Psychopathy is Intriguing, The Fickle Finger of Justice, and Don’t Can the Evidence

I don’t know if Ted Bundy’s ’68 Bug really qualifies as a “celebrity car,” because it’s kind of hard to envision a serial killer driving one of those.  I would probably place most psychopathic killers in old police auction Caprices or Crown Vics, if I had to profile.   Maybe today I would say a normal car like a Camry or an Accord, so as not to attract the undue attention of law enforcement.  Then again, in the ’70’s VW Bugs were “normal cars.”  I am (to my Dad’s and my son’s chagrin) not terribly enamored of air-cooled VWs for a few reasons.  Air cooling means no hot water heat, which most of us take for granted when it’s 20° below.  The old Bugs had a charming trait when it was that cold.  One would have to scrape the frost off the inside of the windshield.  The one winter- I think it was ’87 or ’88- I was unfortunate enough to have to drive the ’72 every day I got frostbite in my feet and ankles.  When I finally got another (water cooled thank God) Rabbit I was overjoyed.

I love the old Bugs as a curiosity, but as daily drivers they are a pain in the rear unless you live somewhere that’s it’s 70° and sunny with low humidity every day.  Ohio is NOT 70° and sunny every day, and the humidity is only low in the dead of winter when it’s too frozen to have humidity.   Old cars in general don’t like temperature extremes, but the Bugs are particularly temperamental.  If it’s too hot they can overheat easily, as well as it’s hotter than the stygian depths of hell in the car if it’s not moving.  I probably still  have burn scar imprints of the vinyl nubbins from the ’72’s seat emblazoned in the skin of my thighs.    If it’s too cold they are difficult to start- though they generally will run OK in the cold- but driving one in the extreme cold gives the word frigid a whole new meaning.

If you didn’t know Ted Bundy was a psychopathic serial killer, one might almost think him to be a rather hot looking dude.

I freely admit I have more than a passing interest in the macabre.  One of the reasons I took it upon myself to learn about criminal profiling and how to avoid being a victim is that I grew up witnessing a lot of bizarre shit.  Yes, I grew up in a small town, but in small towns much of the crime happens under the radar. Unless it’s something most dramatic or egregious, it gets swept under the rug.  You got to make it worth Channel 10’s while to send the Eyewitness Mobile Spy Cam 45 miles out in the middle of nowhere when there are shootings and stabbings and flaming car wrecks just up the road.

Sometimes people think that because one lives in a small town that there’s no violence or crime and everyone’s like Ozzie and Harriet or the Brady Bunch, but the reality is that small towns have never been nearly as pristine as the people who live in small towns want you to think.  There’s every bit as much scandal and probably then some- because those who live in the city just don’t have the time and energy to get so obsessed with other people’s lives.

No, this is not small town life. Not by a long shot.

It’s more like this.  Sort of like Deliverance, only without the canoes, mountains or banjos.

When I was growing up what would now be called domestic violence was just stuff that happened.  Men beat their wives and kids and it was (not right, mind you, but it was) considered normal.  One lady who lived directly behind us (and was part of the reason why Dad insisted on moving out of that house) had enough of her old man coming home drunk and beating her.  He worked at one of the local factories.  For about two weeks he didn’t show up at work.  She kept calling him in sick,  so some of his co-workers took it upon themselves to go check up on him.  When she could not explain why he wasn’t there at home in bed, the guys got suspicious.  Then as they were leaving, the door to the utility room was open. One of the guys peeked in the door and noticed shelves and shelves of large canning jars with strange looking meaty stuff in them.  She had killed him, chopped him into Mason-jar size pieces and canned his happy ass- most literally.  He was sort of a big dude, so I wonder to this day if she had a chain saw or a saws-all or did she just do it the (quieter) old fashioned way with a hacksaw?   I also wonder if she planned to eat him.  Why keep the evidence unless you’re planning to do something with it?  She probably would have gotten away with it if she’d just loaded him up in his truck and dumped him out in Killdeer Bog where the copperheads, coyotes, raccoons, possums, and other assorted swamp critters would have done away with him.

Yummy.  But they do pick the bones pretty clean.

I was about 5 years old when the Dismemberment and Canning Incident happened, because I remember asking Dad why the yellow tape said, “POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS.” I bet that was one time he didn’t appreciate my early reading ability- or hyperlexia- one bit. It was bad enough I read the newspaper, road signs, billboards and any other printed word I could view- whether I should have been viewing it or not.  I found out the full story many years later, because the local paper had a big write up on her when she was paroled.   I think she only escaped the death penalty because there was a brief window in which the death penalty was suspended in Ohio- personally I think we should take a cue from Texas and ramp it up a bit- but she was partially exonerated (I think) because her old man beat her and she was technically a battered woman.  In 1974 no one had heard of a battered woman defense, but by the late ’80’s I think that sort of thing was starting to come to light.

