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February 04, 2010


Subtitle: AGENTS and VICTIMS...

More on why and how I became a "victim's advocate"...

There's a new tv commercial for insurance that's been airing for awhile now... can't quite get it out of my head. It features not a gecko, nor a foxy cartoon femme fatale, but rather it stars a very amiable, attractive woman who can't not smile and can't not suppress her enthusiasm as she asks potential buyers questions, and generally pops back with -"Discount, Discount, Discount!"... Ahhhh.  Reminds me of my early years, 17 - 21.Only in my case it was "Victim, Victim, Victim!"

It seems in so many ways we are a society of victims. Our earliest colonists were "victims", in so many ways... many died ... many suffered, many went crazy... but here we are today, still in many ways "victims" of one sort or another. And it's true, we can be victims in so many ways. 

Back to my early 20's... sometime around 1974 I got stoned on marijuana. After all the horror stories I'd heard I was certain I would die soon after. My brain would melt, or I'd go crazy and within a week would be injecting myself with heroin.

Ironically, I was fine... in fact, I was more than fine. ... it was divine intervention... at a time in my life where I was near the end.

Back then, I did what most other middle class boomer's did after graduating HS, we went off to college. No break... had to keep the conveyor moving... what John Lennon of Beatles fame called "the Merry Go Round" ... well, I had to get off. 

Given the proper way I was raised as a child into being a teenager, I'd love to be able to say, like so many talented people say, "I'm sorry, I used and it was a big mistake". But I won't do that. See... prior to using, yes, I was enrolled in a college to become a physicist, or a teacher.  But seriously, not being a "man from Mars", I was not good with math, and I was a loner. Why would I want to teach a classroom of students still shell-shocked from HS? So, no, things were not going well at all.

Until I got stoned... do you know that a lot of people really are beautiful, that nature is alive, the earth is a great planet to live on, that silence is a symphony and art is divine? Where I had been settling into adulthood, which began at 18 back then, with anger, resentment, mindless pursuit of an education I may have been interested in, since I've loved electronics and chemistry my whole life, I really wasn't that person. 

Almost overnight I realized my life's dream... I wanted to be a writer. I didn't want to hate people, and feel vengeful... I wanted to discover people... I wanted friends. I wanted experiences... I wanted to face my fears... and write.

And a short-story I'd read at age 8, "R Is For Rocket", the short story within called "Frost and Fire", came to mind... I realized what i needed to do to become all that i could become would be "to work among the scientists", those who would now be called professors. With a community college in town, I realized the one way I could do that was to get a job as a custodian. Honestly, I don't know how I knew that, I just did. I figured three years... I vowed that whatever it took, if I had to sit at the entrance to the HR dept, I would get that job. By then i had quite college... sold my car, moved near campus, and loved to walk and ride my bike. I submitted an application, and as you should already know, I got hired within a very short time. I was the 3 - 11 custodian, at the fine Arts center at the college. My life exploded with friends, knowledge, and hope.

But first I had to understand what it was to be a victim. Because that is what i was... in so many ways. The answer came a year or so into the job when I became friends with an English professor. It all came down to two things - was I a victim, or was I an agent?  Being a victim is a part of the human-condition. Being an "agent" is something we can learn to be to overcome being a victim.

However, in some cases the victim cannot be an agent. They may need an advocate to help. And many years later... that is where I found myself. With years of experience with people of all kinds, experiences both very scary, yet others so very beautiful... I found myself unable to resist the urge to help....

Next time... the stories of persons that were victims, of serious nature, and my eventual participation in two missing person's cases. 


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