Friday, March 3, 2023


I saw a picture on facebook. An acquaintance had written an RIP for his nephew and posted a couple of nice pictures. I recognized the name from recent local news reports, but much to my shock, I recognized his face as well. I knew him. At least I thought I did. The pictures showed a  happier looking, healthier looking version of the gaunt and hollowed eyed young man I'd last seen. 

I contacted his uncle privately on facebook. He told me that his nephew had worked for some years at the same place where I'd thought I'd met him. 

I'd written about him back in August of 2019. I reverted the first 15 years of my blog to draft, so it took some time to locate the short piece, but here it is: 

It's a funny old world that we live in, isn't it. Small dramas play out before our very eyes, so small that sometimes they are missed. Take the story of the 'cardboard guy'. He comes around to collect recyclable cardboard twice a day. A good fellow, extremely polite. Quiet. He scarcely spoke when he first started work but now he does. He even asked me my name last month. I think he's pretty shy.

I was working in front of a girl who has a terrible crush on him. She even asked him out. I know this, because I heard another girl who works beside her saying, "I give you a lot of credit. You found the nerve and you asked him out. Kudos to you!"

I gathered that he said no. I kind of get it. The girl is pretty immature. I pegged her for someone in her 20s, but she's in her 40s. She used up her vacation very early in the year and now takes a lot of days without pay, because her parents give her money. Her efficiencies are low because she talks too much, and she's generally talking about how she can't make the efficiencies and it's not fair. I tried to help her long ago, but I quickly saw that she doesn't want help so much as she wants someone to step in there and simply do it for her. Sounds harsh, I know. She's nice, but she's never quite learned to stand on her own two feet.

So she watches the cardboard guy go by with big moon-y eyes.

The thing is the cardboard guy has a terrible crush on another girl. That one is bold and brash and flashy. She talks quite nicely to the cardboard guy, but as soon as he's gone, she begins to make terrible fun of him to everyone around her. He's asked her out multiple times, and she's turned him down every time. making sure that everyone knows how indignant she is that the lowly cardboard man would ask HER out.

So every day, the cardboard guy goes by her with big moon-y eyes.

No one tells the cardboard man, "I give you a lot of credit. You found the nerve and you asked her out. Kudos to you."

It's a funny old world we live in, isn't it?

That's the end of it, just a small snapshot of a drama that played out before my eyes on a daily basis years ago. When the plant closed down, the young man was hired at a home improvement store Tim uses a lot, so I saw him there. 

The thing is, he was a quiet, awkward sort, and you could tell he struggled. I always tried to have a kind word for him, because he was such a quiet, hard worker. 

For the life of me, I cannot fit what he was with this

We were eating lunch today, and I said to Tim, "Doesn't it make you wonder about the people you know...if any of them are just one step away from falling completely apart? I mean, it could happen to anyone struggling." 

He chewed quietly, thinking. "Yes it could," he said. 

Late Edit for those who cannot read the link

Police in Ontario County confirmed that officers fatally shot a man in Canandaigua while investigating an incident that started in East Bloomfield.

According to the Ontario County Sheriff's Office, a brief pursuit led authorities from East Bloomfield into Canandaigua, where police shot and killed Brandon M. Zurkan, 31, of Warren, Pennsylvania following an encounter between Zurkan and police.

At 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, 911 was alerted by a citizen who heard a "firecracker or gunshot" from a sedan he was following on state Route 5 in East Bloomfield. A deputy in a marked patrol car intercepted the sedan on Route 5 in the town of Canandaigua, saw the car travel over the center line twice and activated emergency lights and sirens to try to stop the car, Ontario County Sheriff David Cirencione said Wednesday at a news conference. Zurkan, he said, continued driving east into the city, drove erratically, including on lawns and through at least one red traffic light, and fired multiple shots from the car. The pursuit ended when Zurkan drove through a fence and struck a curb.

Zurkan got out of the car, gun in hand. Cirencione said that four officers -- two deputies and two Canandaigua police officers -- fired at Zurkan after Zurkan pointed his gun at police. Police were attempting to deescalate the encounter for over 8 minutes at the time, police said.

He was five hours (north) from home. He had been stopped for erratic driving earlier in the day about 5 hours east of home. There had to have been some sort of psychotic break, because anything else just defies logic. Some are claiming drugs, but that is just as bewildering to me as the shooting. He was a health nut, a great believer in natural supplements, exercise, and a healthy life style. 


  1. How sad. Where there is life there is hope but as you say none of us know how thick the wall is between where we are and there. Xxx

  2. It is so true- we never, ever know what is going on in anyone's life or mind. Not really. We see, we hear but it's what we don't see and what we don't hear that is likely the truth of it all.
    I feel sad for him.

  3. You and Tim are so right, it could happen to any of us. I think that's why we look for answers ( Why did it happen?), all in an attempt to avoid the same fate.

  4. Rather sad. Maybe it was suicide by cop. I suppose it happens in your country where people want to die and provoke police to kill them.

  5. Someone once said, "Just treat everyone you meet as if they are going through a terrible time. Usually, they are." It's hard to remember to do, though.

  6. Just happened to lifelong family friends, their son had some mental health issues and was killed by the police after he threatened them. I had never met the young man, we live in different areas of the country. But the ripples of pain certainly reached me when I learned of it. So sad.
    Bonnie in Minneapolis

  7. It happened to my young brother. Dead at 28. Twenty eight for over fifty years.

  8. There are so many leading lives of quiet desperation. It sounds like he was one of them.

  9. I wasn't expecting that [article]. It's a hard life for some.

  10. The link doesn't work here in the UK for "legal reasons", but I can guess the kind of story it tells if not the details. Yes, lives fall apart so easily. I've known too many of those stories.

  11. I couldn't get the link, just a bit of the headline. Poor man. He didn't deserve that, or the way the flashy girl treated him. Margaret summed it up "living lives of quiet desperation" ...

  12. How sad. However it came about, what a tragedy.

  13. We cannot know anyone else's interior life.

  14. I never used to consider such things but these days, I frequently ponder what happens to those people who were just a little too different growing up, be it shyness, dress styles or use of language. Do they ever outgrow those things, learn to embrace them, or break down mentally to where they are shooting others? There is one such of those in my oldest daughter's class and I run into him quite frequently. I have made it a point to befriend the boy and I can't lie, I have hoped that if he goes on a shooting rampage, he'll consider my efforts. What a shame to waste thoughts on these sorts of things.


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