In which it is Labor Day

One of my friends reminded me that Labor Day is a day when we don’t work.

But, yanno?

Historically, Labor Day has been a day when I do work, if by “working” we mean “writing,” because the day-job was closed, which meant I had all day to write.

So, I’m a little sorry that I slept the whole Labor Day aspect of the weekend, because it’s good to celebrate our own history, and the times that made us who we are.

In writing news, no the penultimate draft is not yet done.  Today, perhaps.

And, apropos of nothing much, save something, somewhere flashed across my radar, and I believe we ought to talk about these things, and not hide them in the corner. . .

A couple weeks ago, Robin Williams died after a long battle with a deadly disease, depression.

Think about that for a minute.  If that last word had been “cancer” or “diabetes” or “ALS” or Insert Your Favorite Killer Disease Here, people would have been praising his life, calling him a “fighter” and “courageous” and “an inspiration.”  But the commentary about Williams’ death is (mostly) about how he wimped out, how he had “wasted” those years still on his dance card, how he had somehow failed to seek the help that would have saved his life, accompanied by exhortations to those of us who also suffer from the same long-term disease to “get help.”

Now, here’s the thing.  As I understand it, Robin Williams did seek help for his disease.  He stopped self-medicating with alcohol and drugs; he entered rehabilitation; he sought therapy — and by these methods he managed to control his disease, until, in the way of Killer Diseases, one day it was stronger than he was, and he died.

To say that Robin Williams “failed” because he finally, after a long fight, succumbed to his disease is like blaming a cancer patient for dying after the tumors outrun the radiation.

So, that.

Here today at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, on September 1, which is simultaneously Scrabble’s twelfth birthday, and Labor Day —  it is hot and humid, almost a Baltimore day.  We have closed up the windows and turned on the portable air conditioner and the ceiling fans.  The cats have melted in various tried and tested melting spots, most of them on top of things — file cabinets; bookcase; cat tree — and the writers are at their desks.

It would be a nice day for a picnic at the lake — and I hope that at least some of y’all are enjoying that gift.

* * *

Progress on Dragon in Exile

116,600/100,000 OR 116.6% complete

“What,” he asked, staring at the screens, “is that?”

“Looks like a cruise ship to me,” second board said, which he might have known she would do. 

“Yes, he said patiently, “but what is it doing in orbit around Surebleak?”

“Maybe they need ice.”



10 thoughts on “In which it is Labor Day”

  1. I’ve lost three people throughout my life to the same ending as Robin Williams. It is indeed a long, hard battle where “the enemy” needs only to be lucky *once*. I was fortunate to have a mother who classified her sister’s battle with depression as “an illness–of the mind, not just the body.” We mourn those we lost, but understand a disease took them. How did my mother get so smart in an age that swept mental illness under the carpet?

    Brighter things! We are off for the traditional family picnic at the Oregon Coast where my husband’s family commemorates the long ago move to a dairy farm in Tillamook. Moooo!

  2. Enjoying the snippets and commentary. Remarks regarding depression were well said and much appreciated. Thank you.

  3. I get so tired of people equating “getting treatment” with ” getting cured”.

    My dad and my uncle were diagnosed with what looked like similar prostate cancers in 1985. Both were treated aggressively. My dad has been cancer-free for over 25 years because the treatment worked the first time. My uncle went into remission, then the cancer came back and it was treated again. He died of it.

    No one thinks my dad is morally superior to my uncle because he “got his cancer treated”. They both got their cancer treated. In one case, treatment cured the disease. In the other, it delayed the disease in its killing. When depression is winning, it might be because the patient isn’t getting the disease treated, or it might be because depression is a potentially terminal disease, even when treated.

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Also: snippet!!!

  4. “Maybe they need ice.”

    Ba-dum-tsss! That’s some top-quality snark; I wonder who’s sitting second board???

  5. Okay, I laughed-that was pretty good.

    Re: depression-What ARE we thinking? There is more we DON’T understand about the mind than that we do understand. Mental disease is still treated blindly, albeit with hope. Just this week, a new study shows that increasing serotonin levels in the brain MAY HAVE NO EFFECT ON DEPRESSION. After billions of dollars spent on serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, like Prozac, et. al., we’re no closer to treating or understanding depression or any other disease of the mind. And yet, people scruple not to judge those who’ve lost the battle with mental disease. We gotta stop doing this.

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