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Mike D, Mike S

A grade school classmate of mine died this year of a heart attack. I found out about it from some of our other classmates on Facebook. I see old photos of him there, as my classmates periodically share them, and so I've reflected on his death a few times now. There's a discussion group dedicated to memories of him. I was invited to join at some point.

I never did, because I had nothing positive to say about him. He was never anything but an asshole to me, frankly. Near as I could tell in grade school, nothing made him happier than ridiculing other people. Naturally, most people are usually pretty different after grade school, and I didn't ever even see him again. I'm sure he had some redeeming qualities, and I sort of regret that I never got to see them. And judging solely on the comments in this Facebook discussion group, he was a very different person to lots of other people.

He was actually the second person from our class (of just 25 or so students) to die. The first, another Mike by coincidence, succumbed to cancer of some sort, three or four years ago. I remember being a bit more struck by the tragedy then, not even because he was the first or we were all that much younger, but because he didn't have an easy life at all. He joined our class when he repeated the third grade, never did well in school, and didn't have any friends in our little class. He seemed to have to steal his happiness and self esteem when no one was watching. I hope his life got better than that; it's hard to imagine how it wouldn't, really.

I couldn't help but compare them when I heard about Mike D. I'm sure Mike S wouldn't have had an outpouring like this. Maybe I've got it all wrong, maybe D learned kindness and S was psychotic, and it's a testament to how poorly I knew either of them. But at face value it sure seems like a depressing confirmation of everything grade school taught me about human nature.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
slfcllednowhere
Dec. 1st, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
I haven't had to deal with anyone I know dying yet, but oh man there are definitely a lot of people I would feel like this about, I'm sure...so I hear you. It's harder to be completely stricken about it when they weren't the best person.
cobie
Dec. 1st, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
death always gives us pause. and in that moment of reflection or observation or just plain silence, whatever winds up in our heads never leaves us comfortable.
kitchenqueen
Dec. 1st, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
Someone created a facebook group in tribute to all the people from my high school who have died. Only a few from my class have died. One was a car accident while we were still in school, and the other was suicide. The suicide really shook me, since I have battled depression also.

I never know how to act when someone that I didn't particularly care for passes.
archmage
Dec. 1st, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
...sure seems like a depressing confirmation of everything grade school taught me about human nature.

Ain't THAT the truth.
bec_87rb
Dec. 1st, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'll bite
Okay, I'll bite - what did grade school teach us?
bryce
Dec. 1st, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
Well I can't speak for archmage, but I meant something along the lines of how complacent people get with alienation, how people only tend to reach out to people they already like, and how judgment is on a hair trigger and semi-automatic.

And I should add that the lessons of grade school are by no means comprehensive on the subject of human nature. But you knew that.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )