January 1, 2006

Scott

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:44 pm by ocamsrazor

I used to work with Mentally Handicapped, Developmentally Delayed, Cognitively Challenged, Dually Diagnosed etc,…etc,…etc,…etc. The list of disabilities gets longer and longer as people try to find a label that is not offensive or discard labels that have become offensive – a freaking full-time job. It was tough to keep up with the new and improved terminology that seemed to change by the day, but despite the best attempts of the brightest people to sterilize the language, someone quickly found something offensive about it. It seemed that every day there was a change in the label we slapped on a person. I ended up rejecting the labels altogether so I wouldn’t have to change the letterhead every week or endure the gasps of horror if I used yesterday’s terminology that was suddenly considered obscene. I decided to call them “people”. It kept me privately happy or, as one of the people I worked with would say: “Happy in my pants”. I loved the simplicity of calling a person a person and I admit I liked that the most trendy of the vocabulary tailors looked at me like I was totally fucked up when I used it – and I used it like a bat. I hated their stuck up, superior clinical ways. I liked to think I battled it with simplicity and common sense but in reality I was judging them and screwing with their minds for my own enjoyment.

As a kid in my neighbourhood we used to call these people “Retards” and “Retreads”, “Mongoloids” and “Monkeys”. We insulted one another by yelling the accusation that the other went to, “New Dawn” – a school for mentally retarded people in our neighbourhood. It was a square, white building with narrow, heavily curtained windows and a small playground where nobody was ever seen playing. In the case of the psychiatrically challenged, those with no visible signs of handicap but behaving in strange ways, we generally called them “Assholes” and beat them up after school.

Scott was one of these guys and as a kid he was always a little “off kilter” – He was wildly hyper and dramatic, having a very rich fantasy life that he tried to convince us was real. Scott was beat up a lot because he wasn’t visibly retarded so we figured he was just an asshole that needed to have something beat out of him. I knew him from my earliest memories and Scott and his family moved away when I was ten. I was glad.

I saw him a few times after that. On one occasion he showed up at my parent’s house for a visit. He told me he ran away from home and out ran his mom, who chased him in a car while he rode his bike at speeds approaching 60 miles per hour. I remember Scott’s mom from childhood to be an enormous, mean woman who never cleaned house – I once saw a glob of peanut butter with a spoon stuck to it hanging from the dining room wall, there were always dirty clothes laying all over the house and towers of dirty dishes all over the kitchen counters. Scott’s mother wore lingerie and stilettos all day and liked to greet the mailman at the door. I doubted she gave enough of a damn to chase Scott. I didn’t know he was schizophrenic at this point and just thought he was the same dumb asshole he always was and blew him off. He always had these wild stories and one time, as kids in the park across the street from my house, I saw him run in a in a state of absolute hysteria, screaming and wildly thrashing his arms after a bug landed on his arm. Scott claimed these bugs would insert a long stinger into your ear and lay eggs that would hatch and bore into your brain. Scott knew this because it had happened to Scott which was why he often grabbed both ears and screamed, fell to the ground and writhed in an epileptic fit. Scott wasn’t epileptic – we just figured he was an asshole.

Years later I met Scott while I was working the front desk at a Hospital in Kitchener. Scott came in dressed like a homeless war vet and presented his best rendition of a psychotic serial killer. Scott came to the desk and struck up a conversation sounding as best he could like Clint Eastwood. Scott, so Scott said, was going to the first floor psychiatry for treatment of a disorder that bestowed him with super-human strength and intelligence. He was ordered by the court to undergo treatment after hacking into the Canadian Military computer core. Scott stood in such a way so I was sure to see his ¾ inch long fingernails that had been cut with squared ends making them lethal weapons. Honestly, I did find him intimidating, which pissed me off and strengthened my resolve to keep up a relaxed appearance as I casually backed out of his reach – there was no way I was going to let this fucker think he had succeeded in scaring me. I really didn’t care if he had a psychiatric disorder or not – I still thought he was a jack-ass. I was relieved when he left. His fingernails scared the shit out of me.

I didn’t see Scott for several years and I all but forgot about him until I met him one afternoon. I was walking down King St. in Kitchener when we met up. He was sporting a different look – quasi young urban professional. We actually had a good conversation and Scott was suprisingly pleasant to speak to. We spoke of the old neighbourhood and our families. He seemed calm, collected and rational, nothing like the kid I knew who always seemed to be a split second away from blasting into orbit, or the guy in the hospital who tried so hard to intimidate me (and I was still pissed that he succeeded). Scott seemed more sane than I had ever known him to be but after about twenty minutes of talking he revealed to me than he was now a Web Page designer and was doing work in international radio. With this I knew it was the same old Scott – perhaps on meds, but the same none-the-less. You see, Scott wasn’t aware that I had just seen him exit the “Working Centre” – a place where unemployed people went to find jobs, drink coffee, learn to read – things like that. I didn’t challenge Scott – I learned as a child that it wasn’t worth it so I left him believing he had sold me. I ended the conversation quickly saying I had to get home and Scott said he was on his way to an important meeting with some foreign investors. We parted with me turning the first available corner to leave his field of vision and I ducked into a coffee shop where I waited so he would have time to leave the area. Twenty minutes later as I walked to my car I saw Scott across the road turning his head away from me, toward a blank building wall as he scurried down the street pretending he hadn’t seen me and caught me in a lie. To catch me in a lie would be to reveal his lie too and while I stood convicted and embarrassed, I felt sympathy for Scott. He looked weak and afraid, not intimidating like he did in the hospital. He looked vulnerable as he hurried down the street and I knew he was feeling the weight of conviction too. But Scott was convicted of a crime he couldn’t repent of because Scott was mentally ill and worse than this, I now saw, he knew it. He was crazy and he was aware he was crazy and despite his meds and best efforts he couldn’t hide that he was crazy and he couldn’t stop being crazy. It was much easier calling him an Asshole than seeing him as a wounded creature.

God be with you Scott – I hope you will be happy in your pants someday.

-Tom-

December 30, 2005

OCCAM’S RAZOR

Posted in Main Page at 9:48 pm by ocamsrazor

I’m not too sure how this Blog will develop – I’m going with the Gonzo-blogging (rest in peace Hunter Thompson), but the underlying theme of how I deal with the world are expressed well with these firmly held scientific pillars:

“One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.” – Occam’s Razor

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” – Albert Einstein

I’m going to let the theme reveal itself as this goes along.