Monthly Archives: August 2016

Six months in

Soon it will be six months since the man I knew killed himself. I find that hard to believe. That a measurable chunk of time has passed. For me though, it has passed quickly. Life has kept me relatively occupied in that time frame.

I say his name, his first name, aloud. I don’t know if I think I am saying it to him or to myself. I want him to hear me. I don’t believe he does. I want him to know that I gave a shit that he is dead. I want him to be here pissing me off with his online diatribes and vitriolic rants. I want him to be here writing those posts full of puns that irritated me and made me roll my eyes. I want him to be here riding his bike around town and playing tennis, a more recent pastime, on the courts with his friends. I want him to be here laughing loudly and easily, being the pied-piper that he was at the center of a group, regaling them with stories and opinions. I just want him to be here.

Tough, right?

His suicide is a bitter, bitter pill.

One of his favorite topics was crime. He was a bit obsessed with crime in our community. He’d write these long things where he’d attempt to prove that our immediate community was one of, if not THE most crime-ridden place in the country. He’d pull out statistics and numbers. He’d say that we were all blind and in denial to the hotbed of criminal activity surrounding us. He thought it was his job to “wake up” the sleepy citizens. Is there crime here? Yes, there is. I don’t like it. But I don’t feel as endangered as he wanted people to feel. I don’t think his assessments were altogether accurate and I am CERTAIN they were informed by his own prejudices and personal experience.

I never understand if this was such a god-awful place to be why he didn’t just move away? To a nice, peaceful burg where fawns frolicked in the woodlands (oh wait we have that) and nobody ever did anything bad. Of course no such place exists. What did he want from us? What did he want? What did he want?

Isn’t that what I wonder about him generally? What did he want? He was just so damned relentless. Where an average person would have said, about any given topic, it’s time to give this a rest, that’s when he said it’s time to kick this into another gear. I saw him as the man in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, who in a battle, has been shed of all his limbs, and is now just a torso on the ground, still taunting his opponents, calling them cowards, telling them to come back and fight, threatening to gnaw on their legs. That was the man I knew.

He was such a big ball of intense energy that I just can’t quite grasp that all that energy is gone. Just gone. And this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been through deaths, through grief; I am well-versed in the disbelief, the searching behaviors, all that stuff. But people about whom I’d say they are “larger than life” are not so common.

I read years ago that dealing with the deaths of people who you had difficult relationships with is the hardest. Convoluted in life, convoluted in death (those are my words). My feelings are not clean and tidy. The shock I felt the morning I learned what he had done – shot himself in the head in the center of town – has worn down some. But a shock of that size takes time to resolve itself. There is the fact that he’s dead and there is the fact of how he did it.

I don’t cry now. I just think. Reflect. Go about my life.

Short Thought 157 (men aging)

There was a short-lived TV show many years back starring the impeccable Richard Dreyfuss. His character was widowed I think, with a teenage daughter and worked in education. On one episode he said that women no longer paid attention to him at his age, they didn’t offer little smiles in passing and so on. In a culture so heavily weighted on female sexuality and its “shelf life” I just hadn’t thought how aging out of attractiveness and sexual viability might be for a man. I’ve never heard a man I know say anything like this, only that character, but it sounded true. It’s a loss for men too.

“Mirror, mirror…”

I got a Snow White mirror. Let me back up. I like mirrors. Most of the ones I have aren’t all that cool. Sure I paint them and do interesting things with them but on whole they aren’t especially unique. Colorful yes. So the other week I spied a big pile of junk/stuff thrown out. Naturally I had to check it out. I didn’t find much of interest but I did see this mirror that shouted “Snow White mirror” at me. (It didn’t actually shout or that REALLY would have made it a Snow White mirror.)

My first thought was that I’d paint it a bright color and hang it in my home somewhat ironically – I’m not the gilded or ornate type, style-wise. But damned if I didn’t find the perfect spot and love it as is.

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It hasn’t said anything yet. But then again I haven’t asked it anything.

Awhile back I looked around my home and thought, you know, there’s really nothing ethnic here. It’s not that I’m never drawn to objects or art from other cultures and countries, but I guess I don’t come by them naturally since I don’t travel to places I might pick up interesting trinkets and such. I resolved to make improvements to this decor oversight. This wood piece from Bali I bought was the first step. I would have said it was a horse but the tag said zebra so there you go. It spoke to me too (“so to speak”).

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Short Thought 156 (air conditioning)

Did you know this? People who spend their time in air conditioning consume more calories than those who tough it out with the heat. I read this years ago and filed it away in my mind. It makes sense. There’s a natural inclination to eat less when it’s hot (and eat bigger, heavier meals when it’s cooler and you feel nice-and-comfortable).

Short Thought 155 (small town)

There are “colorful” types in my immediate community, an enclave of sorts that is part of a larger urban area. Some people I know are shall we say more tolerant of them than I am. I’m not sure I ever said it, but of one person I thought, “Is there a redneck in this town you don’t call a friend?” I did myself one better when I later thought about another person – I know I never said this aloud – “Is there a crackpot in this town you don’t call a friend?”