My first few years as a teenager featured many visits to the youth mental hospital, where various friends had checked in.
So many of them, smarter than the rest of us. So many minds, sharp as tacks, quick as a trigger. It was hard to imagine that something was wrong with their remarkable brains.
It’s funny that we call it mental health when it is often the emotions that have run out of control. In the environment that many of those noble minds grew up, their emotional volatility was the only sane response.
There was a sense, then, that the noble minds walking the halls of Charter Hospital were the best, the brightest – the most sane in an insane world. They were non-conformists. They were the kind that had mohawks before mohawks were seen on socially acceptable public figures. They had mohawks when mohawks still signaled punk and still signaled, “Fuck you, everyone.”
Some of those grew up to become lawyers and college professors and army officers (I’m not kidding) but we lost some of those noble minds along the way, too.
One of them, one who never went to the hospital, who kept all of his quickfire musings close, who didn’t act out so much as act in, well, we lost him later. We lost him when we thought he was all settled in with wife and child and fancy job.
And his was one of the noblest.