The Phaserl


The Problem of Mercy

by Gayle, The Burning Platform:

A friend of mine, aged 59, lies in the hospital in what is probably the end stages of coronary artery disease. The long and winding road to this status is marked with a plethora of bad decisions. Born into the chaotic world of two alcoholics, his young life was characterized by emotional neglect and was devoid of any role modeling of perseverance, integrity, or wisdom. Launched into adulthood without a high school diploma and only military experience as any sort of preparation for a successful life, he opted for heroin addiction and the comprehensive pathology which it ensures.

Unable to hold a job for any length of time, he nevertheless married and fathered three children who were soon removed from him and adopted by others. Numerous incarcerations at the county and state level littered his prime adult years, interspersed with homelessness or minimal living conditions. In his mid-forties he finally got clean and cobbled together the semblance of a normal life. He still could not sustain employment, however, and physical problems began to plague him. Between the VA and SSDI, he has had literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of surgeries (including a triple bypass), procedures, and rehabilitation efforts. The criminal justice system provided glasses and dentures and job training. He has had four failed marriages and has not succeeded by any other measure of manhood.

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