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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Neil Lowe Thought for the Day - Feb 23 (31) RE: Thought for the Day - Feb 23 23 Feb 00

I worked a brief stint in a private clinic for schizophrenics in East Los Angeles. My duties mostly consisted of distributing Thorazine and chasing down "walk-offs" (it was a "progressive" clinic - no locks on doors or windows) who could usually be found at the corner bar bumming cigarettes. There was a guy there (probably still is - the woman for whom the clinic was named was still there after fourteen years) who, I was told, was a child prodigy at age six, a violinist from upstate New York who had won numerous competitions. Yet here he was, some fifteen years later, wandering up and down the halls, oblivious to almost everything except what was required of him from the other orderlies to receive the reward of tobacco.

"Where are you?" they would ask.

His eyes would flutter for a moment. He'd respond, "Columbia," and they would light his Marlboro for him. All he did was pace and smoke.

I wonder what sent him over the edge. Whatever it was had taken the meat of the man with it, and left an empty flesh closet meandering about in its stead. It seemed as though he'd lost his anchor to the earth. I began to think no one got out of that place alive, much less with their sanity, and when visitors began mistaking me for one of the patients, I got "the cure" and left.


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