Dave’s Not Here

This is a picture of Robin Williams. This is not a story about Robin Williams. This is the story of Dave. Dave is my former, now deceased, stepfather’s stepbrother. Dave was also my next door neighbor for 12 years. Dave is, to use an old phrase, “retired Navy”. There are people who believe Dave is an “injured Vietnam vet”. Well, okay, that’s technically true. It’s just that touch of liberty taken here. Dave was in the Navy. It was during the Vietnam War. Dave’s not so injured as he is damaged. He was in Norfolk, Virginia, in training, on a ship. “Something” happened and Dave was in a control room, a steam room, with many, many gauges. And not very happy about being there. So Dave took a wrench and smashed out the glass in all the gauges. As he was headed out of the place, up a ladder as I believe, a large wrench fell and hit him in the head. Knocked him out. When he woke up, they asked what happened to all the gauges. Dave said he couldn’t remember. Well, as it was he who told me this story, apparently he did. He was sent off to see the doctor, the psychologist. Dave and I lived in a fairly interesting neighborhood in Brunswick. Dave started sharing stories about the neighborhood. The doctor decided Dave was crazy. Dave liked the idea and ran with it. The government has been paying Dave to be crazy. It’s not a great job, the pay’s not great, be the work is easy. You get to set your own hours. Part of the job of being crazy is to display crazy behaviors at certain times, to act crazy. I was at a picnic at Dave’s house one summer. It may have been the Fourth of July, or not. He had a deep front yard. The picnic is in the front yard. For some reason, a helicopter flew over. Dave started yelling “Take cover” and “Incoming” and ran into the house. Everyone was suitably freaked out about it.I headed for the house. People were telling me I shouldn’t go into there. I walk in, Dave hears me, starts acting crazy, turns and sees me, recognizes me and say’s “Oh, hey, hi Dean. What’s up?” We chatted a bit but after a time, Dave had to get back to work, so out he went to talk about “what it was like”. 25 years later, Dave and I talked about that day. Not a long time though. Dave was telling this young woman about his time in the Army, down in Panama before too long.

Oh, yeah, Dave kind of looks like Robin Williams. (The picture. Remember?)


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