There are often great discussions in life that only when we look back do we see how much they mattered. I had such a discussion with Jean McGrew when he ran district #225 and I was on the board. The basic issue was whether appearance or substance is the more important element in all things north shore. While that may seem like an odd sentence, those that live here will either immediately understand or no amount of explanation will help.
Jean's position was firmly that appearance ruled the day and I, of course was a substance fan. We agreed that having both was preferable but if only one could be had, then we deviated.
I've often seen that same discussion played out in all sorts of area's in life. A slight derivation on the topic is the phrase "lace curtains" as in all appears tranquil and in it's place from the outside but inside can be quite different. As you can imagine I see that most days in my work. Often it takes the form of expensive cars, big home and living paycheck to paycheck. It can also play out in social position and perceived power. The made for TV show "Boss" is but one example of this. All the power in the World, family in ruins.
It's also of interest that when the two worlds of appearance and substance begin to collide how aggressive and controlling behavior can become in trying to right the ship back to appearance and away from substance. I've said previously the movie "Ordinary People" sheds an extraordinary and insightful light on this topic. In writing this Blog I've run into it on a few occasions and I expect even more of it, if I do it correctly. Besides, I have standing in that I grew up here and still work here.
For example, lets say you've got a person who shows obvious signs of odd behavior, extreme emotion out of context and thinking that appears to have little to do with reality (those who've read previous posts know this as mental illness). Lets say this person disrupts those around him or her to the point that authorities are asked to manage the situation and do a piss poor job of it. Apparently what I'm supposed to do is turn a blind eye to the situation and ignore it. Heaven forbid it's openly discussed or pointed out. For God's sake don't place a light on it; it doesn't appear as it should.
Today I was on the receiving end of some of that controlling behavior. My response is the animals have already left the barn so rushing to close the doors is of little help. I realize those closest to the situation want the nightmare to end but hushing me up won't do that. History is already written and published in the local papers and the tribune as well. The best possible end to this story is a change in direction and the mental health system actually working; working on the substance and altering it rather than changing the appearance.
You really have to ask yourself at some point (if you're a substance person) how it comes to be that a governmental body with an approximate budget of $73 Million results to banning people from Village Hall and charging them with misdemeanor telephone harassment instead of getting a good, solid, and contributing family in the community the help they need to deal with an apparent mental health issue.
The next installment of my Blog will spell out, according to known law, how to get the help that's needed.
In honor of an old friend who will be missed I think this passes the test.
Is it the truth? Yes
Is it fair to all concerned? I think so if "all" really does mean everyone.
Will it build good will and better friendship? Not in the beginning but in the long run.