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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An Amusing Intervention on behalf of an Elderly Man (me!) Sparked by an Anonymous Officious Intermeddler who Fantasizes I Don't Know EXACTLY What I'm Doing and Risking

Yesterday I was visiting my wife at her house when she got a call from Dwight Norwood.  He said he worked for St. Luke's Home Eldercare Services and wondered how I was doing.  Susie handed the phone to me.  I laughed uproariously when he said he'd received an anonymous call from someone concerned about me.  This officious intermeddler felt I was "rubbing enough people the wrong way and I might get hurt by one of them."  Dwight would not identify the caller.

After 10 minutes of discussion, Dwight told me he was surprised I was so articulate.  He fully expected, from the concerned caller, that I would sound old and incoherent.  "You're anything but that.  In fact, you're one of the most articulate people I've ever talked with," he told me.  I said I wanted to meet with him.  Did he have time right now?  "No, but I can see you at my office at 760 Saybrook Road in Middletown at 2 p.m.  Does that work?"  I agreed and hung up.  I told Susie how funny this development was and I knew it would furnish great material for a blog post on my blog.  I LOVE situations like this.

At 2 p.m. I met Dwight.  He's about 5'8" tall, short gray hair, a pink skin color, and appeared to be missing his upper right incisor.  He's 65 years old.  He wears steel gray rectangular-shaped glasses.  He was wearing a pink dress shirt, casual pants, and white sneakers.  I noticed right away that his knuckles are enlarged, as if he cracks them frequently.  I later found out that he became a clinical social worker about 10 years ago because he developed a form of severe arthritis in his fingers which prevented him from continuing his formerly lucrative career as a computer worker who needed to be able to type at his keyboard for 8 hours a day.  Hence the enlarged knuckles I noticed when we shook hands upon my entering his office.

I again asked him who called me and he didn't know.  The caller didn't identify him or herself.  But Dwight again said he was surprise I was as physically-fit and articulate as I am since most of these sorts of calls concern elderly people who are physically frail but don't realize it.

I then spent the next hour telling him about myself.  My legal career.  Family life.  Depression which led me to radically change the entire course of my life.  My psychological history.  My current activities.

Then I invited him to tell me about himself.  He did.  His computer industry career.  Family.  The arthritis of his hands which disabled him from working for two years, at a career in which he made a lot of money, as I did when I was a lawyer, and enabled him to buy a very expensive home for his family, his wife and four children.  His decision to go back to school to become a social worker and therapist.  His involvement with the St. Luke's Home Eldercare Services program, for which he is the executive director.

I showed Dwight the photographs of my dancing in all the dance clubs.  The women and men who pose with me for the photographs which appear mostly on my Facebook page.  Dwight was impressed with my mention of Ludwig Wittengenstein, the philosopher of language, in connection with Dwight's experience of working in therapy with some Spanish-language and culture clients for whom communicating with the dead is a non-psychotic activity.  I told Dwight of reading I'd done in a philosophy journal and a book about the friendship and student-teacher relationship between Wittgenstein and his philosophy student at Cambridge, Alan Drury.  Drury loved philosophy but went on, with Wittgenstein's encouragement and financial support, to become a psychiatrist in England. When Drury was Wittgenstein's student, one of their shared philosophical interests was the philosophical and psychological status of religious language.  They both agreed that if the user of religious language, for example, statements and claims by a speaker that he was able to communicate with the dead, is part of a community of people for whom such talk is meaningful, then the reports of such communications should not be considered psychotic or otherwise abnormal.  This was essentially what Dwight thought about his therapy client who talked about being able to talk to his dead mother.  Dwight told me that he hadn't heard mention of Wittgenstein since his undergraduate days in college.

In the end, Dwight agreed that I was in no way of any need for his or anyone else's help.  I assured him that I am fully aware of the risk I take by performing, speaking, and writing in such a way that some people choose to feel provoked or angry by what I do, say, or write.  "I take full responsibility for my actions.  And if God, the gods, or Mother Nature wants to let some angry person choose to hurt me in some way, I'm a grown man and can accept such a fate without behaving like a crybaby about it.  I'm not hoping someone hurts me but I will accept such a fate if that is my destiny.  As I told Dwight, I've lived 62 years.  I've avoided major problems during that long life-span.  I am old enough to take care of myself and face whatever music is stirred in other people by what I do, say, and write.