In this poor woman’s case (I can also remember hearing this couple’s rather heated fights in the middle of the night) I think paroling her was the right thing to do.  I know how difficult it is for a woman to leave an abusive relationship, and I also know that there’s the predatory killer who kills for the thrill of it, and the desperation killer that kills out of self-defense or even out of the reservoir of pent-up rage.

My best friend in high school had a rather nasty boyfriend who liked drugs and who got most violent when he was high.  I didn’t care much for the dude even when he wasn’t stoned, but I was completely pissed off when I’d gone to her house only to find him chasing her around with a knife.  This was back in the day before cell phones, and the nearest pay phone was about a quarter mile down the road at the Dairy Mart.  For whatever reason I hit the chronometer on my watch and ran like hell to the Dairy Mart to call 911.  It took the cops almost 20 minutes to get there, and the only reason she wasn’t dead was that he had cornered her in the bathroom and she had grabbed a behemoth can of hair spray (this was the late ’80’s after all) and bashed him in the head, putting him through the shower door and knocking him unconscious.  He was out cold when the cops got there. Bastard deserved it- but back then a woman had to press charges to get the cops to do anything, which of course she didn’t do because she was afraid of him.

Today the cops have to take someone in if they are called out and they so much as suspect domestic violence, which sort of makes sense, and then sort of doesn’t.  A poke or a shove or a little mark could all be it takes to send someone to jail for the evening and perhaps longer.   I have to wonder how many people get carted off for simply defending themselves or their kids?

Entropy in Practical Application, All is Vanity, and Balance?

Castles made of sand slip to the sea, but ill-maintained redneck houses are reclaimed by the swamp.   Entropy in action!  I think these guys thought they were going to put in a pool right next to the house.  It’s hard to see from this angle, but they dug a giant hole right next to the house for some mysterious reason.  Then the whole house started caving in and they filled in the hole again.   I’ll bet there’s not a level floor in that place, no running water, and there’s a roach colony of millions, but the satellite and big screen are working just fine.  Until the house falls in on the plasma TV, that is.  Central Ohio is all one big drained swamp.  Compromise your foundation at your peril.

I am one of those people who is all about practical application.  I seldom read fiction for that reason. I like a good story, but is it true?  Is there a practical lesson in it, or is there at least something funny, gross or macabre in it?  When I was much younger and had a lot more time on my hands, I read almost everything I could get my hands on- bodice rippers, porn-without-the-pictures, mystery-especially Agatha Christie, most of Stephen King’s novels, most of Tolkien’s works, but even then the bulk of my reading material consisted of my usual standards- scientific and historical non-fiction.

Sadly I’ve not read a fictional novel in years.  I really should broaden my horizons, and I would if I had more time for recreational reading.

I do read the Bible.  I really understand what the Teacher of Ecclesiastes was talking about.  Sometimes life seems futile and pointless and I feel like Sisyphus – I have to roll the boulder up the mountain every day only to wake up the next day and do the same pointless tasks over and over.  There truly is no satisfaction under the sun.  I get frustrated, lonely, tired and broke- and for what?  The only hope that there is purpose in life lies in the realization that it’s God’s plan and that there is a deeper meaning to life than just endless repetition and monotonous drudgery.  Sometimes it’s just really hard to see.

I couldn’t resist taking a pic of this bumper sticker, even though I managed to get my own reflection in the pic.  I have to amuse myself somehow.

On a much brighter note, the Journey show last Friday was beyond awesome.  I am a huge Journey fan and would love nothing more than to send myself back 30 years to be backstage with Steve Perry- believe that- but I am also a realist.  It’s not 1981.  Steve Perry is of the over 60 crowd, hip replacement and all.  As much as I would love to see him, and hear The Voice live, I don’t think he is physically able to tour and endure all that.  Arnel Pineda is worth seeing and hearing in his own right, and I don’t think I have ever heard Neal Schon or Jonathan Cain play better.  Journey 2011 is still very, very good.  I absolutely loved “Edge of the Moment,” which is one of the new songs from Eclipse.  I only wish they would have had time to play “Resonate” from Eclipse also, but if they would have played everything I would have wanted to hear they’d been playing all night and that’s simply not feasible- especially considering these guys are getting up in years.  Pity.

I only encountered two people who understood the t-shirt I wore to the show that says, “Neal Schon Afro Society” and has a pic of Neal from about 1977 with that ridiculous poofy ‘fro he had back then. (see the cover of Next to see what I mean- Neal is the one on the left)   But today I understand very well that a 56 year old guy with black hair is going to be coloring his hair, and the less hair one has the easier it is to keep it all one color.   Besides, a 23 year old guy looks dorky with a ‘fro like that.  A guy more than twice that age would look like Flippo the Clown with a ‘fro like that.  The ’70’s- I must say the hair and clothes were bad- but the music (grandiose, funky, fusion based rock, anyway) was good.

