Monday, August 2, 2010

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Following the death of a troubled famous person (i.e. Kurt Cobain) people often say "if I had known him, I would have been there for him." My thought is, hell you would have. Think about the troubled people that you actually do know. Are you there for them or do you avoid them because they make you uncomfortable? Well, that's exactly how you would have treated Kurt Cobain, or whomever. There is a certain glamor or mystique about such people that makes them appealing, whether they thought themselves to be "glamorous" or "mysterious" in any way or not. If you knew them in real life, they'd be just another unhappy individual that you couldn't be bothered with. So, let's cut the crap, shall we? Sure, it's cool to think "I could have been the one to save Kurt Cobain if only I'd known him." Well, you can't. And what about all the potential "Kurt Cobains" that one ignores because they're too depressing to be bothered with? What do you think Kurt Cobain was? He was an unhappy guy with a talent. Only this and nothing more.
What if you were on the other side of the world and happened to know this fellow, the best description of whom is "he was a nice guy with a lot of personal and mental problems." His name was Per Yngve Ohlin, and although he is less well known than Kurt Cobain, he too had a degree of musical talent and his stage image has well outlived whatever he actually was as a person. His mental disturbances went beyond severe depression. As someone who has studied psychology I don't believe that schizophrenia was an accurate diagnosis, but it's close enough for the general public. He did suffer from some sort of psychosis. He wasn't dangerous, but do you think you would really have wanted to keep company with someone who talked about death all the time and believed himself to already be dead? Perhaps you  already know people who suffer from delusions. Do you make their acquaintance, or do you run the mile?
Woulda Coulda Shoulda is easy. "If I'd have known so and so I would have been there for them and I would have helped them if I could have." Well, you can't. It's too late for either of these guys. They both committed suicide a long time ago. Nobody was able to help them. But what are you doing for the mentally troubled people that we might be able to help now? Are you befriending them--or are you running the mile?