Originally posted at the "OUR ETERNAL STRUGGLE" web site on 24 April 2007
Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:
Last night, I watched the movie, "SLING BLADE", recorded on my cable television's DVR, as it had been aired on the ENCORE Channel.
No, I don't recommend this film for children, unless both Mama and Daddy are sitting there with them and can answer questions or provide appropriate commentary.
I was going to write that I didn't recommend this film for families at all.
But then I had second thoughts, based on the experiences in my own life.
Our world has drastically changed, becoming much more perilous for youngsters, and they are daily exposed to much worse situations in the public school system (which is why I'm so opposed to parents sending their children to public school these days).
But, I like the movie "SLING BLADE".
To begin with, I was amazed at Billy Bob Thornton's acting ability.
He really must have spent a lot of hours intensely studying for this role.
I've seen him play other characters in other movies, so I truly appreciate his talented versatility.
When the credits rolled, I saw the bad guy was portrayed by Dwight Yoakam, the famed Country music singer from Bakersville, California, one of my favorite performers.
Gosh, gee whillikers, I never even recognized him!
I also enjoyed the scenes of a small Southern community, as it evoked nostalgic recollections from my own boyhood in North Carolina.
Anyway, I recognize the authenticity of this film, having personally endured some of that same hell.
Yes, when I was nineteen years old, I was released, after spending approximately four years locked up in a state mental hospital.
During that horrible time, I was subjected to electric shock treatments and experimental psychotropic drugs.
There were other things that also happened, which I will not write about at this time.
No, I didn't commit any crime.
But, my parents couldn't control me, I kept running away from home, and twice, I was kicked out of high school.
So, the juvenile court committed me to a state mental hospital.
Being a typical rambunctious teenage boy, I was too much trouble for the staff, so they locked me in a maximum security unit for the criminally insane.
My only associations (and therefore, my ONLY friends and influences) for those developing years were perverts, deviants, and criminals.
There were no provisions made for continuing my education, so high school was forfeited.
When I eventually was released, I was much like the character portrayed in the movie, "SLING BLADE".
I had no social skills and little ability to cope properly with normal daily situations.
People couldn't believe a grown man did not know how to drive a car.
But, God blessed me with miracles.
I have no other explanation.
It was miraculous that I survived the terrifying ordeal of being a long term inmate in two (02) state mental hospitals.
It was miraculous that I survived hitch-hiking completely across the continental United States of America.
I can tell you stories of that epic journey, but that's another subject for another time.
It's a miracle that I became a convert to The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the "Mormon" church), for that really intensified my progression from darkness into light, presenting opportunity after opportunity.
It's a miracle that I passed the General Education Development high school equivalency test.
It's a miracle that I was able to be drafted into the United States Army.
If it were not for a very unpopular and controversial war, that never would have been permitted.
It's a miracle I survived the war.
It's a miracle that I became a singer/songwriter, composing both lyrics and melody, and accompanying myself on guitar, all memorized and done "by ear", as I do not read or write music.
Something that has always stayed with me, is a lesson I learned from an incident at the state mental hospital.
I was on a ward for patients who were expected never to be released, being punished for some infraction, and I was standing stark naked, locked in a bare isolation room, shot full of Thorazine.
I was seventeen (17) years old.
I gazed forlornly out the barred window, surmising that this was the end.
I would never have a normal life.
I would never have a girlfriend, and I would never marry.
I would never get an education.
I would never drive a car or have a gun.
I would never travel anywhere.
I would never serve in the military.
I would never have any credibility (who's going to believe a crazy person, huh?)
I really had no hope of anything beyond what I was experiencing at that moment.
Well, here I am today.
From my own experience, I now know, so I can let others know, that there is always hope, no matter how bleak or unbearable the future may appear.
So long as there is life, there is hope.
Personal freedom is something we should never take for granted.
Every day, I thank Heavenly Father for my life and my freedom.
Every day, I thank Heavenly Father for all the unexpected and undeserved gifts and opportunities that He has poured out upon me during my sojourn on this Earth.
Anyway, I reckon there's a full moon out tonight, so I'd better go find my hockey mask and my chain saw - - -
Pass the popcorn, please.
John Robert "SAIGON" Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400
NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."