Thursday, May 25, 2006

Memorial: an offensive downer trip--beware.

Tonight's post is brought to you by Old Grunte. I am reclaiming this blog. I am not going to use anything for therapy anymore. What's the point when I can go outside and smell the suffering of others--it sustains me. Hell, I don't even have to go outside for that. What's my point? I was a better functioning human being when I was angry and ready to explode, wasn't I? Maybe I wasn't happy, but I sure could get things done. Life is much simpler for a man when he doesn't have to emote. I think that I will join in some blood sport this weekend and regain my edge. What do I care?

Maybe, I'll get my shotgun out and shoot the hell out of a fridge and some fence posts. Maybe, I'll take Clyde up S.O.B., drink some beer, and remember the seven souls who have died on that hill. Maybe, Ill take a short hike south of S.O.B. and visit the grove where "T" blew his brains out with his 30/30 (obituary picture shown). It has a great view of the lake and the valley. Is this a grave worthy of a boy who took his life? A life taken, because he was worried that his dad would be mad at him for wrecking his car? I don't know the answer to that question. But, I know more about the reasons for such acts than I will admit.

I tried to help out a mixed-up kid, once. What good did reaching out do this kid, when no one listened and I had no clue? I got mad when he didn't show up for work that day. The next two days I felt like chewing him out. I didn't know that he was alone resting on the hill for those three days: free of his troubles, free of his life, but slave to "what if?" and never again.

I remember bringing this kid under my wing at work. He was flirting with the drop out scene, and I had been there myself, once. I was a smart, but severely troubled boy at that age, and so was he. I can remember what it was like trying to teach myself how to write coherent sentences and basic math after barely graduating high school--rejoicing that I would never suffer the humiliation of my scholastic lackings any longer. I saw myself in this kid. I knew the hurt that comes with feeling lost and alone. Of having every living inch of you collapse and grown ups think that you are just being a bad kid or rebellious when you are just acting out of desperation. When will they ever get it? Sometimes a kid has no idea what is wrong with them, and their actions are a symptom of a much greater problem that no one wants to acknowledge. Do you know what it's really like to not care about yourself and the world, completely? Once that happens, your ability to stop destroying yourself diminishes. I knew this kid. Yet still, I had no idea that he'd go and do it. Who does? Well, we should.

I remember talking shop with him on guitars and amps. I used to make fun of his affections for "Messy Boogers" and "Reisty Bitches" (Mesa Boogie amps and B.C. Rich guitars). He'd in turn make fun of my little Fender amplifier and my craptastic Les Paul Jap copy. Is it so wrong that I'm jangley and he's not? I would blame my liking for REM, Posies, Big Star, The Jam, and The Beatles on this, but he wasn't going to trade in his Marilyn Manson for my like. We made a compromise with Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin.

He would always be late for his shift, but I tried not to ride him too hard at first. It was near the end when I had to ride him. He was coming in an hour late, stinking of pot, and too relaxed to hustle. I remembered that when I was at my deepest points of despair, there were certain teachers who challenged me--they could see some brilliance inside my dark world. I knew what it took to climb out of a pit of .8 GPA's (when a solitary "D+" saves the day) and terrible rap sheets. You can't slack and someone has to be there to remind you of that. With apologies to a fellow blogger's shtick (I'm not attacking you--yer cool), but I can't think of a more destructive lifestyle.

I had been through some life changing experiences in the past 3 years since high school. I had my body broken, my soul charged, and my mind sharpened. I knew that he needed my help, so I leaned on him hard. Well, I think that came a little too little, and little too late. How could I know that he would decide to take his life before I could help him get it back? I wasn't there for his life, other than work--a place that became a refuge from his home.

A fiery rant, please skip this if you are easily offended:

I couldn't go to his memorial. It was closed casket, I heard. Hollow point, high velocity, and cosmetically obliterating, a 30/30 is. The decision that made a community ask why. This same community, county, state, hasn't learned and is breaking the record books in young male suicide rates. They ask why, but don't want to know the answer. A kid can't be perfect. A kid will mess up. A kid might set fires, slash tires, get in fights, skip school, screw, get loaded, race, shop lift, and wreck your car. But, when are you going to get real and do something about it, besides read your bible and pray? Something that isn't a panacea, a placebo, a placenta--you can't fill the void with more piglets when you can't raise the ones you got right, alright?

When will you examine the expectations of perfection that are listed as family values? Isn't it a bit much to expect your dog to be a monkey? So, why ask your kid to be Jesus, for Christ's sake? Why blame the problem on the music when you're the one not listening, only telling him that he/she isn't measuring up? I've never known anyone who killed themselves over a song that weren't high in the first place--and you didn't know, didn't see the warning signs, huh? Didn't you ever think that it was your job to notice, to learn, to go outside the myths and gobbledy-gook to find out what makes a real adolescent tick? No, you just wanted to play Ward and June.

Parents, you are their guardians. What happens if you take their music away? Why did they turn to that music for solace in the first place--wasn't it to get away from you? Why do they want to get away from you, in the first place? Could it possibly be that you are killing them psychologically? You are the ones who can't admit that you are forcing them into an impossible fantasy world. Are your dreams and your myths worth your child's life? What's so wrong with imperfection and nature, anyway?