I would love it if whoever made this call to Dwight Norwood would contact me so we can talk about his or her motivations.  My cell phone number is 860-759-9860.  Although I get professional courtesy from sharks and pit bulls, I don't bite.

Dwight did tell me that if I learn of any older people who may be in need of supportive services to continue living independently, I should give him a ring.  In case any of you know of such people, Dwight can be reached at his office at 860-347-5661, toll free 855-ASK-GATE.  He said that Connecticut is the first state in the United States to have a program like the one he runs, which covers the entire state.

24 comments:

  1. Did you tell him the full story? How you get kicked out of every establishment you go? How you rant and rave about nothing? How your law firm kicked you out cause you went crazy? How you go to Dunkin Donuts at 4:00AM to pick up a wireless internet connection? How you think you are black? How you lash out at people who don't agree with your dimented why of thinking? How your friends, family and neighbors cannot stand you anymore?

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    1. Dear Angry Full-of-Rage Anonymous (May 9, 2012 at 10:29 a.m.),

      Sing, Goddess, the rage of Anonymous.

      A bit angry are we, Anonymous? But still following my doings, my writings, my fascinating life, eh?

      Oh, I told him the full story. MY story. But not your fantasies. But I've given you Dwight's telephone number. Feel free to call him to tell him all about your angry fantasies about me.

      Oh, how the demented rage against me. But love me, nonetheless.

      Please continue to follow my life, feel all those angry, jealous feelings you have about me. Let it out. I won't even send you a bill, dude.

      All best,

      The One You'd LOVE to Be, if only you had the balls

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  2. Bob, I think your area code is 860, not 960! Carol

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    1. Oh, right, sis'. Thanks. I just corrected the error.

      Love,

      Bob

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  3. Hi Bob - I have followed your blog for a long time, I have sometimes commented anonymously or asked questions. Have known you casually and formally through various venues for many years. Also, have respected and liked you. I actually think that a lot of folks on both sides of the 'Dutcher Divide' make cogent arguments. I don't happen to think you're crazy -- I think you followed the rules until you couldn't stand it anymore... and broke loose. On the other hand, I think you do 'kick the tiger' sometimes and I feel concerned about an unstable tiger sizing you up, setting you up and then hurting you. Yeah, I know...bring 'em on...here's the cell number.
    Yesterday, I was at a local business and a patron mentioned seeing a homeless drunk in the doorway of the new LaBoca announcing 'You Got Swag' to women and men walking in and 'claiming' to be an attorney. The person laughed at me and wondered aloud why you weren't removed by management. I told them --'He's no drunk'. I stopped to tell your story - that you truly made your life as an attorney - were not a drunk, but a good family man, a stand up citizen, etc......and now, of course, they think that I'm crazy. Maybe, someone could write a feature in the Press.
    Old shaggy and free spirited Bob looks very different than young, tailored suit, crisp white shirt, rep tie, clean-shaven with boyish smile 'Bob'. Whatcha think?

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    1. Dear Friend Anonymous (May 9, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.),

      You hit the nail on the head. You, my friend, should write the article on Old vs. New Bob. You've got it all exactly right: I followed all the rules (mostly; so far as most people knew) until I couldn't stand it anymore...and broke loose.

      I actually was well-received by a number of people I interacted with at LaBoca last week. Obviously not by at least the one you spoke with. Thanks for filling him or her in on my act.

      As for tigers, there are all kinds of dangers we all face, mostly unknown. Heart attacks. Cancer. Auto accidents. Smoking. Drinking too much. Walking across the street. It's usually the risks we don't anticipate that do us in.

      I rode over 15,000 miles on my road bike until I gave it up last July, when Susie broke her neck and almost got killed when she hit a little pothole the City of Middletown created and failed to repair. She always warned me I'd get hit by lightning because I rode when she feared a thunderstorm was coming. She almost died on a beautiful Summer afternoon.

      People used to wonder if I'd get eaten by a shark when I went sea kayaking around Fishers Island all alone or kayak surfing in 12-foot 12-second period hurricane swells off Matunuck and Point Judith, Rhode Island. The greatest danger I faced was driving my car from Middletown to the surf break on Route 9 and 95.

      Doris Hallie got killed after a big party at Oddfellows one night when she was walking across Washington Street and did not use the cross-walk.

