By Lee Gutkind
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Additional resources for Forever fat: essays by the Godfather
Daniel suffered serious neurological damage when the ceiling collapsed on his head. The system that rescued him wasn’t any too kind to Daniel, either. During his adolescence, Daniel was transferred from facility to facility twenty-one times; his counselors and support workers, his only parental ﬁgures besides me, changed every six months and sometimes less. Even the psychiatrist, who had rescued him from a near-vegetative state in a county mental hospital, had been ﬁred from the facility and abruptly taken off his case the evening before Daniel had attempted to kill himself.
The door opening. Will he yell? Will he say, “I know you aren’t sleeping; I know what you did today,” then charge my bed and pummel me awake? Or, will he decide to let it go—“temporarily”? If “temporarily,” I have hope. I will stay in bed until he ﬁnishes his shower the following morning and goes into his bedroom to dress. I will run into the bathroom, relieve myself, brush my teeth and rush back to my room before he ﬁnishes. I will dress while he eats breakfast. I will appear in the kitchen when he is in a hurry to go to work.
O’Reilly went on and on, repeating his taunting war dance a half-dozen times a week, but Mixon never ﬂinched. He stared through Chief Petty Ofﬁcer O’Reilly’s ﬂushed forehead as if the man didn’t exist. Mixon had long ago programmed himself to deaden his senses when people were hurtful or abusive. He could not pretend that O’Reilly wasn’t abusing him in the most despicable way imaginable, but I admired how Mixon refused to show any anger, weakness, or emotion. He was a rock. I brieﬂy considered trying to befriend Mixon; we might have something in common.