Myth is good and dreams too--so long as you understand how they work. There's nothing like telling a kid that if they are perfect, they can have ice cream with God someday. Instead of telling them how the concept of triumphing over death is a metaphor for finding power in Him, you make them feel like they owe something to someone who holds their eternal happiness in hock--a debt that they could never possibly repay. Yeah, I know that Jesus pays the price, but really, you don't believe that, do you? It always has to be perfect, or you are falling short.

You pathetic murderers. You are the equivalent of sadistic torturers: "Billy, God loves you, but won't let you come live with him unless you stop thinking of boobies and touching that thing that he so cruelly attached to the front of you. Christ will help you, but stop thinking about the things that a developing sexual being is primed by "The Maker" to do. Make babies at this point, now. Aren't you glad you never thought of boobies? Why don't we have any grandchildren?" How damn stupid is this line of reasoning? Sex is bad. You came into this world because of sex. Therefore, you are bad. But aren't people around the world doing this? Cover their eyes--it will make it all better! No explanation or context needed, just Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!

Even when you tell them that they can repent, you're still telling them that there is no way you're ever getting into Heaven. No one can do enough to get there, anyway, and grace is a bad word around these parts. Because, what kid ever really confesses their sins to a man in a funny hat, garment, or suit, anyway? These men salivate at the notion of their demigod status--the one you validate, and surrender your child to. Do you think that they are going to be fully competent to suss out the real source of this kid's problem? Well, you sure as hell better find out.

That kid should be telling you, and you better be brave enough to understand them, and help them work through it in a sane and logical manner. I think that's why God gave you the blessing of a brain, in the first place. Why would he even care if you are too stupid to even try using his masterwork--a gift to you. No, you make up stupid ideas about this guy--like he's some magic lamp that vends out moonbeams, rainbows, and Raisinettes.

Again, It's your child and he's dying. So, you send him to a man who tells him he's evil for playing with his wiener? (Go do seven Hail Marys!) Great idea! Fuck you. The problem is so mind-screwing: it's you punishing them for being a child and believing that a long haired David Copperfield will come flying out of the sky with the Angel Gabriel to cure their/your stain. Why would they, the hosts of heaven, waste their time when you are not willing to wake up and get the kid real help? I can't think of anything else to say, because I couldn't even save him.

I hope that you found peace "T".

I thought that I knew him, but I didn't. He chose a method without reverse. The fatal taste with no take backs.


Scott said...

I think that may be the best post you have written. I love the passion with which you have written this. I am going to take a lot away from this, I may have to read it a few times but I have had many of these same thoughts over the years.

Thanks you!


Mayden's Voyage said...

I have a son who is almost 13, and a daughter who is 10.5. I didn't fall into as deep a pit as you, or as this kid, but it was deep enough...and yes, my understanding of God was skewed then, but became clearer after~
But, your post has reminded be connected to my kids, to love them unconditinally...I know they are going to screw up--because I did! I don't look for them to be better than me, and that is a hard thing to come to terms with, but I have.
I was no saint...and my kids know it...and they know that I know they aren't saints either, but I love them no matter what.
I am sorry for your loss...I really am. And I find myself thankful for being able to read this stark reminder of what is important. Your blog did not fall on deaf ears.

Logophile said...

Preach it,
excellent points, all around.

The Grunt said...

Wow, I thought that I'd really be burning this joint down with this. I'm glad you guys got it. I have been thinking about this a lot--Memorial Day and all.

I still feel conflicted over a lot of things. I am the new and improved Grunt now, so I think that I'll cope better.

There were two suicides of young people this week in the obituaries. They both stated similar lines to the effect, Johnny decided to leave this troubled world, blah, blah, blah...and now we hope he finds peace. I really feel for those families, but I'm getting tired of those epitaths.

"K" Fingerett said...

Powerful post, Grunt Man. Its a lot to take in. You hit home with this one... This makes me a bit sad and kinda PO since its all true.

Another post I'm glad you made. Hopefully this will open a few eyes and get people thinking.

I'm still not sure if I completely understand this "new and improved Grunt" or why the change happened. Just wondering...

Sorry about "T"


vera said...

I've read this through a few times. Thank you so much for sharing, Grunt. You have given me the courage to post something that I've been holding back for a long time. It's been sitting there, waiting; hoping that maybe some day it can tell its story.
I'm sorry for what you've lost, but I can that it has begot many good things and if nothing else, one helluva perspective.
I love your passion.
Thanks again.

Outdoorsy Girl said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Grunt. I'm really sorry for your loss. I know that it must feel like your attempts to reach out to this boy were in vain and I know that it really looks that way. But it was NOT. You may have been one of the only people that showed you cared about this boy and I know that he saw that. Trust me, they always do, whether you think they do or not. I am a teacher and work with kids all day long. It's amazing what they realize about the people in their life.

Like Scott said, this was indeed a passionate post. Thank God there are people like you out there that care and reach out. And you're right...if these parents cared enough to notice and support their children, teen suicides would be more rare.

Again, thanks for sharing. I think all who read this post will walk away with something like more awareness. You may have helped one of us help someone in dire need.

Anonymous said...

This took a lot of courage to write and post.

Rest in peace, "T"