I’d been trusting and vulnerable and the old paranoia that wasn’t paranoia but reality came back. I began feeling scared again. There’s that place where you get in a fetal position and just rock because people who are supposed to be caring are hurting you. I didn’t know that as a kid. I learned that as an adult.
I was forced against my will. Sometimes it just comes back. That feeling of helplessness and terror. They always begin their hurt with claiming you hurt them but you didn’t. You weren’t even in the country when they claimed you hurt them. Their stories unravel with layers and layers of lies but no one cares about the truth anymore. They tell you that it’s okay to feel but the moment you let down the guard the keys come out. The locks and bolts and the pain seems unbearable. They don't want to hear what you have to say. They say that but all they want to hear is what they've told you to say. It's an education in political correctness. If you say this the pain stops. But it only stops when you figure out the words.
I still remember the pain. I’d had surgery and they came. After surgery you just want to lie safely and heal. You don't want to be marched about on display. I was expected to perform tricks and smile. I remember limping. There’s a thing called spasticity. The muscles can all go into these bundles of pain. It’s a reaction. It comes back to me at times. When I’m threatened. When the falsehoods are piling higher and higher.
It’s called catastrophising. What I'm doing.
You’re not going back there.
I repeat, "All shall be well. All shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well." An Anglican minister, himself falsely accused, taught me that nearly a quarter of a century ago.
Breathe in, breathe out. I remember St. Augustine. I try to focus on Brother Lawrence.
Everything I've done for work is for life. Now they want me to kill. It’s an option they say. When someone is vulnerable and afraid and you're just supposed to say matter of factly, " we could end it now."
It’s so terrifying to think how easily I would have. Back then. When they would have if they could and I would have because there didn't seem much to live for after all the lies and betrayal. I was wrong. There was life after. In so many ways life began then.
The pain was unbearable. The lies were excruciating. The love so betrayed. It’s hard enough carrying on when death is discouraged. But now they’re actually encouraging it.
I hear them saying, "You cost too much." I remember all the fights I had to get a bed or stop someone being turfed. Administration hated me. Not a team player. Wouldn't let people die on my watch. Now I'm told it was a mistake. I should have killed them outright. My life's work an error. It all could have been so much easier if I'd just been a 'team player'.
I feel all used up. Like Jack Nicholson in What about Schmidt. I feel old. I can't go back and undo the damage. I can't kill people now.
I’m poor by comparison too so there's no future for me. I'm looking at death. Some young do gooder with a lethal injection smiling to please his superiors, thinking he's doing well. Like I was when I helped people live..
I guess they don’t like us crowding the streets. I don't like the congestion in the city either but I don't have the power to do something about it. Maybe if I did I'd stir up war and get more people to kill themselves and sell drugs and get rid of the trouble makers who've lived here a while, bring in some easier lead cattle. It all seems like Solyent Green, just they haven't started feeding us to each other. Maybe that comes later when they've diverted more resources to their own palaces and jets. I don't know. It all seems so far above my pay grade. I'm just trying to live and I'm finding that's my mistake.
Young people are now being taught to kill us. Not outright in plain speak English. They speak beurocratese, legalese and doublespeak and legalese but what it comes down to is, “WE want you dead, Dr. Hay. You've always been a trouble maker. We need your bed for someone else. You thought you earned it but they're entitled to it.”
It’s not like the new ones attracted to this, the predators, they're not going to come right out and say," I got this job because I like to kill people”. That’s what the pedophiles did who joined the priesthood. There weren't even one in a thousand but that's all it takes if that one has power over you. Doctoring is more attractive without the hippocratic oath to some. Especially the powerful who know it won't happen to them.
All the guilt and shame and regrets and self pity assail me at times. I devoted myself to the company job. I gave my all healing and to saving lives. Now that looks ridiculous in retrospect.The lengths I went to saving people. The risks I took.
I thought I was a salesman for life. I convinced hundreds to live. I argued against death daily. I still do. It’s ludiculous. I’m the fool. I see the disdain in the faces of the powerful politically correct. What an idiot they think I am. I feel their censure as they grow more powerful given the option to kill. Recreational marijuana and heroin and dealing addiction and death but calling it medical and health care. It's all in the name. There's a book called a Tyranny of Cliches I must read. I can't get into see a doctor but here's a little dope and death while you wait.
It terrifies me because I remember that my doctor gave me hope. Doctors aren’t supposed to hold that out any more. It’s all reduced to boxes. I'm to ask people to check their choices. Fill out the on line form and we're arrange your medical marijuana and medical death for you and throw abortion in for free. Family deals in death. If your score doesn’t add up quite right up by some computer projection scale then we give you death anyway. Really its humane. There's even new euphemisms for euthanasia. It's all in the marketing.
