Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mike's Story Part 5: Jobs

    When Mike first arrived in Brooklyn from Canada, he was still shell-shocked by the death of Fromthewilderness and by his failure to obtain asylum in Venezuela.  He was physically unhealthy and, as he had been for several months, obsessed with thoughts of suicide.
   Sensing that he needed a break from this endless cycle of horror but that he'd be unwilling to venture too far from familiar territory, one day I asked him about his childhood; specifically, what he'd wanted to be when he grew up. 
   "'Til I was twelve and found out how bad my eyes were," he said, "I wanted to be an airline pilot."  That was what Dad had been and what accounted for his war-hero stature.  "But I didn't have any depth perception."
   (Eyes were still a source of some anxiety; he needed treatment for a cataract, which he got and loved.  He couldn't comprehend why I wore glasses of lesser strength than the doctor prescribed [because I didn't want my eyes to get lazy] and he couldn't stand it if they had smudges on them. 
   "But what if you have to drive?" he exclaimed.
   "I don't have to drive; I take the subway."
   When he couldn't take it anymore, my glasses received a polish worthy of the Hubble telescope.) 
   "After that, I didn't know," he went on, "except that I didn't want to be a businessman.  Law?  Nah.
   'Then when I was seventeen, a captain came to my high school and talked about police science."
   "You mean fingerprints?  Things like that?" I asked guilelessly.
   "No.  You're being a girl.  About being a cop.  The badge and the gun.  The camaraderie.  The humor.  I knew that was what I wanted to be."
   Ah...  Friends at last; even a fraternity.
   His years at LAPD have been written about extensively but some events are not so well known.  He never killed anyone, he said, even when, on one occasion, doing so would have earned him a commendation.  (The perpetrator turned out to be more crazy or high on PCP than criminal.)  But he did once break a prisoner's skull when the guy, also high on PCP and being carried on a stretcher, bit Mike on the testicle.
   After leaving LAPD, he had a series of low-level positions: Selling guns (he loved guns but not the job;) putting together amplifiers; working a UPS route where he met a man who became his hypno-therapist.    
   "I don't like thinking about my past except for the years of FTW, LAPD.  The rest was just so much loneliness and poverty." 
   He also acted as a security guard at the Oscars, escorting Vanessa Redgrave the night she gave her controversial acceptance speech for Julia.
   When he recounted that episode, I mentioned that she was doing a one-woman show on Broadway, in Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking."  We bought tickets and Mike left a copy of Rubicon for her at the stage door with an inscription saying how they had met and how her speech that night had given him courage to write the book.
   Her assistant called the next day to say that Ms. Redgrave thanked him and would definitely like to meet. But we never heard further.


Debbie Metke said...

This is very interesting. Thanks so much!

Michael Holden said...

Thankyou for writing these Jenna.
It was a shock to hear what happened to Mike. Many people around the world, myself included, were inspired by the way Mike Ruppert brought the truth about Peak Oil and state corruption to the people, by his personal courage and his phenomenal skills as an orator.
It really hit hard when he passed, especially the way he did so it is very helpful to have some perspective from someone as close to Mike as you were. It gives us at least some understanding and some context.
Thankyou and deepest condolences.