Tag Archives: Beast

A Very Small Casket

by Richard

Lobo wanted to be a wolf. Or a fox. Something wild and free and perfectly capable of surviving and thriving on its own. And that had a really fabulous, furry tail.

On Thursday, I sat in an overflow audience of a funeral home as we laid his small body to rest.

At only 12, Lobo still had another six months until he reached his teens, making him one of the youngest kids in his 7th grade class. Now, he will always be the youngest kid in his class. They will move on. He cannot.

I only met Lobo a couple of times. Once, he went to Hyper Lad’s birthday party and stayed the night. I enjoyed my time with him. He was a good kid, full of conversation and odd, compelling turns of mind. He wasn’t like talking to your average pre-seventh-grade kid. A while before the birthday party, Lobo hit the Renaissance Fair and came home with a fox tail. A real (ish) fox tail that could be hooked over his belt, as if Lobo was a wolf (or fox) in reality and was just slumming it as a human for a little while.

His death hit the school hard. Hyper Lad’s best friend Scruffy was very close with Lobo and, in fact, was the one who introduced Lobo to Hyper Lad. Scruffy wasn’t dealing at all well with his friend’s death, moreso because of the way Lobo died.

Over the weekend, Lobo killed himself. While his dad was out of the house, Lobo found something strong enough, tied a slip knot in it and then hung himself until dead.

During the funeral service, I watched as Lobo’s dad, who had already survived the death of Lobo’s mom from beast cancer, came to the fresh realization again and again that his son would not be sitting up from the casket, would not be laughing over the joke he’d played. Watching Lobo’s dad was like watching. . . I’m trying to think of a horrible metaphor to drive home the point, but the problem is I can’t think of anything more horrible than what he went through.

I won’t — can’t — put myself into the mind of a 12-year-old who considers that the only way to make his pain stop was to end his life. I just can’t make that kind of conceptual  or emotional leap. I don’t know what went through Lobo’s head or why the help so many people tried to give him wasn’t enough.

That’s only one of the tragedies left behind when someone takes his own life. No one can know for sure if there wasn’t just that one little bit of help they could have offered, just one word that might have made a difference. Not knowing can be the second-worst part, behind only missing the one who’s gone

Because I’m a parent and I’m constitutionally incapable of not turning any situation into a teachable moment, I talked to all three of our young dudes about suicide. We talked about Lobo and what he did. And we straight-out talked to each of the young dudes about suicide. Having been through adolescence before, we know what fresh hell it is every day. Thoughts both good and bad roar through adolescent minds, each given equal weight, and adults never know where they will land.

No matter how bad their problems, we told our young dudes, no matter how heavily it bears down on your back, it will pass. It might not get better, it might only be that the pain comes from somewhere new, but this pain will pass. And there will be something new in your life. There will be another reason to wake up tomorrow, another reason to look forward to your next breath.

Ending your life, ends forever the possibility that you will once again feel joy. You will die knowing only pain. That would be a shame. There is so much joy in life, so many wonderful things to be seen, if only the eyes of the depressed were capable of looking past the agony parked on their souls.

If you out there are one of those people who can’t see beyond the hopelessness of the next breath, who can feel only the pain of a life gone horribly wrong, there is help. I won’t say hope, but there is help. Even if you can’t reach out to someone you know, there are caring people out there right now who want nothing more than to listen to you, to listen to your problems and commiserate with your woes.

There are folks out there right now who want to hear from you. The national suicide prevention lifeline is at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It’s open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Don’t wait. If you think your friend is contemplating suicide, be a better friend and talk to someone about it. Better for your friend to be mad at you because you brought in an outsider.

Suicide is a voluntary act. You can stop it, but it’s up to you. Choose wisely. There is more to life than pain.

I only wish Lobo could have known that before he decided there was no other way out.

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And The Countdown Begins. Again.

by Richard

Well, you dudes have had a good month and a half off from having to hustle out into the cold, cruel world and search for the perfect gift for your wife, girlfriend, partner, significant other. That’s far too long.

So let’s shake things up and we’ll invent something called Valentine’s Day and we’ll make it all about love and then we’ll amp the commercial aspects of this thing and force school kids to send Valentine’s Day cards to all their classmates even if they don’t like them and we’ll make sure you can’t get through this and keep your relationship going without buying something nice and. . .

Okay, I might be exaggerating just a tad there. Maybe.

Still, Valentine’s Day is an interesting beast. Coming as it does in the middle of February, there’s not much around it, thankfully, so it seems as if this holiday got put there just to break up the winter monotony. Sure I could be wrong, but the cynical choice can be depended on to be the right choice a lot of the time. Even when it’s not, it still sounds like you know what you’re talking about so you will do it again and again.


Valentine’s Day is coming up on Feb. 14 and it’s this day, no other, that we’re supposed to celebrate our love for the people with which we’re in a relationship. Never mind the other 354 days in the year, don’t worry about showing your love on those days, no this is the one that counts.

Blow this one and you’re in a ship-load of trouble. A veritable ship-load, I tell you.

So, you know, no pressure.

The traditional gifts are flowers and chocolate. You know you don’t want to make either of those the centerpiece of your gift. You’ll get that polite smile and smek on the cheek, but behind her eyes you’ll see the crushing disappointment, the despair and the sure and certain knowledge that you really don’t understand her and never will, you jerk.

What are you supposed to do, then, if you can’t go with the traditional?

Oddly, I’ve found that one of the best ways to do this is just to ask. Not blatantly, you understand, subtly. Look over mail-order catalogs with her, see what she likes; or force yourself to go window shopping with her.

No matter what you choose, make sure it’s something personal. I mean, she might really need and want a new iron, but that’s not going to get you any points come Valentine’s Day.

Best of luck, dudes!

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Fair Warning, Smoking Fingers

by Richard

November is a special month. Not only is it the month where we celebrate the birthdays of my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Celebrated As She Deserves, my nephew Crusher and me, and we celebrate Thanksgiving and the pre-Christmas holiday shopping season’s beginning, but it’s also something else.

November is NaNoWriMo. For those not in the know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a worldwide phenomenon in which people pledge to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. That averages out to about 1,670 words every day from Nov. 1-30. Seems like a lot, but a lot of people do it.

I am one of them. Sort of.

I didn’t want to just pump out 50k words and then not be finished with a book. I know I’m a procrastinator, so I know I probably would have a hard time going back and finishing. I decided to do something a bit different. I decided to write a chapter a day. I recently did an outline of the book on which I’m working and I have, oddly, 30 chapters. One chapter per day. The book’s called Reptile Wisdom and it’s proving to be a beast.

So far, I’m on track. Today is day 16 and I’m working on Chapter 16. The good news is I’m already past the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words. I’m right now averaging about 4,000 words a chapter.

My fingers are starting to smoke when they get near the keyboard.

I’m going to try and keep up with the site here for the month, but posting might be a bit light.

Just to let you know why.

Wish me luck.

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