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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

The Kindness of Strangers

From time to time I write an essay of the great kindness some complete stranger has done me.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

Thursday June 21, 2018


Before we set out for our journey we must have a discussion among ourselves so as to come to a consensus that this memoire is by no means a work of fiction.

What follows is The Gospel Truth.

I Am Absolutely Serious.

Benevolent Overseers

Late one night in the Summer of 2012, when I was quite tired, I was hanging out with some irreverently youthful skateboarders in the public square in Paso Robles, California.

They and I chatted for a little but soon I grew sleepy enough that I knew I would do well to find some place out of the way and so safe for me to bed down for the night.

I wandered around downtown for perhaps five minutes when a patrol car pulled up in front of me and stopped then the cop in the passenger seat rolled down his window.

"Hey Mike!" How did he know my name?

"Did you lose your iPhone?"

I frowned in puzzlement then searched my pockets.


He handed it back to me.

"Don't lose your iPhone. That's how we're keeping track of you!"

Then he rolled up his window and the patrol car pulled away.

That I've had these experience from time to time throughout my entire life is what has many convinced angels really _do_ walk among us.

There are times that I am so convinced so well.

But there are other times that I figure it's just the laws of probability.

There are in reality a great _many_ compassionate strangers who Walk Our Earth.

That they are randomly distributed leads them to be always unexpected.

But those same laws also govern their distribution

I had quite a reasonable theory for quite a long time but have come to regard it as premature.


It's important that you understand that what follows is The Gospel Truth:

I once hung with the wrong crowd.

I am a witness to the gangland execution of a drug informant.

"This is what happens when you talk."

The terrorized young man who in happier times was the kingpin's friend had his back to a concrete basement wall. His executioner held in his hands a homemade and therefore completely untraceable fully-automated machine gun.

That I kept quiet for well over twenty years is due to my profoundly desperate hope to spare the life of that kingpin's lady.

I need to go home now.

But I will tell you this:

That the Paso Robles Police Department knew me by name and kept track of me through my iPhone quite likely resulted my finally dropping that kind of dime to the right kind of guy:

A Portland Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent. I Am Absolutely Serious.

I gave that man all _manner_ of Probable Cause to tap that lady's phone.

But to tap mine?

"You have my _permission_."


My Mom's loan of a $500 check and forty bucks in cash arrived here at NedSpace a few hours ago.

Had it not come today I knew I must not try to sleep on my office floor again for surely I would be sleeping in the psychiatric inpatient unit by tomorrow night.

A two and a half hour TriMet/C-TRAN Regional Transfer Ticket is $2.50.

I just blew my last five bucks on a Motion Picture Of Ill Repute.

Because I just had to find some manner of way to deal with my so very turbulent feelings that are the result of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of the most amazingly beautiful young woman who have requested my Facebook Friendship with ever-increasing frequency over the last four or five months.

Just yesterday, Jenny asked me to be the father of her three year old son Carl.


Jenny is young enough that if I do for her what I asked her to do for me:

"What do want in a woman?"

"Open and honest communication."

And if I capture Jenny's heart when I sing to her during our very first phone call this evening...

That somehow, someway...

An incredible stranger will grant my maternal grandfather the incredible kindness of enabling me to pass on his incredible briliance, his gifted insight into surgery, his charm and his passion for music

... to just one more generation in hopes that I can somehow...

... some way...

pass on into eternity...

the legacies of all _five_ of my grandparents.

You see, Captain Estel Rex Speelmon MD took his own life in the Summer of 1947. Howard Swope was not my blood relative but Florence Stevens' second husband...

... when my mother Patricia Ann and her twin sister Martha Jean...

... were of but seven years of age.

But I have but one question:

Surely there is some reason?

That it happens at such crucial moments, that it spared my very life so very many times, that in the last few years these kind strangers visit me with ever increasing frequency so much so that during the last few hours I accepted the Friendship Requests of _hundreds_ of amazingly beautiful young women?

Surely it can't be random?

Surely it can't be my own paranoia?

Surely there is some reason?


Interlude for a Warm Summer Evening

Our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness,
provided that madness is given us by divine gift.
-- Socrates

One morning in April 1994 I turned up for my weekly therapy with Dr. K. forty-five minutes late. She was angry but consented to give me my remaining fifteen minutes.

I scared the crap out of her with my odd statement in which I said "I don't need this anymore," then handed her my copy of James Bamford's "The Puzzle Palace", a meticulously-researched history of the National Security Agency. It designs new military and displomatic codes and cracks the codes of foreign nations. It's National Reconnaissance Office operates our spy satellites while an unclassified civilian division labors to secure our nations computers for example with its introduction of Security Enhance Linux or SELinux.

"OK," she said with clear concern.

I said "I have a gift for you," then handed her a 6 by 9 manila envelope.