I really did believe there would be a pasture. I really hoped for a meadow to hang out in.Maybe I'd have some more sailing time. Maybe a bit of fishing. That all costs money. Once you’re finished working there's a better place for you.
I was supposed to be at a banquet. The people are all lovely but they’ve mostly not been on the other side. They've not been locked up. They don’’t know personally the minority of their colleagues who are psychopaths, take pleasure in pain, and live for control and only protect their own. They're good people. They've invited me into their home. I'm kind of rough. A prodigal son.
I rode motorcycles with a lot of different folk. Outlyers mostly. I loved when I finally joined the Biker Church. We've all got scars and tattoos. I first heard Third Day at the Biker Church long before I'd attend their concert, after their songs got me through some really wild storms. I could finally play spiritual music without falling asleep barrelling down the highway. I still like Steppenwolf.
There’s a real insanity in speed. Believing leathers will protect you. Knowing grace every time you step on and step off the big bikes. There’s a thrill. They marginalize and reduce us. Make what we are a disease, ‘adrenaline junkies’ they say. But they don’t climb mountains or sail open seas or race motorcycles. I think I'm conservative because I don't jump out of planes like some of my friends. A lot of guys and girls I know are ex military. Then there's the cowboys and cowgirls. Rural folk. City people think everyone is like them and they think they're tolerant and understanding. We wish.
Sometimes in their churches we don't feel welcomed. Gospel is meant to be praise and thanksgiving but to go to some churches it seems people are acting like there’s a special merit in passive aggressiveness. Not the right sort of people.
I liked the the biker church. It was alright. Gospel riders talking about god and love long after the talk of lust and power had worn thin.
I guess I’ve known too many deaths that weren’t planned. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost men to death and women to divorce. The fact is the older I get the more afraid I am to get close to anyone. Bernie and Hank gone. Family gone.
Old is good among the bikers. Not anywhere else in this bigger society called Canada anymore. If I was aboriginal or Chinese maybe it would be okay to be old. Old and male and even white are the new discard words. Past shelf life.
Thankfully there's another place where it's okay to get old. When I'm feeling insane and want to be among people who God has restored to sanity or is supposed to be in the process of doing there's this place I can go. They don’t care what colour your skin is. They don't care what car you drive. It's a Travelling Wilbury kind of place. So I just picked up the phone in my hotel. Sure enough the city had a central office and someone was doing service manning the phone. A man answered stating his name and condition. I responded in kind. Kind of a special verbal handshake. “I’m looking for a meeting.” I said. I can tell now when I'm feeling kind of insane.
He told me the nearest one to where I was. I knew I could have asked and someone would have come to take me there. I hopped a taxi instead. When I walked in sure enough the room was full people. I was pretty sure some of them had had a struggle to get out of the safety of their rooms. There was coffee. Even cookies. I sat down. Asked if there was anyone from out of town. I raised my hand.
“Welcome,” they all said. The healing rituals began to take hold. I knew the reading. I liked them talking about the futility of thinking of yesterday and tomorrow. I knew I got into the trap of worrying and regretting. I just couldn’t break away from the crazy thinking. The dark places in the city were starting to look attractive. It was them or the fetal position. Prayer and meditation weren't holding up against the pressure of endless demands and the chronic threat. It's a seige and they don't care how it messes with the mind. The process is the punishment. I feel more and more alone. The past and future get a stranglehold on the present.
But listening. I begin to feel glad to be old. I applaud the newcomers along with everyone else.. It going to be okay. Just for today. Everything was going to be okay.
In the background in this poorly lit basement of a church there was a banner. It wasn't part of the meeting but it was there for only me to see. It said “Christ is risen.” I thought about how we are all inter related, children of God. Not some accident or random explosion. But the product of an act of love. That felt better than the intellectual pseudoscience soup.
I drift in and out of the story the man is sharing. His own story. Another prodigal son.
I’m at home. I get to know the strangers on either side of me. It’s safe here. At the end of the meeting we pray together saying words I’ve said so many times before with other strangers.
I could go for coffee after. We do that. But I walk alone into the night and head down Avenue Road. On University Avenue passing Queens Park I remember as a child being fascinated by black squirrels play there.
Eventually I turned at King street. Soon I was in bed watching Vin Diesel XXX save the world. He's a funny guy, that Vin Diesel. The stuntmen in his movies are incredible.
Another day is done. One day at a time. I just have to live one day at a time.
They’re not going to kill me today. They’re planning it. They’re getting all the legal work ready so they can claim they were doing me a favour. They're changing the words to make it sound right. But it’s not happening today. And I survived all those yesterdays.
And tomorrow. Well thats today. Today I can make it again. I just have to do the next right thing.