The Id and The Odyssey: Episode 83
“This kinda of stuff only happens in history books. You wonder how people react to national and international tragedies, you know those days that change and shape the world, days the world seems to stand still. I really can’t grasp the whole thing. You think for a moment that it’s a movie, you get up and walk out to reality. Now it seems like the movie has pulled you into the screen and you’re forced to live it out. The movie becomes reality.”
Sam watched the TV as he spoke, “This is the first generation to experience it that way. It is a unique event probably never to be repeated. When Lincoln was assassinated their was a sharp contrast between make-believe and reality. When Orson Wells did War of the Worlds it stunned the nation it made us realize how blurred the lines of make-believe and reality are. He may have let the genie out of the bottle, but in some ways this puts it back in. I wonder how many people still don‘t believe it, like it‘s another War of the Worlds. When I was a young man and I heard about Perl Harbor, Roosevelt’s death, and Hiroshima I wanted to be in the newsroom to see it come across the wires and actually be there to report on it. I was at the heart of the McCarthy thing. When I saw the abuses of media and manipulation of governments I became impassioned with teaching ethics and good journalism. Seldom do great stories come our way. That frustrates some so they create the story. You can do that with a football game, but not life. Don’t surrender, Rich, report what you see not what will sell. You‘ll be poor, but believed and respected.”
They watched the TV for a few more minutes. Sam said, “I hate to ask you to leave, but I want to spend the rest of the evening with the TV off and with Katie.”
“See you in the morning,” Rich said standing.
Sam started to push himself up from his chair.
“I’ll show myself out,” Rich said.
“You know when Lincoln was killed,” Sam said. “It was like the death of a king. Kennedy wasn’t around long enough. He was merely a prince, but the media will make him a king. You’ll soon see what I mean.”
Rich walked through the kitchen to leave by the back door, “Good night, Katie. Your man wants you.”
“Good night, Rich,” Katie said.
Just before climbing in the Jeep, Sam leaned out the back door. “Rich!”
“Yeah, Sam,” Rich said.
“Great job today,” Sam said.
Rich grinned and waved.
For Rich the drive home was like Christmas Eve; hardly a car was on the streets. Diners and bars were closed or empty.
As Rich entered the stairway to the apartment it hit him how lonely he was. There was no one to talk things over with. Likely Butch, Rudy, and Gordy had already communicated with family. It is times like these that only loves and families will do and Rich had neither.
Halfway up the first flight of steps Al called out from his home, “Rich, is that you?”
“Yes, Al,” Rich said, “it’s me.”
“Busy day for you at The Beacon,” Al said.
“Yeah,” Rich said.
“Well, Alice wanted me to check on you,” Al said. “If you’d like to have some cake with us we’d be pleased.”
Rich turned around walked down the steps.
“That’s exactly what I need,” Rich said.
Rich spent a hour with Al and Alice. Somehow lonely souls find lonely souls and fill the night with comfort and consolation.
Later Rich trudged up the two flights of steps to his apartment. He placed a Hank Williams album on the record player. He stood at the window and watched the lonely night and listened to I‘m So Lonely I Could Die.