Re: [CR]Sad news delayed till after the Cirque

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Date: Wed, 08 May 2002 12:50:49 -0400
From: Larry Osborn <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Sad news delayed till after the Cirque
In-Reply-To: <>

Difficult writing earlier, knowing this was hovering in the background, but just waiting for official notification by Dale, and some sort of clue as to a cause before commenting. Not one for discussing my past, or even my present with many people, but this group really has become extended family, with a few individuals I'm very attached to. So, serious intent, just my way of coping, but I find even now I cannot change the way I express myself. Skip straight to the punch line if you would rather not wade through the babble.

Mike and Dale were my first new friends at the first Cirque. Dale is Dale, and has such an obviously generous soul you can't help but notice him and immediately let him into your life. More time and effort were required with Mike. He caught me taking photos of his Carlton, seemed genuinely surprised that anybody would care about it, so we introduced ourselves, shared our mutual ignorance of Carltons for a while, and also discovered a shared interest in aiplanes, about which we were both much less ignorant. The essence of the Cirque in a nutshell. Got it right the first time. Thanks Dale. Sent him copies of the photos, and in later correspondence he used the headbadge photo as a letterhead, which I thought was a nice way of saying "thanks". Also sent that photo to Dale, my first contribution in the early days of the CR website. So anytime I go to the Carlton section I smile at the memory of Mike and I both hearing a sudden large gust of wind approaching (it was an outdoor event at the time), and frantically grabbing as many display bikes and canopy legs as possible before they all toppled. Enough presence of mind to save our loved ones, the lightweights, at the expense of some of the ballooners. Physical humor and involuntary expletives. A classic combination. And you thought it was just a headbadge photo. Never close enough to become more than swap buddies, but I looked forward to seeing him every year. Yes, it was obvious that something was bothering him Saturday. However, with a similar personality, and my own wildly unpredictable mood swings as a frame of reference, if people asked what was wrong every time I became quiet and withdrawn, well, lets just say the constant interruptions would drive me crazy. So I respected his privacy and didn't butt in very hard. He was among closer friends.

Not going to pretend to understand what makes someone choose that path. Lost a couple other friends this way. Relatively young, physically healthy people. Still totally baffled by their choice. Possibly a physiological difference between them and me that made the critical difference when teetering on the brink. I certainly hope so, if only for my own sake, and a couple other friends who I see possibly reaching that decision point some day. But I can't be sure, and I'm certainly not going to depend on THIS body to save me. Often accused now of having a hyperactive sense of self preservation out on the bike, driving, flying, and even in other less hazardous environments, but it's something I had to learn, sort of a side effect of past experiences. One of many survival strategies now firmly in place. Just one many little personality quirks that friends/family have adjusted to. But during some seriously dark times of my life, when even humor and laughter were only distant memories, and nowhere in sight in any direction, I accidentally learned something. This seems like a suitable opportunity to pass it along. Maybe this comes naturally to most people, but it didn't for me. It certainly comes naturally to those pathetic individuals who need to get their jollies by making other people's lives miserable. I knew there were people who, while maybe they wouldn't go so far as to dance on my grave, would certainly be glad to see me gone. But I had to discover that just my continued resistance and existence would drive those people totally batshit. I didn't have to do anything more than breath. I just had to be. And some days, just that knowledge was enough. I still marvel at the simplicity of that discovery. And when I felt just a little better I could be more creative about "annoying" them (CR rules forbid me from using my normal vocabulary, so euphemisms will have to do) which I guess is just my non-physical way of fighting back, find humor and satisfaction in that creative process, and, once able to laugh again, slowly crawl back out of the black hole and find something a little more positive to do. It's not a competition, I don't have to win, I don't have to become a full-time bastard myself (just when dealing with bastards), I just have to be who I am. There are people in this world who deserve to be "annoyed", have some of their crap flung right back at them, and I just could not and cannot roll over and let the bastards win at my expense. It's become almost a reflex now, a conditioned response. Years of practice. Anger is a good thing, when properly aimed. Anger works pretty well for keeping me out of that hole. Maybe it just works for me, but I know I always have anger and spite to fall back on now.

Certainly this isn't textbook psychiatry, but most of the shrinks I've encountered as friends and acquaintances were/are more screwed up than me. Another revelation at the time. Perhaps that's one of those cosmic catches. Catch 42. The mental health professions seem to attract people who need professional mental health care themselves. When you realize the shrink is a loon, you're free to go. Just personal opinion, one of the firmly established little rules that brings order to my life, but if a shrink is seeing a shrink, he/she has no business messing with MY mind. So as has been so often the case, I had to heal myself. This is what I would have told Mike if I had known what was going on in his world: If everything else fails, just don't let the bastards win. Until something better comes along, ANGER AND SPITE ARE PERFECTLY GOOD REASONS TO GO ON LIVING.

My deepest sympathies go out to Dale, and Mike's family and other friends. I hope he has found the peace that eluded him in this life.

Still "annoying" people on an as-needed basis, even if only just to keep in