Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Lost Stories

One of the more bizarre stories I've read lately has to do with the 70-year old man found partially mummified in front of his still-blaring television set, after officials responded to a report of burst water pipes. The man has been dead for just over a year -- and nobody knew. Sounds like one of the imaginative "news" reports in one of the grocery store tabloids but it's for real. Go here for the full report. For something even more bizarre, scroll down and start browsing through the reader comments on the story. Some of these people are about as bright as a plastic chimney. You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Apparently, the nearly universal first reaction to the situation is bafflement over the fact that the electricity and cable tv were running all that time. A moment's reflection, however, gives a probable explanation for the services not being cut off for non-payment. If the deceased had Social Security and/or pension payments on a Direct Deposit arrangement, the bank account would have been replenished each month. If his basic bills were set up for Auto Pay, that, too, would have been handled each month. No muss, no fuss.

One can even make reasonable allowances for the apparent lack of neighborhood attention. Everyone seems to have been under the impression the man had been moved to some kind of care facility. Which means folks thought the house was vacant and unattended. Given what is described as a rather private location, it seems curious that the house wasn't targeted for burglary during that span of time.

Speculation is probably futile. So much is left out of initial news reports. I don't even know why I'm talking about this, except that it's captured my imagination. It just seems sad that someone could be so alone in the midst of a neighborhood that there is not even a ripple of curiosity about his fate for so long a period of time.

There are stories that could be told about this, as is true of any human drama. Stories from many different points of view. We'll probably never hear the tales pertinent to this man. Humankind has been a story telling species from the beginning but something like this makes one realize there must be many of those campfire chronicles that slip beneath the surface of the sea of experience to be lost forever. Unless the hook of imagination can pull them out, like shining fish that nourish us. Let us hope.


John Bailey said...

The comments on the story are interesting, Dee. Instant condemnation of the neighbours seems unfair to me. My thoughts are with the poor suckers who have to clean up the mess and make the place habitable again. As you say... so many stories.

Mage said...

I love the fact that you are writing so much more often now thata you have switched to blogspot. I don't know about the ginger wodka, but I agree that the subject of that newspaper article must have been a neat piece of fiction. Bottom line, someone would have broken in. Which leads me to the question, what were you doing reading that in the first place. LOL

bb said...

I read several of the comments on that piece. One has to wonder why that didn't make it to CNN. Was it true?

I know if family didn't keep in contact with my mom I doubt anyone else is. She defines crotchety.

Dee said...

John: yup, I think the neighbors are getting a bum rap, at least to a certain degree.

Mage: I don't think the story is fake. I said it *reads* like tabloid fakery but it's for real. One of those "stranger than fiction" moments.

Bonnie: CNN did pick it up. As did all the other major networks. Go here: to see a photo of the house (very nice) and a video report.

Can you just imagine how tangled will be the sorting of this man's estate? Aiii, caramba!