Recovery's Edge by Myers Neely Laurenzo

Recovery's Edge by Myers Neely Laurenzo

Author:Myers, Neely Laurenzo [Myers, Neely Laurenzo]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
Published: 2015-07-11T16:00:00+00:00



If they’re here, they are probably not in the right mindset to have a real relationship.

—Gus, 2006, Horizons professional staff

Regardless of the season, Moe wore a large winter coat, a dress shirt, and a tie. His eyes were often vacant, but when he felt inclined to socialize he was engaging. Moe often brought me pieces of paper—newspaper articles about Bhutan’s gross national happiness or a clipping that described an international economic essay prize that he hoped to win. One rainy afternoon, he presented me with his résumé—a fragmented genealogy. It read:

• Captain, “It’s Academic,” American High School TV Contest

• President, High School Kiwanis, September 1962 to June 1963

• Executive Committee, [Town] Teenage Republicans

• President, [University] Young Democrats, November 1964–May 1965

• 104 semester hours Political Science

• Freelance Writer—June 1966 to August 1974, [Major City], US Publications: The Activist, American Scholar, Boston Globe, Commonweal, Dissent

• Independent Bookseller—September 1975 to November 1977 Operate book search service, sell to public and dealers, and relate to partners and staff

• Piece work: putting sales labels on hardware (plumbing fixtures)—August 1997–May 1998

• Recycle Center—December 2001 to present, Bookkeeping, $6.50 per hour part time

What happened, I wondered, between 1977 and 1997? “Tell me about this résumé,” I suggested.

“My fiancée was murdered.”

Moe had been a writer, he told me, all of his life. In the late 1960s, like many young people of his time, he and his girlfriend left their home state to “tune in and drop out” in a large and fabulous city. Moe earned money writing political pieces. Sadie waitressed. They saved until they had enough money to open a small, independent bookstore. Moe knew the time was right, and he asked Sadie to marry him.

But one night in 1977, Sadie did not come home. Moe found her in a puddle of blood near the entrance of the bookstore. She had been locking up for the night, he said, when an armed thief took her life. Moe said he had a complete mental breakdown—his first ever. Losing Sadie, he claimed, triggered the psychosis that has plagued him ever since.

He had tried taking medications, but they did not work for him. He still took them and suffered immense side effects—weight gain, neurological tics that caused him to smack his lips like a fish gulping for air—but he still experienced symptoms. Moe was disabled by his voices, and now could only work part-time doing bookkeeping in the smoky back room of a small local business.

When the center was closing for the day, I offered Moe a ride. Rain fell in torrents. Moe accepted. “I am attending a community philosophy meeting,” he announced, grinning widely. He clutched a dilapidated, well-tabbed copy of Heidegger’s Being and Time.

“Oh, that’s exciting,” I said. “Is this a member group?” Moe had run a happiness group for members at Horizons that I had attended, which is where we met.

“Oh, no,” Moe beamed. “These are real, normal people! People from the community. About ten.”


“Mostly young people. We meet once a week so I can teach them.


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