Saturday, October 27, 2007

Teenage Lobotomy

When I was 19 years old, I met a guy who was about 17 at the time. He was rather strange and I didn’t care to get to know him any better, as I found his presence to be disturbing. I don’t even recall his name, but I do remember that I later learned that he was one of the last people in those days to be lobotomized as part of medical therapy.

Apparently he’d been quite wild and uncontrollable, so the family physician finally suggested that a lobotomy would be the best way to go. His parents conceded and the deed was done, the crime committed, the travesty fulfilled.

After the lobotomy, among the things he did was break into a family mausoleum in the Brunswick Cemetery, open up the urns he found inside, examined their contents (“they looked like dried up bones,” he said, “not ashes”) and then scattered the contents of those urns all over the cemetery lawn. Shortly after that he climbed up into the water tower on Jekyll Island, just off the Georgia coast, opened the hatch in the roof, leaped in, and swam around in the island’s drinking water for half an hour or so before climbing back out (I always assumed he had a rope, but I never asked the witnesses for details).

I don’t know what happened to him after that, as I did my best to avoid him and anyone with whom he ran.

3 comments:

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I always thought JEKYLL ISLAND would make a good movie title. Never knew any lobotomies, but I went to college with a guy who was one of the last couple thousand of the kids born with polio. There was a redheaded guy who was "shell-shocked" from Korea and he walked the streets talking to himself, once he punched himself and dropped to the ground.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I always thought JEKYLL ISLAND would make a good movie title. Never knew any lobotomies, but I went to college with a guy who was one of the last couple thousand of the kids born with polio. There was a redheaded guy who was "shell-shocked" from Korea and he walked the streets talking to himself, once he punched himself and dropped to the ground.

HemlockMan said...

"...once he punched himself and dropped to the ground."


Harry Crews wrote a book about a guy who makes his living knocking himself out at decadent parties in New Orleans--people pay to see him punch hismself in the jaw (THE KNOCKOUT ARTIST--not one of my favorite Crews books).

I have a glass jaw, too. Once, kidding around, I pointed at my chin and said to my little brother, "Go ahead, I'll give you a free shot." And he punched and I dropped like a sack of beaten hammers. Wasn't even a strong punch.