Its been an interesting few months. My wife has convinced me to try a coursera course. My little bit to crash the traditional academic community, I guess. My family are leaders in this sort of thing. I remember my mother bringing home a couple of small tin toys when I was small and saying look at this isn't this exciting. What was exciting was that they were marked "Made in Japan." That very far away exotic land that at that had just recently been at war with us. And we were now buying their toys (made out of recycled American beer cans by the way, on the inside was the beer logo unpainted over). The next thing I know I'm driving a Honda and Detroit has closed.
A more interesting last couple of weeks. Our youngest dog got sick and the second time we took him into the vets we were told that he had parvo. We rushed him to OSU vet clinic (the same place we'd had our chow last year). When we got there we were told not to take him out of the car and someone came out in a disposable hazmat suit and carried him into an isolation room. We got him back the next day (they couldn't control him, or apparently keep him confined), but he was rehidrated and the virus was slowly going away. A near thing.
In the meantime we took the other dogs in for a booster, but were told to keep them in the car they didn't want them in the vets for at least a couple of weeks. So the vet came out and gave them their shots in the car.
The vaccine company will pay for the treatment. A very dangerous disease which was only identified in 1978. Only attacks puppies and mostly bully breads and rottweilers and dobermans. However, our yard can stay viral [?] for up to a year and the dog will be contagious for at least two to three months.
The next weekend went well and I went into the office this last Monday. Had a hearing across the street and came back to the office. As I was coming back to the office I saw the guy I've been sharing the office with for nearly twenty years walking out the door. I didn't say anything (we'd said hi to each other when I came in before my first hearing) and I figured he hadn't seen me. However, the door was unlocked so I figured he had seen me, but hadn't wanted to talk. I picked up my files for my next hearing and ran back out and across the street again. It was a short hearing and I was back in the office in about fifteen minutes.
A couple of minutes after that my former secretary came in and said "Have you heard about Charlie?" I said "No, whats he done now?" "He's jumped off the bridge on 209."
I couldn't believe it and I walked out the door. You could see the police cars from my front door, the bridge is only about a quarter to a half mile from the front door and in easy line of sight. It had probably taken him less than five minutes to walk from where I saw him to where he jumped.
As I said later it was a shock, but not a surprise. He's been seriously depressed for some time. He has been trying to deal severe mental health issues for decades. I do not remember when he first had a major psychotic break down that required his hospitalization, but it could easily have been nearly twenty years ago. His most spectacular breakdown occurred on a Good Friday when he smashed through the glass door in the office and ran out screaming that he was Jesus Christ. That was over ten years ago and he came back from that, but thinking back probably not completely.
He still did good legal work at times, but at other times he would just become overwhelmed. He had apparently come to the conclusion that that he was a bad person (his words) even though he was a stand up guy and a very good family man. I don't believe that he had ever consciously done a significantly evil or illegal act.
He had tried to kill himself a little more than a year ago by over dosing and had been rescued and brought back, but he was barely functional (as I now know when I look back) until he killed himself.
I don't know the name of his disease, but he clearly had psychotic episodes and was certainly very depressed and paranoid (he might have been bi-polar, but I don't remember him ever having the "highs" they speak about). He had been convinced to apply to Social Security to attempt to get disability and had in fact been to the Social Security office that very morning, but he was convinced that he would not get it. Once again he thought he didn't deserve it, he wasn't worthy.
Its a small town and the legal community is even smaller. It has affected us all: "If I had been kinder, more understanding, more sympathetic. If I had stopped and talked to him that morning, or the day before, or the day before that. If I had cared more. If I had done something else or more than I did. If I had only been more observant. If I had done something."
I am getting a great deal of sympathy and it embarrasses me. He had a wife and three children, they deserve people's sympathy. I cannot imagine right now what they are going through. I was kind of on the periphery of his personal life and he on mine, my personal life was totally different and than his. His was responsibilities and family, mine was drugs and parties and a single life until recently.
The problem with the disease he had was that it was one where the victim is made unlikable and irritating by the very thing that is killing him. It was all I could do to come into the office some days and to be civil to him. He chased away the last three secretaries we had by his unreasonable demands and his insistence on blaming them for all of his mistakes. When I said no more secretaries did that eventually put him over the edge? Who knows.
One of course looks back and remembers ones little cruelties (oft times unintentional other times not). "Straighten up, get a grip, stop acting like a spoiled child." One tends to forget that he was in fact more than irritating and difficult and now that he is dead remembers only that he was in pain.