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The Golf Fish Man

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  • Mathew Morrell
    Dear Sheila, Thanks for your insights into the Sirius Chronicles. I have a suspicion that you may understand certain elements of the plot better than the
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 5, 2002
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      Dear Sheila,

      Thanks for your insights into the Sirius Chronicles. I have a
      suspicion that you may understand certain elements of the plot better
      than the writer himself; in particular, the psychiatric phenomena of
      Ed MacIntosh's condition post Red Lion. You said that you were a Med
      student learning psychiatry and have fist hand experience dealing
      with what I imagine to be severe cases of mental illness. I, too,
      have experience with the mentally ill through the work I did in my
      early twenties when working with Catholic Community Services, C.C.S.,
      which is a not-for-profit organization that sends volunteers into the
      field to assist elderly and disabled people; bathing, house cleaning,
      laundry, grocery shopping were duties I performed, hence my title:
      Chore Worker. The pay was minimum wage. More often than not C.C.S.
      gave me clients who were mentally ill. This was because I was one of
      the few men involved with C.C.S. and most of the women were afraid to
      work with such people who could be aggressive and un-predictable.
      Some of my clients had criminal histories (ala Sling Blade).
      Needless to say, I was in my element and very much enjoyed the work
      despite the disgust and fear that sometimes went along with it. The
      first job they assigned me was to "clean-up" the home of a young,
      schizophrenic man who was living virtually like an animal, alone in a
      small basement apartment in Olympia, Washington. The apartment
      smelled exactly like a monkey cage and every square inch of carpet
      was covered in cigarette buts, beer bottles, food wrappers, and, here
      and there, plastic Pepsi bottles filled with urine. (The toilet
      wasn't working.) It took a while to stop the gagging reflex in my
      throat before I could start the long task of spiffing the place up so
      that it looked half-way presentable. That took about two hours a day
      for a week.

      There was one un-deniable thing I learned from my clients: the
      mentally ill have a strange, powerful connection to the supersensible
      realm. One afternoon I was on driving through Olympia, when the
      brakes of my Volkswagon Rabbit started to become very "cushiony"
      and "soft." You could press down on the foot petal, but to little
      effect. If I remember right, I was crazy enough to keep driving ---
      crazy because Olympia sits on the bay, at the bottom of two steep
      hills, requiring that I slam on the breaks in order to come to a
      smooth stop. My client lived on, I think it was, Peach Street, in a
      grungy apartment building occupied by a lot of students, musicians
      and down and outs. (In fact, at the time, a very poor, heroin
      addicted Curt Cobain was living in a house in front of the same
      apartment building.) My client was a huge but gentle man in his mid-
      thirties who had a fanatic love for his gold fish, which he kept in a
      40 gallon tank. Every once in a while a fish would die and he would
      become upset, blaming it on some sort of government conspiracy.
      Supposedly, he had fried his brain with L.S.D. Now he was living in
      seclusion, over-medicated, spending his days chain smoking in a
      dreary, half-awake delirium, and sleeping probably 16 hours a day off
      and on. It was during one of these deliriums that he started
      mumbling incoherently about my Volkswagon Rabbit. I think I was
      doing dishes at the time, and listened attentively as he went on
      about my car and my brakes and how I should be careful. Since I had
      not mentioned my car troubles, I was pretty stunned.

      Just a little story,

      Mathew Morrell (mmorrell1)
    • LilOleMiss
      Hi, Mathew! It s nice to meet the man behind the Work of Words. ... Thank you, but I must disagree here. There is nothing whatsoever I could possibly add to
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 5, 2002
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        Hi, Mathew! It's nice to meet the man behind the Work of Words.

        Mathew Morrell wrote:
        > Dear Sheila,
        >
        > Thanks for your insights into the Sirius Chronicles. I have a
        > suspicion that you may understand certain elements of the plot better
        > than the writer himself;

        Thank you, but I must disagree here. There is nothing whatsoever I
        could possibly add to your very insightful understanding.

        in particular, the psychiatric phenomena of
        > Ed MacIntosh's condition post Red Lion. You said that you were a Med
        > student learning psychiatry and have fist hand experience dealing
        > with what I imagine to be severe cases of mental illness.

        You're right here, Mathew, with psychiatry being mandatory in
        medical training and naturally even further learning and
        experience being required should one wish to specialize in this
        realm. Personally, I agreed almost immediately with a statement
        directed to us our first day when the head psychiatrist stated
        firmly, "Fraud was absolutely TOTALLY insane, and matters have
        gone from bad to worse among psychiatrists!" As you might know,
        unless one approaches all facets of medicine with Anthroposophy,
        it is raw blatent materialism at its worst.

