Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Ever Happened to Marco?

I am not dangerous but I’m definitely going a little stir crazy this summer. It could be worse, though. My old friend Marco seems to have taken a spectacular swan dive off the deep end.

Usually I have a big vacation to coordinate. That is how I keep sane. It is not so much that I enjoy travel. Truthfully, my vacations tend to be long, brutal hikes -- more about catharsis and pain than relaxation. Mostly I enjoy planning for them and recalling them after the fact -- through pictures and shared stories. Still, exhausting myself has two benefits. It clears the brain and it makes me appreciate home. Everyone needs a release to keep from flipping out.

It has probably been eighteen years since I saw Marco. We were college buddies who became friends through our work with fringe causes at the University of New Hampshire. He was the daring, charismatic leader who got all the girls. I was the more cautious strategist who tried to keep out of harm’s way. Together we helped coordinate the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador and even brought Abby Hoffman to speak on campus. He was also involved with the Gay and Lesbian alliance, despite his decidedly straight orientation. Later in college, if I remember correctly, he helped found a group of sensitive men who would get together and talk about the challenges of being male. It was one of those groups where big men gave each other awkward hugs, tears were shed and everyone felt validated and appreciated. Truth be told, I only went once. I prefer playing poker or racquetball where I get my validation by crushing an equally aggressive opponent.

Anyhow, Marco was definitely in touch with his sensitive side. He was a burly Italian fellow -- a friendly back-slapper. I always figured he would become a therapist or a childcare worker. I liked him and admired him as a leader, even if I didn’t really want to hug him.

I have very few details and have only followed his life through the Internet. I don’t know when the downward slide began. It may have been going on for a long time for all I know. The first indication I had that things were a little rocky for Marco was an article that a friend sent along about a position that Marco had held at the parks department of a small town in New Hampshire. I don’t remember the details but it appears that the job didn’t go very well. The upshot is that the town decided it was necessary to hire a private investigator to follow Marco. An article to that effect was posted by the local paper’s web site. I have to imagine that this job did not end particularly well.

The next I heard of Marco was via Facebook. Through one of my old college friends I found Marco and befriended him in the non-committal way that one befriends other netizens. Nothing came of the virtual “friendship“. I don’t think we even exchanged more than one line of greeting. He has since taken his page off of Facebook so you will not find him among my friends.

Yesterday I heard a bit more news about Marco. It was not good news at all. It seems that he has left behind the cool, relaxed demeanor of old. It is hard to know the real story but a police website reports that Marco has gone berserk. Apparently Marco’s physician accused Marco of faking a prescription for pain killers at the local pharmacy. On the basis of this accusation, the physician refused to grant Marco an appointment. There must have been some harsh words because the argument quickly escalated into a fight. In the end, Marco punched the doctor. He then picked up a nurse, turned her over and dropped her on her head, breaking bones. It is, indeed, fortunate that he did not break her neck.

There is no apology for Marco’s actions. What he did was the act of a dangerous man and he needs to be punished and confined. However, I have a hard time imagining how he could have become so desperate and angry in the eighteen years since I last saw him. It makes me really wonder about the safety of pain medication.

I have changed Marco’s name for this blog. I don’t want to make his life any harder than it already is. I only hope that he can somehow get beyond this and return to his former self. He was once a really great guy.

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