Archive for Planters peanuts

Shake Hands with Kevorkian

Posted in Rumination with tags , , , , on May 9, 2009 by scottsplatter

This popped into my head this morning as I was making the second pot of coffee at 6am on a Saturday… I’m still working on that coffee so if this is incoherent forgive me.

When I was younger I worked for a mental health crisis center, I think from the time I was 16 to 19 or there abouts. The Michigan Association of Suicidology was hosting a talk by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and I convinced the agency I worked for that someone, me in fact, should be there. This was in about 1990 when Kevorkian was a big deal, and they agreed.

So I but on a button down shirt, and made the 3+ hour drive to Lansing to see Kevorkian with one of the volunteers from the center that wanted to go as well.

“Black Coffee” off the “Rise Above” compilation just came on… that record benefits the West Memphis Three, and you should check it out. It’s Rollins and friends covering Black Flag songs for a good cause.

Anyway, we got to this municipal campus , City Hall or something, and made our way inside. I assumed there would be a sizable turnout and went inside not sure what to expect. There was no buzz, no electricity, just bureaucrats shuffling around on their way to do bureaucratic things. There was a nondescript door with a photocopy of a simple text sign announcing the presentation. There were people using the room when we got there so we had a seat in the lobby and waited for something to happen.

An old man came in, he had on a cheap suit and a worn floppy hat, and he was carrying a K-Mart bag that looked to have about  five jars of Planters peanuts in it. My friend and I looked at each other and debated whether or not is was Kevorkian.

“It kinda looks like him.”

“That can’t be him, look at him. Whoever it is, he likes peanuts.”

“No Shit.”

I think we decided he was someone with a basement desk under the humming fluorescent light and a plan to make the world pay one day, after he’d had his peanuts.

The room cleared out and we filed in and took our seats. There were only about 15 or 20 people there, psychologist types. We took a seat and I got out my note pad. I probably wondered if my Subhumans shirt was showing through the collar of my button down, or whatever it happened to be that day. My friend and I were cleary 20 years younger than anyone else there, if not 30. I am pretty sure I was the only one with dreadlocks, certainly the only one with dreadlocks that were black, grey and purple. No one told us to beat it though.

They let us sit for a few minutes before they introduced him, and then he entered the room. He took the floppy hat off his head, shoved it into his bag of peanuts, tossed it under the table. 

He said “Hi I’m Jack Kevorkian.” Then he let it rip for some two hours.

It was a great talk, he covered his bases, and convinced some doubters I think. Even I was a little concerned that he’d done a few of his procedures in the back of a van, but he really did seem to take due dilligence when deciding who to help and who not to.

When it was over I went up to the table and thanked him and shook his hand.

He was a nice guy.