        I, too,
        > have experience with the mentally ill through the work I did in my
        > early twenties when working with Catholic Community Services, C.C.S.,
        > which is a not-for-profit organization that sends volunteers into the
        > field to assist elderly and disabled people; bathing, house cleaning,
        > laundry, grocery shopping were duties I performed, hence my title:
        > Chore Worker. The pay was minimum wage. More often than not C.C.S.
        > gave me clients who were mentally ill. This was because I was one of
        > the few men involved with C.C.S. and most of the women were afraid to
        > work with such people who could be aggressive and un-predictable.
        > Some of my clients had criminal histories (ala Sling Blade).
        > Needless to say, I was in my element and very much enjoyed the work
        > despite the disgust and fear that sometimes went along with it. The
        > first job they assigned me was to "clean-up" the home of a young,
        > schizophrenic man who was living virtually like an animal, alone in a
        > small basement apartment in Olympia, Washington. The apartment
        > smelled exactly like a monkey cage and every square inch of carpet
        > was covered in cigarette buts, beer bottles, food wrappers, and, here
        > and there, plastic Pepsi bottles filled with urine. (The toilet
        > wasn't working.) It took a while to stop the gagging reflex in my
        > throat before I could start the long task of spiffing the place up so
        > that it looked half-way presentable. That took about two hours a day
        > for a week.

        WOW! What a vividly and correctly painted picture of an incredible
        number of cases! I can so easily visualize, smell, hear and sense
        your experiences! You're really to be commended with huge bravos
        galore! Such situations continue to exist, as you no doubt
        realize, some a bit better and some a bit worse, but overall, your
        experience seems par for the course. The fact that you willingly
        volunteered and went about your work says very much in your favor,
        while I had no choice. These types of situations were the first 2
        months of "on-hands apprentice introduction" my training gave,
        followed by worse in one sense, yet deeply loving and
        compassionate in others. I shall never forget a single moment of
        these times, often coming close to losing my very life while
        training myself to never show any of my hopefully non-detectable
        fear whatsoever. I loved so many of my patients and received love
        in return, and while these interchanges were non-verbal, there is
        little mistaking its existence. While I didn't limit myself to
        mental "disorders" by any means, one readily and often meets it
        face to face in various situations, medically or not.
        >
        > There was one un-deniable thing I learned from my clients: the
        > mentally ill have a strange, powerful connection to the supersensible
        > realm.

        Ahah! Absolutely! This is so striking, I often wondered if the
        "crazies" weren't running loose while the sane were incarcerated!
        I often thought of something Steiner said about people being
        considered insane if they said or thought or did such and such,
        and the matter at hand escapes me for the moment, although you're
        no doubt aware of it. This world the so-called mentally ill live
        in is extraordinarily rich in matters I'm only able to read about
        and hopefully understand via Steiner!

        One afternoon I was on driving through Olympia, when the
        > brakes of my Volkswagon Rabbit started to become very "cushiony"
        > and "soft." You could press down on the foot petal, but to little
        > effect. If I remember right, I was crazy enough to keep driving ---
        > crazy because Olympia sits on the bay, at the bottom of two steep
        > hills, requiring that I slam on the breaks in order to come to a
        > smooth stop. My client lived on, I think it was, Peach Street, in a
        > grungy apartment building occupied by a lot of students, musicians
        > and down and outs. (In fact, at the time, a very poor, heroin
        > addicted Curt Cobain was living in a house in front of the same
        > apartment building.) My client was a huge but gentle man in his mid-
        > thirties who had a fanatic love for his gold fish, which he kept in a
        > 40 gallon tank. Every once in a while a fish would die and he would
        > become upset, blaming it on some sort of government conspiracy.
        > Supposedly, he had fried his brain with L.S.D. Now he was living in
        > seclusion, over-medicated, spending his days chain smoking in a
        > dreary, half-awake delirium, and sleeping probably 16 hours a day off
        > and on. It was during one of these deliriums that he started
        > mumbling incoherently about my Volkswagon Rabbit. I think I was
        > doing dishes at the time, and listened attentively as he went on
        > about my car and my brakes and how I should be careful. Since I had
        > not mentioned my car troubles, I was pretty stunned.
        >
        > Just a little story,

        Mathew, "just a little story?" I don't think so - perhaps better
        "just a little comment derived from a realm where he was more at
        home," I'd say. This is the type of insight/whatever I, too, have
        observed time after time, and I'm not even limited to working with
        the mentally ill per se, but they, too, need medical help for
        other conditions outside that realm.

        It sounds as though you live in that incredibly beautiful area of
        Washington state I love so dearly, and not far from my daughter in
        Seattle. I lived in your state for close to a year and have seldom
        experienced what I grew to know in those almost other-world rain
        forests where the purple digitalis stands tall in its glory among
        the rich thickly growing green of ferns hiding beneath enormous
        trees sun has difficulty penetrating, and through which bubbling
        streams and waterfalls dare to wander. I am down the coast south
        of you in California by Monterey Bay, a far different world
        lacking the warmth of flora and fauna you so gloriously share a
        world with.

        Viva Le *Sirrius Chronicles* - I'm a greedy reader, so fair
        warning! :) Thanks for the great introduction.

        Sheila

        >
        > Mathew Morrell (mmorrell1)
        >
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