SleepinJeezus's picture

    The Cruelty of Children: A few thoughts for the Day After Memorial Day

    There was a man who lived in my neighborhood when I was a child. He was called "Droogie."

    Droogie lived with his elderly mother in pretty austere circumstances. His father died when he was quite young. Droogie was dangerously violent at times. At other times, he could be seen collapsing into inconsolable tears for no reason at all. In almost all ways imaginable, Droogie was a mess!

    Droogie would do odd jobs sometimes for people who would let him. He otherwise was incapable of holding a job. He was commonly drunk and did not pay much attention to his personal hygiene. He was also unreliable.

    As kids, we made fun of Droogie. We would tease him and goad him into his murderous rages or - better yet! - into fits of despair that would leave him sitting on the curb crying his eyes out. I don't think Droogie ever had any friends. But that's only a guess, based upon the fact that he was such a poor candidate for friendship. My neighborhood playmates and me never really stuck around long enough to learn any details of his day-to-day existence.

    At some point when I grew older, however, I did in fact learn that Droogie had not always been like this. Droogie, you see, was a Veteran. He was Honorably Discharged from the military. He earned a medal. He earned a Purple Heart.

    On Memorial Day I respectfully remember those who died in our wars. But through all my days I remain forever haunted by the cruel fortunes visited upon those boys who went to war and never came back home again.


    Thank you for sharing that story.  I wish you would write more.  I still thing about you playing on the 4th of July and the fireworks.

    Thanks, Momoe!

    I continue writing, but remain quite busy with my regular job AND with trying to repel the Vandals from Our House in Wisconsin. The fight continues!

    The work is going on.  I feel like I am in a banana republic of Florida.  We are still energized here and that helps.

    A very good reminder that those we (even so-called adults) are sometimes tempted to ridicule might be victims of circumstances outside what we know. It's better to try to understand than to simply dismiss. It's a harder path, but a more worthy one.

    Well put Sleepin'.

    We need to walk a mile in the other guy's shoes before we judge someone!

    Nothing is constant in life, and so I frequently find and catch myself still, as an adult, being overly judgmental or thinking ill of others.  But there is a series of moments during childhood and adolescence that did seem to mostly add up for me so that I can catch myself in the act and even shame myself out of it.  Some (a lot of!) people develop more self control and empathy than I have.  But, damn, some don't develop it at all.  I'll remember this one, Sleepin', next time my mind wanders to the dark side.

    Surely, Michael, we must all experience a bit of a cringe factor when thinking about some of the cruelty and other excesses we engaged as children. I think it is a big part of growing up. Among so many other lessons, we learn just how awful it is to feel regret and shame for actions we have undertaken that caused pain and hurt in others.

    At least, as you point out, MOST of us develop this self-controlling conscience and awareness. The others seem to run for Congress as Republicans.

    That they run doesn't surprise me.  That they win...

    Somewhere I read that when one passes among the patients of the psychiatric ward, he encounters among the several sufferers every aspect of normal personality in morbid exaggeration. There is a large extent to which that observation could be applied to children playing among their crazy childhood peers as they learn to chart a path through a crazy world. It is their childhood, after all. 

       You are always a rational and inspirational voice. Glad to see you around.
     Thanks for the story and the thoughtful, respectful remembrance of some the victims of cruel misfortune on a day set aside for that very thing.

    I will be eternally grateful that during the 6 years my son was in the Army, he never had to go into combat. Although I was scared that he might die, my real fear was that he would return home wounded mentally, and never be able to live a normal life.

    My heart goes out to "Droogie" and all the others like him.

    We owe them a debt of gratitude we can never repay.

    I hope that someday we will live in a world where violence is socially unacceptable, especially when it is disguised as war. I tell my 5 year old granddaughter to use her words when she is angry. If only our leaders would do that as well.


    The incident was really terrible one. On Memorial Day I too respectfully remember those who died in our wars. May God saves us from the evil things.
    • Wagering cannot be superior on this wager site as well as the fast installing Untamed Wolf Pack pokie review program should have you enjoying texas holdem, black-jack or the slot machines before you expect it.

      If you are looking for online gaming web site you must go look at all the free online gambling ratings and signup bonuses out there.

    Good to see you here, Sleepin.  Children can be cruel, but the best of them grow up to know it and to try and make amends.  Thanks for this reminder. 

    We owe much to those people who give so much of themselves to keep us safe.  We had a "Droogie" in our extended family.  He was called "Rubberlegs" by kids who didn't know that his awkward gait came about not because he was an alcoholic (he was) but because he was gassed during World War I.  He was a pathetic creature after the war and never got over it.  He drank away the pension he got from the Army and eventually it killed him.

    Latest Comments