      My friend Tom Cloutier, a successful lawyer in Old Saybrook whom I knew for 35 years, died last year from cancer. He was just a few years older than me.

      My friend John Cashmon, the local head prosecutor in the misdemeanor division at Superior Court in Middletown got arrested for DWI and hanged himself behind the Glastonbury Police Station a few days later.

      I could go on and on.

      Yes, I am a provocateur. I now disguise myself as a homeless-looking old man whom people think is a drunk. I rarely have even one beer. I own two homes. I am 62 but dance in dance clubs three nights a week with young women and men.

      In my black baptist church, which I love, we constantly hear the following: God exists. He is male. God got us up today, made our limbs move, our minds work. We are fortunate, indeed, to have one more chance to praise God, celebrate life. We don't know about tomorrow. Enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven today.

      Every tiger faces the same reality. I no more control the tigers you imagine "I stir up," any more than you control the blood cells in your body, which may, like riled-up tigers, congeal and block your arteries tomorrow, fatally. I pray that doesn't happen to you, too.

      Thanks for writing an intelligent, thought-provoking Comment. Out of every 20 Comments, yours is the one non-inane one. But I reply to all: the idiots, and the smart people like you.

      All best,

      Bob

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  4. This is the first step to your institutionalization.

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    1. Dear Deluded Anonymous (May 10, 2012 2:54 p.m.),

      Oh really, please explain that "brilliant" prediction. Do you also hear voices or see visions?

      All best,

      A Man Most Amused by the Fantasy of an Idiot

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    2. Sure, I'll explain. People are calling shrinks on you to have you checked out. What the hell do you think that means? It was probably your family who called. You might have fooled them this go round, lying and not disclosing everything....but it won't be long before the men in white with butterfly nets come for you.

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    3. Dear Shrunken Headed Anonymous (May 10, 2012 at 6:15 p.m.),

      You are SUCH an idiot. A moron, really.

      Look, first, Dwight Norwood is a social worker, not a "shrink," a psychiatrist.

      Second, in order to commit someone, involuntarily, he or she has to be a danger to himself or others. I am neither.

      You, however, being so out-of-touch with legal and psychological reality, may well be in danger of being committed for involuntary psychiatric treatment. Please identify yourself so we can meet soon. I'll assess whether your delusional thinking is preventing you from taking care of yourself and whether your paranoid projections are sufficiently disturbing to you that you might harm yourself.

      Call me as soon as possible. My cell phone number is 860-759-9860. You definitely need help. I care.

      All best,

      A Man in Touch with Reality, unlike you

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  5. Bob,

    You are a very smart man. I love reading your posts when you have some factual information behind it. I love your very liberal stand and adore your respect of all people. What I don't understand is how you can go to church. You have all of the features of an intelligent, emotionally and politically strong man. Why let the cult of religion take a portion of your mind? You can think for yourself and should let you spirit lead you instead of a screaming, ranting money loving pastor. I get that you receive positive messages from a church, but if you don't agree with what they preach 100%, I wouldn't listen.

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    1. Dear Mis-guided Anonymous (May 11, 2012 at 6:15 a.m.),

      You think I'm smart. Have you ever seen my TEST RESULTS? You might sing a different tune.

      As for my new baptist church, don't knock it until you've tried it. It's not a cult, and Rev. Giles is a very cool man, very funny, very spiritual, a true Christian, as much as any human being can actually live-out the Gospel.

      Hey, you may be an expert on what inspires YOU but why do you think you're an expert on the same for me? I'd love to hear more of your fantasies about my church, my experience of it, and my wonderful minister, Rev. Giles. You have NO idea what you're talking about, brother. I'll pray for you. Why don't you come to Zion some Sunday at 11 a.m. and seek me out. I sit in the second row on the right side as you enter the church from James Moses Drive.

      All best,

      A Man who's Trying to be a Christian

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    2. P.S.: Sorry, godless goddess, I meant "sister," not "brother," in the second paragraph.

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  6. Bob- it was I who called Dwight. I love and and I am concerned about you. PLEASE get help. Do it for your family. We are tired of your antics. It's embarrassing us. It is such a cost to everyone. Stop your nonense.

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    1. Dear Half-Identified Anonymous (May 11, 2012 at 10:47 a.m.),

      Who is "I"? If you really love me and have concern for me, why don't you meet with me to take my psychological measure?

      If you're tired of my antics, get some more sleep. Keep reading the blog. It's proven in serious research studies to be better than Ambien for getting to sleep.