She opened it then withdrew a somewhat smaller envelope. Glancing sharply at me she then withdrew from it a still smaller envelop then faster and faster ever smaller ones then abruptly stopped with a look of sheer terror in her eyes.

"Mike, you need to go to the hospital. Please let me take you."

"No, Dr. K. I'm just fine."

"You're software is buggy, Mike."

Many people have their own personal language dialects. For example my mother doesn't know what "Gigabytes" are but she knows very well she must never run out of them, so from time to time I visit her home that I might tidy up her iMac so as to set free some of Mom's gigabytes.

While I honestly felt I was completely rational I did then and still do now love Dr. K. as if she were my own mother, so I reluctantly consented.

Joan Junquera, the Dominican Santa Cruz Hospital's Mental Health Unit's Intake Psychologist suggested I was experiencing a "Spiritual Emergency". There are a few lucidly-written articles that explain them such as:

A new friend once asked how he could tell I was manic. He'd never seen it before.

"I compose poetry,"

For me to go on for hours with rhyme and meter is a wailing klaxon's warning that I've flipped my lid. For my entire life I have wanted in the very worst way to compose poetry but all of my effort during times of lucidity fall flat or are stillborn.

Upon further reflection, no, that's not Bipolar Mania for me to compose poetry is the very-most serious form of Psychosis.

Funny, wouldn't you agree that during a Facebook Messenger conversation with my new girl Jenny Smith late in the afternoon a couple days ago my end of our conversation went on for hours in Iambic Pentameter?

Consider this apparently innocent text that I sent Jenny:

I take enough psychiatric medication to sedate a thundering heard of bison".

I really did that out to her.

Slice into segments each with an equal number of syllables:

I take enough psychiat- / -ric medication / to sedate a thund- / -ering herd of bison.

Now give each segment its own line:

I take enough psychiat-
-ric medication
to sedate a thund- -ering herd of bison.

Now apply your government-issued photograph-bearing Poetic License to alter each word's stressed syllable so as to give each segment rhythm and meter:

I take e-NOUGH psyche-I-at-
-RIC med-I-ca-TION
-er-ING herd of BI-son.

For three solid days now I've been going on like that all day long, not just in my text messages but also the inner voice of my mind.

Thus I found myself dumbstruck when I discovered that much of my two 2010-2012 works of fiction - Solving the Software Problem as well as what I just today chose to entitle The Convenient Hallucination: Two Essays For All Humanity while apparently lucid prose were in reality even then composed in Iambic Pentameter.


There is one way by which I might get back to sleep, one that I looked into twice in the days of my youth.

There is one way by
which I might get back
to sleep one that I
looked into twice in
the days of my youth.

Both texts are roughly one hundred pages each when printed on US Letter stock.

Much of their wording doesn't quite scan as Iambic Pentameter but as I've been updating their presentation templates as I republish each page while transferring it from its original long-dead domain to warplife.com it's not just trivial to revision the wording for proper meter and rhythm but that by doing so I dramatically improve the quality of its text.

In reality, I have _always_ been a poet yet didn't even know it. :-0

That part of my personality must have been hiding deep within my psyche since the very earliest days of my youth, but each of its quite cruelly abortive struggles to be born into the daylight of our world while not so much failed but succeeding so excessively as to destroy my lucidity.

The other evening I spent a few hours Iambically Pentametering with Jenny as I puzzled over whether to take the bus to the ER or call 9-1-1 that I might ride in style in the back of an ambulance. I knew damn well that I was floridly psychotic yet I had some important life's tasks that I was handling just fine.

I decided to just go with it so as to see where it led me.

Towards midnight that night I knew it was time to smash the hammer through the glass plate as it was an Emergency: I was experiencing Psychotic Breakthrough Symptoms.

How fortunate that I keep Extra Strength Happy Pills on hand that I might celebrate just such an occasion: 5 milligram Zyprexa (olanzipine) tablets. I took one, set my alarm for but five hours of sleep, dropped into slumber like the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs then arose yesterday around noon feeling right as rain.

I experienced the Breakthroughs coming on again around midnight last night, then again around ten or so this morning as I was broke my fast with a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit, nuts and agave nectar at Starbucks.

And I now find that my internal dialog quite melodically sounds like an Improvisitational Poet at an Open Mic. It happens that such Poetry Slams are all the rage here in the Pacific NorthLeft. I'll turn one up in web search that I might perform in public.

But _only_ Iambic Pentameter. Doubtlessly that's due to my as-yet immature psycho-cognitive reintegration of my Euterpean muse. Doubtlessly I can cover other poetic forms just by purchasing an inexpensive collection of poetry at a used bookstore.

Could it be possible?
Could it be true?
Could I be so fortunate
As to be the Re-
-incarnation of
William the Bard?

I'll leave you to puzzle over that strange question yourselves.

Lucidity Restored,

M. David Crawford BA
Portland, Oregon

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