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They tried to get Aaron on psycho pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy. He asked for diagnosis and treatment for traumatic injuries, injuries that were deteriorating without treatment, and they offered him something to make him not care that he was deteriorating. This is one of the reasons that more is not heard from medicine's victims. There are more reasons, but drugging them into stupors is one. Jeercurz kept saying, "It couldn't hurt." But it could. It could get in the way of getting treatment for the physical injuries. And it could get in the way of his being clear headed enough to try to determine how to protect future patients from becoming victims of crimes in medicine as he had.
They told him that he wouldn't know what benefits it might have if he didn't try it. That was the same argument his teenage friends had used to try to get him to try LSD. His response had been that you don't have to jump off a bridge to learn how doing that effects people. And you don't have to go to a psychiatrist and take their drugs to learn how that effects people either. He had seen other people go that route and had seen the results they got. For instance, he had seen Paul.
Paul had been getting a Jesuit education and planning to become a Priest when his teachers showed them a line of reasoning and a way of thinking that they rejected because it did not lead to their beliefs. But he kept asking what was wrong with that way of thinking. They kept repeating that it did not lead to their beliefs. He kept asking for someone to explain what was invalid about the other way of thinking. His teachers and priests could not show anything invalid, only displeasure with where it led. That, he believed, was a fault in their thinking. This other thinking was logical and honest and he was supposed to reject it because it did not confirm what his teachers wanted him to believe. To him this meant that his teachers believed in something that was not valid.
Soon he was hitchhiking around the country doing odd jobs as bereft intellectually as he could be. All of his underpinnings were gone. He thought he had lost the foundation for morality and conscience and charity and all of life's decisions. He no longer knew what to think about anything, but he noticed that even after having rejected his faith, he still did not steal, or lie, or behave in ways that seemed wrong. It took some years for him to wonder whether there was any connection between faith and charity, or faith and morality. Eventually he concluded that tying virtue to faith was dishonest. Faith, in itself, seemed a breach of integrity. It was something that Paul and Aaron discussed many times.
Paul lost about six years to the ordeal of finding new foundations and a new direction. Eventually he got a steady job as a bartender at Arnold's Bar and Grill in Cincinnati, even though he didn't really drink - nothing more than a beer or wine with dinner once in a while. After bartending had become routine, he wanted more. Not knowing what else to do, he began writing articles for the Rivertown Times, a free newspaper left in the lobbies of restaurants and service stations. After that became routine, he wanted a better career. He believed he would need a college degree for that and enrolled in the University of Cincinnati, the first time in his life he studied outside the influence of a church.
Studying only part-time, it was going to take years to get a degree. Impatiently, he applied for jobs anyway using his experience as a journalist for a free newspaper as his qualification. An advertising agency hired him. He quit bartending, quit writing for the Rivertown Times, and fell in love with Sally, a woman in the clerical pool. He was quitting college too, but was finishing the last class he has signed up for when he happened to go to Wilson Auditorium to hear a speech and met Aaron and Cinto.
They became such good friends. Paul was one of the most honest and generous people Aaron ever had met. Until they prescribed psycho pharmaceuticals to him to cure his panic attacks. In all the years Aaron knew Paul, there had been almost no mention of panic attacks. All of the episodes in life through which Aaron was his friend: when Paul's daughter was born prematurely in the front hall of their house he had been out with Aaron on a Friday night; when Paul and Sally struggled with temptations outside of their marriage; while learning how to raise Alan, their first child; taking care of aging parents; discovering that Paul had a brother he never had known about; going to the hospital in the middle of the night to hold their second child, a primie daughter; choosing a new family doctor; matters large and small of their daily lives they discussed along with the issues and art that were a continuing exploration from week to week. This went on for years, until the psycho pharmaceuticals.
Paul told Aaron about things even as small as how he chose his new family doctor. He went to see a new one named Dr. Crup and told the doctor, "We're looking for a new family doctor because our previous one died recently." Crup said, "Well, he wasn't any damn good, was he?" That was the perfect thing to say to Paul to gain his business. Paul had come to this doctor not because he had been highly recommended, but because Crup's office was downtown in a poor neighborhood where many, if not most, of his patients had no insurance and could not pay. Paul wanted his medical money to support someone doing that kind of work.
