I should warn you up front; this post has nothing at all to do with training or nutrition. It is not a happy story either. In fact, it might make you feel like crap so you can just stop right here if you like.
Just recently some asshole shot and killed a bunch of kids and adults. I’m not going to mention his name or the crime specifically but I’m sure you are all aware. Personally I think part of the problem is that some nut-job who is a social nobody can commit a despicable act of violence and his name will be known to millions around the world and possibly even grab the attention of the leader of the free world. To a twisted prick who has lived their life in relative obscurity this could seem like an enticing way to check yourself off the planet as opposed to hanging dead and alone in your parent’s closet. Well, it’s probably not a big deal but that piece of shit isn’t getting any notoriety from me.
I am not here to make a profound statement about the crime. What’s done is done and I’ll leave it up to more intelligent people to debate about “what we can learn from this”. I do however have a strong opinion about how the media reacts after an event like this and how they treat the people that have been directly affected by the horror.
I for one don’t need to see the crying family members, or peek in at their children’s funeral. I’m sure my mind can conjure up what those emotions and scenes will look like. I gain absolutely nothing by being privy to their sorrow. Those moments are intensely private and I am learning nothing new by being a voyeur. I will tell you why I feel this way.
I have parents that are probably not much different than yours. They weren’t perfect. I’ve learned how to be and, how NOT to be, from both of them. Regardless, I’ve always loved and respected them both.
After I got out of school I started working at the local newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This was the early nineties before the digital media boom. Back then we had a pretty big circulation and were under the Times-Mirror banner. My old man was the Local editor and worked the nightshift. He was a pretty big deal there; one of the bosses. We shared the same shift but worked in different departments. Since we both had our days free my father threw out the idea that we go golfing together one day. I always thought that golf was a “rich-old-white-guy” game and felt kind of weird getting together with my dad socially like that. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, we just didn’t have that type of relationship.
Well, fast-forward a few years and me and my father became good buddies and golfed together close to once a week. What I loved more than the golfing though was afterwards when we would get together for a beer and a sandwich at the clubhouse. My dad would smoke his Salems and tell me stories about his past until we had to get to work and put out the next morning’s paper. One story he told me gave me insight into the type of man he really was…
My dad was a young cub reporter at a newspaper in Evansville, Indiana. I’m guessing he was somewhere in his early twenties so this was probably in the late 50’s or early 60’s. A young, six year old girl from the area was raped, murdered, dismembered, and buried in a shallow grave. Her body was found and the murderer was caught. My father was given the assignment of going to the little girl’s funeral and interviewing the girl’s family members.
It was a cold, gray morning as the family huddled around the open grave. My father kept his distance. The scene was probably something you’d expect from family members grieving over such an innocent life that was snuffed out by unspeakable acts of evil. The funeral ended and the people made their way to their cars. My dad kept his distance. He couldn’t bring himself to approach anyone.
My father left the graveyard and drove to a payphone. He knew that his bosses at the paper were going to be pissed that he didn’t get the story. He was right. His editor on the end of the line was livid and told him that he had better come back with a statement from the dead girl’s family or he’d better not come back at all. His boss then told him that today was actually the deceased 6 year old girl’s birthday and that the relatives were all gathering at the girl’s parents house after the funeral. They said he had better get over there and get that interview or he wouldn’t have a job to come back to. My mother was pregnant with my second older brother at the time and my dad needed the job so he agreed to do what his boss had asked.
He walked up onto the front porch and heard the family members inside. My father looked through a window and saw that the family had gotten a birthday cake for their slain six year old daughter and they were all gathered around the table ready to light the candles. Just then the screen door opened and the murdered girl’s father approached my father and placed his hand on my dad’s chest. My old man lowered his head and shook it apologetically and said, “I know, I know, I don’t want to be here. I’m so sorry.”
The girl’s father saw my dad’s anguish and seemed to take pity on him. He said he recognized my father from the graveyard earlier. He walked my old man over to the front steps and sat him down where they both had a conversation. My father didn’t tell me everything that they spoke about but he told me one thing the man said that he would never forget. He told me that the girl’s father understood that some people in this world are just evil. Though very difficult, he understood why the murderer chopped up his daughter and buried her. The man just didn’t want to be caught and was covering his tracks. Although horribly twisted, it made sense. What the father couldn’t make sense of was the raping of a six year old girl. The father just couldn’t wrap his mind around that one.
My old man took a sip of his beer and said to me, “I never did give them that story.”
I asked my dad if his bosses were pissed, did he get fired, was he reprimanded? He took a drag off of his cigarette and shrugged me off and said, “Nah, nuthin’ happened.”
I’m sure something happened. I just know how to take a hint. My old man wanted to change the subject.
So there you have it. The exploitative, blood-thirsty press never got their story. Did they NEED to know the depths of pain that a father of a raped and murdered child feels? I would say, no. My dad also said no. But now, some fifty years later, YOU my friends and readers of my MustacheMan Training blog, got the scoop.
Hope you feel like shit.
Thanks for reading.