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Blog: Who IS This Guy?

(originally written 12/19/18)

Talk about out of character!

A short while back, I arrived at Kaiser for my regular psych appointment.

As I sat down, a woman roughly 55-60 entered, surprisingly still upright. After all, she was leaving a virtual river of tears behind her on the slick floor.

This lady had no appointment but was pretty desperate to speak to someone. A therapist, a doctor, Hulk Hogan, anybody. (If you follow the SFBA news, you've heard of the Kaiser psych strike; one of their issues is the wait time for appointments—people in mental distress are often forced to wait 4-6 weeks just for an hour session.)

Since she seemed like (no exaggeration) she would run in front of a bus without some help, the staff worked to get someone for her. In the interim, she sat in the lobby and bawled. And bawled. And bawled. This was a person emotionally destroyed, basically inconsolable. Obviously, whatever troubled her was bigger than just Hulk Hogan losing the championship belt.

When I was off my meds and basically unhappy all the time, I'd have told this woman (in my head) to shut the f--- up, or take it outside, or some other unkind remark. I'd have doubted anything was wrong with her at all and accused her of attention-seeking. Boy, depression can turn you into a mean, skeptical, unsympathetic ass.

But medicated, I actually felt...I don't want to say compassion...but perhaps concern for this person.

Which led me to act, as I was the only other person there.

Mind you, there's a better chance of unmedicated Skillz bodyslamming Hulk Hogan than approaching a sobbing stranger with concern. But medicated Skillz has a little heart, as proven when I actually sat next to this woman and offered an ear.

"MY CAT DIED!" she wailed, like a bona fide six-year-old.

Now, just because I'm medicated doesn't mean I'm mature, and it took all I had to not burst out laughing—that just wasn't the reply I expected. Still, I sat there and listened, asked what I hoped were the right questions, anything to try and comfort this devastated being. It had no real effect. She never really let up for more than a few seconds.

Still, the fact I even tried must mean all these damn pills work.

More anti-depressant testimonial:

A couple weeks later, I was in line at our local Target. Directly in front of me was a woman around 70 and clearly on a tight budget—she had the cashier ring each item one-by-one and ultimately discard about 10 of them once the total came.

I have no idea why, but I decided I was going to ride to the rescue like the noble hero I pretend to be sometimes. (Like when Hulk Hogan helped the A-Team save a youth center from the mob. Those wiseguys never had a chance! But I'm not here to talk about the past.)

I chose to wait until the granny left so she'd have no opportunity to refuse help, then instructed the cashier to charge me for the leftover goods (mostly canned stuff, about $15 worth).

Naturally, things just couldn't go smoothly because the cashier didn't understand what I was trying to do (hopefully due to rarity and not density). Time was of the essence, as the granny was nearly out of the store by now.

Impatiently, I re-explained my mission and FINALLY completed my magnanimous act. Obviously, I wanted NO attention called to myself, but the cashier just had to ramble on about how good I was, Jesus is watching, blah blah blah.

Fortunately, granny's parking space was basically two towns over, allowing me to catch up and pass her the bag. At first, she thought she'd just left one behind. Upon correction, she was over the moon, hugged me, called me "Brother Joe" and said a prayer for me right there holding my hands in the parking lot as stray shopping carts whizzed by.

Let me stress something to you people: there is zero chance I'd have done this before. I viewed everyone as untrustworthy; would have assumed Granny was just trying to run a scam to get free stuff (as ridiculous as that sounds). So out of character is it for me to give two s---s about a cat lady and/or a can lady I didn't know. The power of medicine...

Now, I might be a generous fat guy but don't call me Santa yet because I still won't give to bums or random "charity" buckets or some ho seeking cash rewards for being half-naked. But helping somebody's granny eat is, as of now, definitely within my capabilities.

Brother, what'cha gonna do, when 10,000 Hulkamanaics BUY FOOD FOR YOU???

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