Paul told Aaron about appointments he had with Crup, like when he went to him because his back hurt. Dr. Crup said, "Give me your wallet." Paul hesitated. Crup repeated more sternly, "Give me your wallet." Paul reached into his back pocket and handed it to him. Crup said, "See how thick this is? Stop sitting on it. Okay? Now, what else you got?"
One time the news was that Paul had discovered he had a brother he never knew about. He had a mentally challenged brother who had been put in an institution before Paul was born. The family already had five children and could not manage this one too, so they put it in an institution and then had several more after that. Visiting and guiding the care of this newly discovered brother became part of Paul's routine. They had his brother over to their house when they could. The brother never was sure who they were or what was going on, but they watched out for him the rest of his life.
Another brother of Paul's brothers was Sam, a priest. Aaron and Sam became friends at Paul's house. Once in a while the three of them did something together. But then there was the day when Sam disappeared. Paul could not find him anywhere. Finally, through persistence he got someone in the church to mention a place in Texas where his brother was on a mission for a while. When Paul said the name of that place to a friend he knew from his time in the seminary, his friend became very quiet. Paul knew it meant something. His friend wasn't supposed to tell, but finally allowed Paul to understand that this was extremely serious. The place was where they sent priests who had been identified as pedophiles.
Sam turned out to be a priest whose target interest was adolescent boys. Because the diocese he was in was in so much trouble already for covering up problems of sex abuse, Sam was not going to be allowed to interact with parishioners anymore. They got him a house on the west side of Cincinnati where he lived with a boy Aaron wasn't sure wasn't an adolescent, but he assumed must be older than he appeared. The church had Sam doing paperwork for them out of his home. When Aaron visited them, when Sam was out of earshot, the boy said to him, "I'm so glad you stopped in. We never go anywhere. We never see anyone. We never have anyone over," sounding like a hemmed in wife.
Paul's young son had gotten old enough to have a crude
understanding of these issues and asked his dad if he and Aaron were
homosexuals. Paul chortled slightly and said that No, Aaron and he were just
friends who thought alike about many things. Which they did until one Friday night.
They were out at dinner when Aaron related
something he had read that week and Paul said, "And you agree with that?"
Paul merely looked away. That was so different. Everything
about his attitude and thinking was unusual that evening. Normal for other people, but
unusual for him. Instead of relishing new perspectives and
exploring them, he appeared to be rejecting the on them basis of whether or not
they were politically correct, although without saying that. Finally, after one
particular interchange, Aaron said, "What has changed?"
It took a few weeks to come out, but Paul was now taking a prescription to handle his anxiety attacks. It took a few more weeks to figure out that he had avoided telling this to Aaron because he knew Aaron's position on such things. Aaron immediately sensed the politics behind why he had not been told and said, "That's great. I'm happy if that is handling your problem," while wanting to ask, "Just how big of a problem was this?" In the years they had been friends, there had been only two times Paul had mentioned this anxiety problem. One was years before when telling a story about what it was like when got lost in the woods in up north years earlier. The other was when he decided to go freelance and work for himself.
Aaron had witnessed some of the changes in his thinking during the beginning stages of his going freelance. They were changes he had witnessed in a man when growing up too, so he understood them when he saw it happen to Paul. When he was growing up, a friend of his parents was a Harvard man who was climbing the corporate ladder at Procter & Gamble. He had married into a family in which a grandfather had been a very successful entrepreneur, so the man's wife encouraged him to break out and start his own business. There was a period of years when they were living on assets and loans. It effected the way the man thought. When they were over at his house for dinner one time, his wife asked if anyone wanted more of anything. A plate was passed to him and he put one single pea on it. The other plate that was passed received one single carrot. His daughter laughed. His son grimaced. His wife didn't want to push the issue. Aaron's family watched and understood. Eventually the man's business became very successful and he divorced his wife married someone else.
When Paul struck out on his own to work freelance, he went through a similar period. Since Aaron was rennovating a house, he had a few things he had removed from the house that he wasn't going to use, like an old carpet and an old window unit air conditioner. When Paul mentioned not being able to finish the upstairs playroom and how hot it was up there, Aaron offered his air conditioner and carpet. Paul was grateful for them and took them. A year later when he was making money, he could not imagine what he had been thinking when he put a used carpet and used air conditioner in that playroom. He threw them away and bought new. He had no awareness of the change in his thinking.
The same thing happened with the psycho pharmaceuticals. He had no awareness of the change in his thinking, or of the changes in his behavior.
Persons, places, events, and situations in this story are purely
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