out. 'Cause if it just maims me and I'm like well, how's that good for anyone? Then I gotta find a nurse to smother me. How am I gonna get across "smothering" if I'm... We don't need to get caught up in the minutia, I just thought that an adult... you should know.

I thought "get across" might have something to do with death, analogous to "cross over". But the line still doesn't make sense. "Get across doing something" does not appear to be idiomatic as far as I know and have done my due research diligence. What does it mean? "How am I going to die from smothering?" doesn't seem to make sense with the face.

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    Get across: "to make clear or convincing // we couldn't get our point across." Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 22:32
  • @JasonBassford Well I guess what I omitted and I should have said was: "I know 'get across' means to get a point across. And I would've immediately recognized the usage had the line been 'How am I gonna get across "Smother me!"'" With a gerund in there the sentence seemed completely different and threw me for a loop for that reason. I don't think "You didn't check the dictionaries" is a fair assumption. To be fair this is a somewhat unusual usage. I didn't think you needed to know I'd spent 20 minutes going through 200+ Google Books results with "get across + various gerunds" before posting.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 22:35

1 Answer 1


The phrase "get across" there means communicate. She is asking how she will be able to communicate to a nurse that she wants them to smother her, if she is so injured that she can't talk.

  • So, "she". I should have looked at the video. Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 22:05

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