Once upon a time I had a friend named Mike. He was a disbarred attorney, a diehard liberal, and had a life-long love affair with the Constitution. I learned more about the Constitution and Bill of Rights from him, than anyone. In many ways his approach to the Bill of Rights was downright libertarian. He felt the Constitution was a magnificent creation that rarely needed to be altered. If one followed the Bill of Rights, according to him, most answers to issues could be resolved.
Mike was disbarred for dipping into his trust account in order to satisfy his social climbing, former beauty queen, demanding wife. He could not please her. She wanted more and more. He was enamored of her because of her beauty pageant heritage. Typical male, she ruined him. When he was caught, she dumped him. She broke him, leaving him a shell of a man. I will always suspect she somehow tapped into his accounts and he took the fall for her.
My friend’s real problem was the fact that he came from a nasty southern town where he was born and grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. His mother worked in an office and his father was a civil servant. Mike dared to buck the small town caste system and went to law school, where he excelled. He opened a very lucrative practice, then married a local beauty queen. She was rather like something out of a television series, where she played the demanding bitch. She was so demanding, she alienated him from the judicial system with her phone calls, interrupted trials, and requirements that he jump when she said jump.
In small town South Carolina, when someone who dared to go beyond their caste is brought down, the locals, who were once social equals do their best to destroy. The now ex-wife married his best friend, lived in the house he was forced to give her. She drove the Mercedes, leaving him with nothing.
Naturally, no one would hire him.
My father met him the week before he was due to lose the lake house he loved so much. He caught a ride to the truck stop where my father and his buddies had lunch, day in and day out, year in and year out, and so forth and so on. He knew a couple of my father’s friends. My father, being himself, bought Mike’s dinner. He hired him on the spot, taking him back to the Mill, and showing him how dirty the job was. How dirty was it? Mike Rowe would have fled in terror.
When my father discovered Mike was going to go rob something, to be arrested, just to go to jail, or better yet, be shot in the process, well, that’s all it took. Within the week he was living in the parents’ guest house. He became the guest who wouldn’t leave, living there for at least five years. During that time, he bought a decent car – from his father. My mother goaded him into regaining his law license. He started teaching at the local tech school – law for cops. We gave him a cat. He at almost every meal with the parents, was there for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all public holidays. My sister’s kids, then quite young, adored him. He nearly died of a heart attack, moved out on his own, developed throat cancer, and died in 2005.
The great tragedy of Mickie was the fact that his father’s sister had married very well. She was worth millions. Mike was her heir. Instead of helping him, she felt he needed to learn a lesson. When he was living in abject poverty, she would give him a thousand bucks at Christmas. That was it. His father, who had a good job, did not help him. His mother treated him like dirt.
The man was going to be worth millions, but his aunt felt he just wasn’t mature enough for her to help him. He was due to inherit a good ten million. But, his family just did not approve of how he had handled his life. They let him suffer and they let him starve. If it had not been for my parents, he would have taken his own life.
He died before his aunt and his father did. There are so many lessons to be learned here. If Mike ever resented the fact that his family treated him like dirt, he never said anything about it. He took responsibility for the mess he made of his life. He was such a great guy. Unfortunately, his family never cared.