April 1: Thoughts for the Day

The pressures associated with a household move are nothing in comparison to the pressures associated with starvation, war, famine, or social unrest. At least that’s what I’ve been told. So I shouldn’t complain.  But I will, nonetheless.  Won’t I?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to April 1: Thoughts for the Day

  1. Mosha says:

    That poor woman, and after such a long life, and apparently vital one, too How could they have though her a mannequin is so hard to imagine. She even left a suicide note apologizing?!…so sad…

  2. juan says:

    Incredible, isn’t it, my good friend. Here’s the story from the Tampa Times:

    Nancy Yates, 96, was discovered early Wednesday at the Peterborough Apartments, 440 Fourth Ave. N. Her body lay in the parking lot for hours because a desk clerk believed it was a mannequin, part of an April Fool’s prank, police said.

    A native of England, Yates might have been in the United States since the late 1970s, police said. She founded the library at Peterborough Apartments, a reading room with three leather couches, fiction and nonfiction, biographies and encyclopedias.

    “She was very cognizant and sharp,” said Joseph Rubin, 86, who lives three doors down. “She was kind of reclusive at the end. I think she was kind of lonely.”

    Yates told Rubin she had served as a nurse for the British Armed Forces during World War II. He said she seemed to have lost weight in recent months.

    At some point after discovering her body, Ronald Benjamin, the desk clerk, enlisted the help of two people delivering the Tampa Bay Times to throw the body into a Dumpster. Police said it appeared Benjamin and others genuinely believed the body to be fake. Consequently, no charges were filed. Benjamin, 61, was fired as a result of the incident.

    Yates left a note in her apartment apologizing for her suicide, police said.

  3. My god, Juan, that is such a brutal, painful thing to read. I imagine an old woman living in pain or in loneliness or both might finally decide there’s nothing more left for her. If people around her cared, if they spent time with her, if they noticed her, for god’s sake, she might have had a few more years that, for her, could have been worth living. But to be ignored and not even acknowledged as a human is an indignity no one deserves.

  4. juan says:

    On April 1st, a 93 year old woman in St. Petersburg, Florida, took a leap from her 16th floor balcony and committed suicide. The body laid there for hours. The 61 year old attendant at the front desk of the condominium saw the body there on the sidewalk, but took it as an April fool’s joke. He said he thought it was a mannequin.

    He simply ignored it.

    Some hours later that morning, the paper-boy and his mother showed up with newspapers for the front desk of the condo. The front desk attendant asked if they would help him remove the “mannequin” from the walk, to which they did, carrying the body to the dipsy dumpster and depositing the body there.

    None of them recognized the “mannequin” as an actual body.

    Later…when flies appeared (I suppose), someone recognized the mannequin in the dumpster as a real body.

    That’s when it made the news.

    Students in my class laughed at the story when I read it to them. We were doing Elliot’s “Prufrock” at the time. The juxtaposition was incredible (to me).

    “How could anyone be so stupid?” they asked. “Why didn’t she simply take pills,” another asked.

    None recognized the real tragedy here: To be dead at 93 from suicide, and not even be recognized as something human. What was her life? Why suicide?

    I wish I could say, “April Fools” for this story, but that is not the case.

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