      If you're embarrassed, then maybe you need some therapy. How can what I do with myself embarrass YOU, whom I don't even know?

      How much are you paying to witness my new way of life? I'm not charging anybody for my comedy or my legal advice.

      And what the heck is "nonense." Is that some sly reference to your refusal to reveal who you are, i.e. you're kind of a non-entity?

      What sort of help, beyond seeing my psycho-therapist once a week, would you have me get? He does not think I need any additional help.

      I do think you have a bit of an overwrought sense of responsibility. Are you by any chance jewish, have a jewish mother, or hate your mother's chicken soup? Any of those things might lead you to be as guilt-ridden as you appear to be for people you have no decision-making responsibility for, namely, my family and me.

      All best,

      A Man Who's Not a Nonense (whatever that is)

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    2. Stop this nonsense Bob....PLEASE

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    3. And why do you have be so anti-sematic?

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    4. Dear Semi-Semantic Anonymous (May 11, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.),

      Do idiots like you give me these gifts on purpose?

      Of course I'm not anti-sematic. I purposely wear clothing with conspicuous colors to warn predators that I am a poisonous animal.

      All best,

      An Ace-Speller and A Colorful Character

      P.S., dummy:

      se·mat·ic (s-mtk)
      adj.
      Serving as a warning or signal of danger. Used especially of the coloring of some poisonous animals.

      sematic [sɪˈmætɪk]
      adj
      (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology) (of the conspicuous coloration of certain animals) acting as a warning, esp to potential predators
      [from Greek sēma a sign]

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    5. Anonymous May 11, 2012 12:53 PM
      Stop this nonsense Bob....PLEASE

      Dear No Sense Anonymous (May 11, 2012 at 12:53 p.m.),

      Why would I want to stop acting in such a way that people like you, who apparently have nothing better to do than attempt to officiously inter-meddle in my life, choose to drive yourself nuts about the way I life.

      Not a chance.

      All best,

      A Man who makes all the sense in the world

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  7. Dear Mr. Bob- you really don't get it do you? You're going to wake up some day and realize how much of an idiot you are....how you wasted your life and ruined it. Or maybe you won't and ignorance will be bliss.

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    1. Dear Blissful Anonymous (May 14, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.),

      What don't I get? I began waking up in the summer of 2010 and realized I was spending too much of my life doing things I didn't enjoy. I've made radical changes in my life and continue down that path. There isn't a single day I regret anything I've done.

      Life is a long time, from the human perspective. From God's perspective, it's a flash of lightning and then....darkness?! I've been given, given myself really, a second chance at life. YOU think I'm an idiot. Far be it from me to try to change your way of thinking about me. That's up to you. But I'll tell you this: had I not changed my life, "ruined it," as you put it, I might have chosen to end my life. I HAD to change it, to survive.

      What, exactly, is it about the way I live which leads you to call it idiotic? I've retired from the law. I don't have to make payroll every other week, do work I came to dislike. I've now arranged it so I play 24/7. I write, dance, make fun of myself and the idiotic aspects of human life. What's so bad about that?

      Perhaps you envy what you see I had in my old life and don't know how to get it for yourself within the rules of the game. That's YOUR problem, not mine.

      You'll have to be a lot clearer about your point in order for me to understand what you're talking about, and a lot more persuasive for me to consider agreeing with you. I don't.

      All best,

      A Man who loves the new life he's chosen

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  8. Dear Bob- you an idiot

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    1. Dear Non-Grammatical Anonymous (May 15, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.),

      When you say, "you an idiot," do you realize you've failed to write an English sentence? Therefore, I have no way of knowing whether you mean one of the following, or something else:

      "You (i.e. Bob). An idiot (i.e. you, sir)."

      "You (i.e. Bob) are an idiot."

      I infer from your inability to write a complete English sentence that you are either:

      A non-native writer of English.

      A virtually uneducated person whose primary language, barely, is English.

      An idiot, un-educable.

      A native genius, in some culture, who never received much formal education. Perhaps, in this case, you were held captive by wolves in a forest redoubt during your formative years. If so, I have great compassion for you.

      That about sums up what I can infer, without more clues, about you. Thanks SO much for writing to me, or whatever it is you call that string of poorly-connected English words.

      All best,

      A Literate Man with great compassion for Illiterates like you

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