[Hpn] about losing someone whose words helped me- open letter
Tue, 26 Jun 2001 15:16:43 1
Well I just got caught off guard, nothing new in that I guess but this! I got a call earlier that I have to check out. One of my friends is dead. We didn’t have a lot of contact and we weren’t close in the sense that we were always in each other’s lives but Gregory was one of those people who would talk with me and inspire me. Life hadn’t been easy for him but it was good. Around here most people knew Gregory Alexander as Yahoo the Clown. He earned his living doing appearances and kid’s parties. I saw some of his act at a small fete for a local hospital. This was for free as it was a benefit for the children’s cancer ward. Yahoo always did that for free. He could be counted on to do two or tree appearances for the kids each month at his own expense and whenever there was any child whose case was considered special he showed up just for them all on his own dime.
He found all the kids special and went way out for them without ever hesitating. Gregory understood them because he had brain tumors and on his spine. They were all inoperable and no one knew how long he had left. That he was still alive was a surprise to his doctor’s. If you didn’t know about it you couldn’t tell except for those days when he went for more endless tests or whatever new there was to try. Yahoo was all these kids friend. His own life wasn’t easy besides the cancer and it’s cost his home life was less than what it could have been. His spouse had a set of priorities that did not include him; in many ways she seemed to already treat him like he’d already died. I think it was the only way she could handle it all. They have a family and the last four years haven’t been easy. It probably didn’t help for the doctors to continually tell her to expect to wake up some morning and find he’d passed away in the night. Saying it once is one thing but to hear it every few da!
ys over years is torture as far as I’m concerned.
I missed the services, no one told me till today. Apparently last Wednesday he went into the garage and hung himself. When the ambulance came he still had a heartbeat but they weren’t able to save him.
I met Yahoo thru Dee at the costume shop. He was in every week or two and did any ordering for props through her. Mainly though they talked what they had in common both being brain cancer patients. Well Dee is called a brain cancer survivor, as her prognosis is fair even though she is expected to undergo more operations in the future. In his case excepting a miracle the outcome was understood. (And yes, most people didn’t call him Gregory: he was known as Yahoo!) (And yes I did do the obvious joke that he could hire me to be AOL or Excite the Clown and keep bashing me with a rubber chicken.) Yahoo and I would talk about things –him and his family being homeless for a while because of his medical costs, my being homeless, anger, pain and laughing.
What shakes me is that he was one person I had thought having a handle on it all. When I get to feeling like that I think of his strength against all these “things” that wear at us – time for truth I mean ME. I tried to kill myself early in being homeless but blacking out or whatever saved me. Sometimes in side I get that way again and I fight against my own anger and despair. If he could give in…well that scares me. I know that he was as they say, not in his right mind because he was found hanging by one of the twins. The boys are big for their age but the idea that a young child should find his father like that angered me. What could he have been thinking of to put a child through such cruelty? Then I realized I was being an asshole. He wasn’t a cruel man. Just a man who had literally came to the end of his rope, Yahoo was in pain and wasn’t thinking clearly. He would never have wanted that to happen.
When Yahoo first came into the shop he was in his floppy awful multi-color checked pants. White with thin red-pin stripping long sleeve shirt (pretty snazzy to my tastes), wide red suspenders and green straw bowler. Working in a costume shop you tend to not notice this as unusual. Either that or you can now form your own assumptions about my taste – or lack there of – in clothing. So anyway he reaches across the counter to shake my hand asking “Hi, guy! So you’re helping Dee. Are you squeaky?” (Notice I have said nothing about Dee saying anything in the way of a “warning” –and these are my friends! All she said was “This is Yahoo the Clown.” OK so for you that may have been enough warning! At least don’t smirk so loudly, hmmm?) Being Joe I said “Yes”
I have no idea where the oilcan came from. No, not just ANY oil can but this would have been the Tin Man’s love object or totem! I don’t think the railroad used them that big! At least it wasn’t filled with oil. You guessed it, seltzer water: my life as a running vaudeville act!
What I wouldn’t give to find out what I was told is somebody’s idea of a joke. I’d even answer yes again knowing he had the oilcan on him. When I feel like offing myself I’m going to think of the boy finding him an unintended consequence. I’m going to think of how the news would affect my sister, my daughter and those I love and care about me.
The other day Bonnie and Morgan were clearing up a misunderstanding they had. There was mention of omelets and other wonderful things. Right now I am so close to taking the Joemobile across country picking up Morgan and staging an invasion of Canada with us dropping by Bonnie and Kerre’s. I’ll spring for the eggs and other yummies as well as OJ. Though to tell the truth there is a part of me that says OJ and tea sounds good but how about an added double jigger of scotch or Hennesy’s? Just me dreaming again, sorry!