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My friend Warthog…

My freind Warthog...   Image courtesy of Property#1

Image courtesy of Property#1 on Flickr

I have a friend that goes by the name Warthog.  We met sixteen years ago at work.  His name is really Jeff, but Warthog is a great nickname.  He has always had a beard, long hair and “vintage” clothes.  He never really worries about his appearance, he is not a slob.  He just looks like a warthog.  The name does not fit only because of his appearance.  Warthogs are not the most social animals, and, well neither is Jeff.  He is a child of the sixties and does not trust people in general, especially not “the man”.

I worked closely with Warthog for about fourteen years.  I got to know him inside and found a very intelligent, caring human being.  He is a beautiful man under that exterior and has taught me many things about life.  We often talked about politics, and music.  We talked about families and god.  Our conversations were always thought provoking and insightful.  Often he would tell me about the issues he has trusting people and authority.  He always felt as though someone was out to get him.

I became his boss after several years.  I became “the man” on some level, but his friendship never wavered.  I remember an occasion when he got mad at my boss and quit his job.  Jeff was on vacation for two weeks and there had been a problem with getting his paycheck.  My boss was very overbearing and I heard him screaming at Warthog on the phone.  Wart called me on my extension and told me that he had just quit.  I talked to him and to his wife, Mary for about an hour.  I ended the conversation by telling him that I could not accept his resignation since he was on vacation for the next week and a half.  I said that he needed to come to work on his next scheduled day and tell me then.  By the time he came back to work, things had settled down.  He worked there for another four years.

Warthog has always struggled financially.  He worked hard and raised three kids.  He gave them what he could and I know he loves them very much.  Jeff has had many dysfunctional family relationships.  Both of Wart’s parents died many years ago, and he has no siblings that seem to really care about him.  He in turn has little regard for many people including his siblings.  He has been on depression meds for quite a while and I personally think that he could use the help of a therapist.  Jeff has problems like many of the rest of us, but the last four years have been incredibly hard on him.

About four years ago Jeff lost his sister to cancer.  She was the only sister that really cared for him in his eyes.  Wart had to sign the papers to take her off life support.  I can only imagine his devastation.  About six months later, he was laid off from work.  While he was off, he got a lung infection.  He went through several surgeries and stays in the hospital.  It almost killed him and he was sick for the better part of a year.  He had no income at all after the unemployment checks stopped coming, and had no insurance.  They had a son in college at the time.  I have no idea how they stayed afloat.  Once he recovered, Wart came back to work.  He was still weak for about a year, but did his best.  I could tell that events were taking a toll on his psyche.  He did talk about it to some degree, but he held most of it inside.  Things were just starting to stabilize when Jeff was “downsized”.  That was almost two years ago.  We have kept in touch with phone calls every few weeks.

Jeff has found another job and has been working there for about a year.  It reminds him of a prison camp.  It really gets him down.  While he was unemployed a second time, his youngest daughter found some trouble with the law.  Nothing violent, just a accident.  I will not go into any further detail here, but she was seventeen at the time.  She is now in college and has gone to court on and off for the past year.  I have followed the saga in the papers and on the phone.  A few months ago, there was an acquittal on all charges except withholding evidence.  Her attorney was not really surprised at the verdict, but at the sentencing she received 90 days in jail although the DA had asked for probation. There is an appeal in the process.

Friday I received a call on Friday.  The name on my phone said “Warthog”.  I knew something was wronf when I heard Mary on the other end.  The first words she said were, “He is alright”.  Then she started to cry.  Wart tried to end his suffering by taking a bottle of pills.  He is in the hospital now and getting the attention he so badly wanted.  He had been to what he thought was his lowest point many times.  He just kept getting lower.   Mary talked and I listened for two hours that night.  We laughed, she vented and cried.  I actually was able to listen and not interrput for the whole time.  She really needed someone to talk to and of course I told her to call me ANYTIME.  I know that Warthog will make it through this mess.  He has been through so much already, but this time he needs a sounding board.  He needs therapy and I hope he follows through.

I have decided to give Warthog all of the donation money that I get from this blog for the next month.  Hopefully it can help them while he is off of work.  I have also decided that I will find a cause every month, and the donation money will have found it’s home.  Please help Wart if you can.  I know there are many people in bad situations, I just happen to know and love this one.

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1 comment to My friend Warthog…

  • FYI everyone, Wart is home from the hospital and has not sounded better. He has high hopes for his new meds and therapy. I know he’ll be well again!

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