Monday, October 1, 2018

Yearning And Frustration

     Don’t expect this to be pleasant or easy reading.

     Someone I value highly, though I’ve never met him “in the flesh,” has been lamenting his lot in ever more plaintive tones. At one point he said – for public consumption — that he was contemplating suicide. As of today, he’s stated that he’s unable to find any value in living, owing to his physical debilitation.

     You have no idea, Gentle Reader, the emotions that stirred in me. I was ready to do just about anything for that guy. Then I remembered my own obligations, and sternly suppressed the impulse.

     Then Duyen called. She loves the unnamed subject of this tirade. Yes, loves, even though she hasn’t met him either. (Duyen has a capacity for love that boggles the mind. For example, she loves me. Anyway, at one point she was thinking of courting him.) Here’s a condensed version of our chat.

DK: Flashy, what can we do?
FWP: Damned if I know. He seems sunk in the Slough of Despond.
DK: Where’s that?
FWP: It’s a metaphor. It described the place where despair is inescapable.
DK: We can’t let him kill himself, even by neglect!
FWP: Don’t you think I know that? But what can either of us do about it?
DK: I don’t know. I was hoping you would.
FWP: I’m as lost as you are, sweetie.
DK: Damn it, I count on you to crack the ones I can’t!
FWP: Forgive me, sweetie. Some nuts are too tough for either of us.

     Duyen and I share certain drives, to smite the wicked and to succor the downtrodden being foremost among them. We look at the subject of our concern and have the same reaction: we want, even need to help him. But we don’t know how.

     Among his other problems, the fellow is essentially isolated from in-the-flesh human relations. His physical maladies are a part of that, but his preferences are at least as large a component.

     Oftentimes, good intentions are destructive. They point the well-intentioned one down a road that does more harm than good. But I can’t see that in this case. I see someone suffering, in large measure because he’s ill and alone, without anyone to help him cope. Moreover, he’s someone I think very highly of. But he’s far away and tends to keep others at a considerable distance – and not just physically.

     Maybe this is an artifact of old age. I am old – 66 – and so is the fellow of whom I speak. The idea that someone like me in many ways should be in his condition is maddening. It’s partly the “there but for the grace of God go I” effect, but it’s also a determination that good people deserve better than to waste away alone.

     This will probably keep me awake tonight. That I recently lost my best and only friend in all the world has only something to do with it.

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