The nice part about this show was that everything was worth watching.  At no time did I feel compelled to make a run for snackies or to go to the john out of boredom!  Night Ranger was excellent- I particularly enjoyed Deen Castronuevo coming out to play drums during “Sister Christian.”  They also did a most wonderful rendition of Damn Yankees’ “High Enough”- even without Ted Nugent.  Foreigner was impressive as well- especially “Dirty White Boy” and “Jukebox Hero.”

You can’t turn back time, but you can learn to enjoy the moment for what it is.  I know some people might have been disappointed because they expected to see everything exactly as it was in the Big 80’s.  In some ways it was all that and more- perhaps with some different faces or arrangements or a few new twists, but who or what can remain the same forever?  Entropy, my friends- everything is moving ever closer to disorder and chaos. My boobs are heading a bit further south every day.  That’s a lovely thought.  Pink Floyd- in rather macabre Brit fashion- in the song “Time,”  put it as,  “one day closer to death.”  Might as well tell it like it is.  As for me, it was most therapeutic for once to simply sit back and enjoy the show.  Next time- if there is a next time- I really want to spring for the VIP tickets and perhaps get seats close enough to take reasonably visible pics.  You can almost see Neal in the big screen in this one.

The common wisdom about aging is that everything gets bigger, hairier and closer to the ground.  Except the tops of men’s heads, that is.  The tops of their heads might get bigger and closer to the ground, but the hair migrates to their ears.  No wonder I wondered for a moment what my Dad’s friends were doing at my class reunion, until I realized they were the guys I graduated with, and not the geezers Dad hangs out with.  Creepy.

 

Mortality, cont., Simple Thanks, “Sin Boldly,” and Whatever I Fear

 

I know it might be considered a bit morbid to troll about in old cemeteries.  As a kid cemeteries used to scare the living hell out of me (along with just about everything else, so go figure) but today I find certain cemeteries to be particularly serene.  In spite of the “buy one get one free” sign in front of the cemetery (Chapel Heights Memorial Gardens) where my grandparents are buried, it’s actually a very peaceful place to hang out.  People fish in the creek that runs in front of the cemetery which could be seen as irreverent by some, but I don’t think my grandparents would mind.  They always enjoyed fishing.

I’ve always loved willow trees.  This is the view of the creek that runs in the front of the Chapel Heights Memorial Gardens.  The peculiar thing about Chapel Heights, as far as cemeteries go, is that the only grave markers they allow are simple flat ones- like Grandpa’s Army marker. There are no obelisks, or statues, or ostentatious carvings. From a distance it simply looks like a park.  The beauty there is more natural than historical.   When the weather improves some (but before the mosquitoes take over) I will need to take another roadtrip up there to just sit and hang out for an afternoon.

My favorite cemetery (now that does sound morbid, but what the hey) from a historical perspective, is the Marion Cemetery – right across from the Harding Memorial on SR 423. The Merchant Ball is there, and you can see where it rotates on its base even though no one can explain how or why it does.   Some of the best examples I have seen of maudlin Victorian era gravestones anywhere are in the Marion Cemetery.  I have taken pics of a few of them (the one at the top of this page is one of my favorites) but I don’t have enough space in my memory card for all the really good ones.  I could literally spend a week in there wandering about and taking pics of cool old Victorian headstones.   There must have been a lot of people in Marion back in the day with a LOT of scratch to spend on their dead relatives from the looks of the monuments in the Marion Cemetery.  Today the place is so poor I’m surprised that anyone who dies now gets a burial or a grave marker at all.  If I would have to make an educated guess, cremation has probably become the dispatch method of choice for the dead, simply for the cost effectiveness.  From another practical viewpoint, I have to wonder about the wisdom of burying dead people in a reclaimed swamp.  Burying people in the ground- even in concrete vaults and steel coffins- doesn’t strike me as being terribly sanitary considering the high amount of rainfall and the poor drainage that is inherent to Marion County- and the rest of Central Ohio.

I am thankful the dryer works.  It can dry a large load in about 90 minutes which is encouraging.  90 minutes is a lot faster than 3 hours plus.   It feels good to have the laundry caught up. It is a relief to know that if I want to wash the dogs, or wash all the living room quilts that cover the furniture, I can.   I washed my bed sheets and blankets yesterday.  Since the dogs like to sleep in the beds I have to wash everything often, otherwise it ends up covered in hair and smelling like dog funk.  I’m glad that Lilo is really the only one of the three that ever gets much of a funk to her.  Clara has almost no odor, likely because of her short coat and sparse undercoat.  Sheena I can’t really explain.  She should reek to high heaven with her thick undercoat,  (Heidi and Kayla were purebred GSDs- and they both reeked no matter how often they were bathed) but for a dog with such a thick coat Sheena is remarkably clean-smelling. 

