Monday, August 9, 2010
Call No Man's Life Happy
To everyone who comes here for the humor, you may want to pop back around later in the week. Today I'm feeling, not blue, exactly, but thoughtful.
A number of years ago, at Antioch, I took a class on the History of Greece, Rome and Israel, where I learned that the ancient Greeks believed that you should call no man's life happy, even after he's dead, until he's been honorably buried.
That struck me as so odd. What could possibly happen after you were dead to change the judgment on your entire life? I mean, reasoned my twenty-something mind, you're dead.
I held onto that view until just a few weeks ago, when I learned the fate of Steve Linderman.
Steve wasn't a guy I knew well. He started working at Sinclair, my once and present employer, a year or two after I left. We met once or twice at parties, and, because he was a wizard with computers, I heard a lot about him from friends who still worked there.
That was the extent of our acquaintance.
Still, I hadn't been back at Sinclair for more than a day or two before someone mentioned that Steve had died. While I was a little surprised, I wasn't shocked, because he was a few years older than me. And, let's face it, I'm no spring pullet.
It was only in a later conversation, when someone remarked that the anniversary of Steve's death was coming up, that I thought to ask how he died.
"He was murdered."
I was shocked. "What happened?"
In a nutshell: He mentored a young man who wound up going to prison. When the young man was released, Steve picked him up at the bus station. They went to Steve's house, where they apparently got into some kind of argument and the guy beat him to death and drove off in his car.
Okay, that's a sucky way to die, but it doesn't invalidate the good Steve did, and tried to do.
When the newspapers covered it, though, as I discovered when I pulled up the old articles, they made it sound like he was cruising the Greyhound Station and just picked this guy up.
I don't know if Steve was gay, and I don't care. I think when people are too interested in strangers' sex lives, it's a sign that their own sex lives are unsatisfying. What I do care about is that Steve was portrayed as a sexual predator.
I guess the Greeks had a point after all.
Rest in peace, Steve. Those of us who knew you even a little know you were an honorable man.