#1 To Live and Die in MA
-The Absolutely Unofficial Underground Newspaper of Metropolitan State Hospital -
Well kiddies, as 1991 begins, we find ourselves in a situation so weird and evil that even your own Ultimately Twisted Doktor Phibes finds it hard to grasp the full evil and weirdness. But we shall try, presently, to come to full grips with the truth as we know it, and its various perverted implications. With any luck, we'll come up with a reliable count of how many dead and (what we'd all REALLY like to know) where the bodies are buried.
"...my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder - there was a long tumultuous shouting...and the deep and dark tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the House of User." E.A Poe
Does the same fate await Met State? Will the CTG building collapse in a heap of rubble and sink into a slimy black pool? We can't say for sure, but if the mutant zombies from Central Office ( and Area Office?) have their way, the long life and illustrious history of The Met will come to a sudden quiet end. What is the Plan? Downsizing? What does that mean? Well, fellow fiends, that's bureaucratic doublespeak bullshit;" they're cutting us off at the knees and hoping we don't take too long to bleed to death. And why you may ask, you poor, innocent, wide-eyed sheep. Dazed and confused by the onslaught of hungry, frothing wolves upon our Fair Flock, you do not realize that the rules have been changed. Or more rightly, we were never really playing by the rules that we all thought we were playing by. We thought we were here to help the disenfranchised, the weak, the poor; those who because of a Mental Illness were unable to exist in our competitive society- those who would be chewed up and spat out by the Real World if not adequately protected. The Doomed, as it were. But, in fact, we were the real Babes in the Woods. We did not have an adequate grasp of the Final Truth that our fates are and have been directly controlled by the people ( I use the term loosely) who are Politicians and not Clinicians. I don't mean the clowns at the State House who we keep on for the entertainment value, but the various Planners and the Bureaucrats right here in the Department of Mental Health. They look smooth and friendly on the outside, but they are a cruel and brutal breed who, if necessary, will eat their young to survive. Harsh words, I know. But I have seen them in action, and my blood ran cold at the shameless displays of power-hungry selfishness.
Several forces and Unnatural Cycles of Nature have, in fact, combined to create this weird and vicious scenario. Here we are in the last year of the lame duck Dukakis administration- Republicans come into power in January so for the grunts in state government, the Secretaries, the Department Heads, and their respective Staffs, there is no tomorrow. They have no problem with doomsday policies; when the ship goes under, they'll flee down the ratlines and resurface as parasites on the belly of some future state office. This atmosphere of impending doom is then combined with the state's well-publicized fiscal crisis resulting in a feeding frenzy of the powerful upon the weak. The middle-level people in the Central and Area Offices are taking Full Advantage to rearrange things to their advantage. They can establish a budget-cutting reputation and power base to carry them into the new administration, and settle a few old scores at the same time. Make no mistake. We've been set up. The Met has been systematically starved of resources over the years, and we have made no friends in the Department for some years. They swing a deal to pretend to lay off managers who then get promoted into positions where they are given an axe and allowed to swing freely. Then our name is trashed with a series of irresponsibly done investigations (which had been sparked by admittedly disgusting and evil acts) in a smear campaign the likes of which has not been seen since Nixon's scheme of dirty tricks and petty crime of the 1972 election. We've been set up and it was a damn good professional job, if you ask me. These friends know what they’re doing. Let's face it. We've seen similar cheap shots and immature game-playing by brain dead yahoos who made their lives by surviving in the state system without doing a shred of decent clinical work time after time. The only difference here is that the stakes have been raised considerably in these mean stupid times. Now the survivors have become full-blown predators. And what of the population we supposedly serve? What of the Doomed?
"Fuck the Doomed...." Richard M. Nixon
Yes the brutal fact is that the heartless paranoia of our 35th president is frighteningly similar to the mood of the current (and future) DMH administration. Rather than courageous and principled leaders, we're talking about the moral equivalent of alligators, sharks, and wolves. They are about looking good and making friends in high places, and accruing power. Some of the rules which we weren't told are simple Rule #1 is that the Big Dog will Eat. When times are good in the Commonwealth they can feed on the fat leaving us alone, basically. When times are lean, however, anyone and everyone becomes Fair Game. The sharks come up from the deep, the wolves down from the hills, and gators out of the swamps looking for easy meat and they will get it. They will pluck swimmers from the shallow water or children from the playground, and only a silent string of white bones on the shore will be left to tell the tale, because these bastards are experts at stripping the flesh away clean, and no one will hear the screams....