As far as my ongoing quest to live authentically (which is how I understand Martin Luther’s instruction to “sin boldly”- here is a link to a better theological understanding of that instruction) I can only appeal to the grace of God to overcome my fear.  I can only trust that He will give me the courage and the discernment to do the right thing- and the forgiveness I inevitably need when I screw up.

I’d like to have a spontaneous and unfettered approach to life.  Not being dead broke all or most of the time would help, which would require me to (somehow) get Jerry to pay for his fair share of things instead of just footing the bill myself because I know he throws major fits every time I request money.  He can go to the hell hole and blow hundreds of dollars and to him that’s quite fine, but if Steve-o needs $50 to pay his electric bill and I don’t have it, it’s a Federal case.  Jerry can be generous when he wants to be, (especially to his family, except Steve-o of course) but he simply doesn’t get it. No matter what method I use to explain it to him- spreadsheets, calendars, letting him see my bank statement, etc. he just doesn’t get it that I’m not randomly blowing money on frivolous and unnecessary things (such as beer, cigarettes or gambling, but I digress.) 

One time when I asked him for money because I was dead broke after paying the car insurance, he actually accused me of having an illicit drug habit!  I don’t.  I can’t even drink with the medical issues I have. Most of the illicit drugs out there would probably kill me outright.  He should thank God I’ve never been into crystal or the white powder, or I’d probably ripped his head off and shit down his neck hole years ago.    

Technically one could say that I do have a “drug habit” – but all the drugs I take are prescribed by my Dr.- and are pretty much essential to keep me vertical and above ground.  Otherwise I wouldn’t bother with expensive (though non-frivolous) things like blood pressure meds and insulin.  It’s not like I have the Dr. write me scripts for high dollar face Nair and that stuff that’s supposed to make your eyelashes grow.  (WTF?)  I simply don’t make enough money to pay for everything – stuff like car payments, the exorbitant amounts for various insurances, scripts, groceries, gasoline, etc. and so on- for both of us.  If I did have enough money to pay for it all, believe me, I wouldn’t ask.  I would just pay and keep my mouth shut.

I do draw the line at a few of Jerry’s vices.  I refuse to buy his beer, smokes, or to support his gambling habit. 

In his favor he does pay his own truck payment, and he has to buy his own beer, smokes and lottery tickets. 

Very few things terrify me and stress me out more than arguments about money.  I’ve never been a person of means, and I’ve had to scrape and pinch and rob Peter to pay Paul my entire life.  My parents were never people of means either.  Their most heated and (verbally) violent arguments were always centered around money and (almost always) the lack thereof.  Nothing would send Dad into a rage quicker than anything involving money.   I can’t blame him.  There were times when we were growing up when he had to make the choice between paying the mortgage and utilities or buying food or medical care. 

As a kid I remember weeks of eating pretty much nothing but Cream of Wheat or no-name Mac & Cheese to get by because there was no money for food.  I remember going without things like glasses or dental visits for years at a time, because there was no money in our household for preventive care. Before I could drive it really didn’t matter if I had glasses or contacts or not, so I just dealt with it.  Ignoring my health is likely how I ended up with rheumatic fever too, (you get it from untreated strep infections) because it came to a point when I would refuse to tell anyone I was sick, and I’d even try to deny it even if I was clearly deathly ill.  I knew they couldn’t afford the Dr. visit or whatever scripts he might prescribe- and I didn’t want to hear their fight about how much it cost and how they don’t have the money after the fact.  Now I have permanent heart valve and joint damage.

I should know better at this point in my life.  It’s not about lack of money, but how “household” money is being used.  Right now Jerry pretty much pays his truck payment and sustains his own vices and thinks that’s all he needs to do- while I’m footing the bill for Steve-o,  as well as Jerry’s scripts, Jerry’s food, all the insurances, etc. he insists on having even though it’s overkill, and so on. 

I am dead afraid of letting him get a taste of reality because I know he will do anything he can to punish me for it.

Why I am browbeating myself for expecting Jerry to act like an adult and take responsibility for his fair share is beyond me.  I’m glad he bought the dryer, because I really despise crunchy clothing and I’m not going to the laundromat, but in perspective, that dryer cost less than one month of all the various life insurance that gets deducted out of my checking account- on his insistence- every month.  The dryer is also a replacement for the one I bought for $350 back in 2000 that he has had the use of for the past 11 years, if you really wanted to play tit-for-tat.

I don’t think I owe him obeisance for anything.  For all intents and purposes I kiss his ass to keep the peace- but I of all people should know that feeding alligators only makes them hungrier.  Appeasement is Obama’s foreign policy and it’s not working for him either.

I know what I’m doing.  I don’t like it, but I need to find the courage to change it.