"Some things that fly there be Birds-Hours-Bumblebee...some things that stay there be Grief -Hills-Eternity" Emily Dickerson
"And then I realize with fright: Spiderman is having me for dinner tonight!" The Cure
Met State, in its current incarnation, appears to have the same fate of birds, hours and bumblebees. It shall have its life sucked from it like the unfortunate fly caught helplessly in the web of the spider. The All Holy number of 220 is ruling our fate. The census will be 220 by June 30, clinical wisdom and simple compassion be damned. Even more grim is the number 440. The staff will Cut (think chain saw) from 700 to 440. Any doubts about reptilian nature of Our Masters? Look at how they work. Layoff notices come silently at 3:30 on Friday afternoon. Forms for requesting Lateral Transfer soon follow ("There's a nice sharp razor, now do the Honorable Thing")come the afternoon before Thanksgiving (from here on to be known as Bloodletting). And the first wave of transfers to Westborough State Hospital were planned for the first week of the year so the patients were being informed the week before Christmas. Merry Fucking Christmas to you too, pal. Yes it looks grim. What is an honorable and right-thinking employee to do?
Who lets these people live anyway? Yes, I too have visions of speeding past the Central and Area office in the back of a stripped-down Jeep Rambler with a Steyr SSG P-II sniper rifle and an Aerospatiale AACP short-range anti-tank rocket for a little old-fashioned justice ( the rifle has a 26-inch heavy barrel and Kahles steel tube scope, while the rocket is fully guidable with a 4-second quiet time ( they won’t hear it coming) and the low muzzle velocity, for you weapons fans - we're talking kick ass justice) but this is not a Realistic Option. Instead, we must choose our battles and make our stand where we have a chance in hell of coming out alive. At this point, your Crazed Correspondent ( the Demented Doktor) would say that this time will come between February and May when the principle of Political Expediency (the 220 rule) goes head to head with compassionate Treatment and Clinical Wisdom. Las Vegas currently has Political Expediency as the 9 to 1 favorite. I advise you to wait until early February when the odds are surely to go to something more like 14 or 20 to 1 and then lay out some serious cash. Why? Because we have the Hidden Factor on our side. The Factor of Truth, a King Hell sense of drama and not a mild taste for the raw flesh of our Oppressors. The time will come, gentle readers, for throwing off these false sheepskins and baring our fangs- the fangs of truth, love and Clinical Wisdom, and All Things Good. I, for one, will be damned if the State Mutants get away with wholesale emotional abuse of My People with their so-called fiscally driven Plan. I will not be one of the Good Germans who contribute to a Grand Tragedy when I know good and goddam well that the whole thing is Horseshit.... but I seem to be preaching a bit here. Suffice it to say that there is blood in the water, and no one is safe, least of all our beloved patients. If you thought that the late 60's was the age of Paranoia, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
These bureaucratic fiends have it all figured out, you see. They say that times are tough and cuts are necessary. But instead of being laid off, these shameless warthogs get promoted and put in charge of deciding who gets screwed. Where are the nurses, social workers, psychologists and doctors that got laid off or bumped? Cast your eyes upon the shore, gentle readers and shudder at the bones gleaming white in the sun.
"The horror, the horror..." Jim Conrad from The Heart of Darkness
What can I tell you kiddies? The Final Truth is, I hope, not yet written, though the signs are very grim. Trust no one especially some half mad dimwit administrator who tells you with a straight face that primary concern through all of this is the Clinical Care of the patients. Every step from here out must be made with great care or your leg may be chomped off up to the knee. One moment you'll be asked to do something that is not only okay, but a rare chance to do a little good, and the next moment you'll be asked to quietly put a bullet in someone's brain for the good of the greater majority. You've just awakened to realize that you've been wandering aimlessly in a minefield and the next step may render you a helpless mutant, so consider each step carefully. Now we'll find out who really has the balls. The weak will be eaten up quickly, so arm yourself, walk tall, watch your back, and do your best to ignore the mounting piles of bones...