"We pass the word around; we ponder how the case is put by different people, we read the poetry; we meditate over the literature; we play the music; we change our minds; we reach an understanding. Society evolves this way, not by shouting each other down, but by the unique capacity of unique, individual human beings to comprehend each other." - Lewis Thomas

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Hermit and His Castle

There was once a man, who isloated himself onto an island called Hornby. In his youth, he had worked as a Park Ranger for the forestry. As he aged his mind deteriorated, manifesting itself as a mental illness recognized as OCD(Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) more specifically Hoarding.

His Kingdom, similar yet much broader and wider than those presented to us on that TLC show "Hoaders", was vast, thriving and lushuous. Like any good king he sat in on his throne, a lawn chair setup in the centre of his collection of memories, and watched over his 'subjects' (objects). A minstril in the shape of an old, wooden radio sits next to their king for entertainment.

As he regards his subjects with eager eyes, memories flood through every pipe of the brain, like a newly 'pumped' bath. He sits in the centre, watching each of the carefully carved trails through his memorial kingdom. The saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure" is not lost on him at all. Each piece of his so called 'junk' held a specific and special memory which kept this lonely king's soul alive.

His collection, his material memoire, cost him his princess and his queen. The life of a king amongst inanimate subjects took a toll on the royal family of his Island Kingdom. His method of coping was to keep more, and more, and more. His kingdom expanded and grew, like a roman general commanding a legion of men across Europe. He placed each object, each subject into its respected place. Old baby carriages with old baby carriages, tires there, coat hangers here...oh and over there an elephant lamp fraternizing with the lawn gnomes.

A soul tortured by his illness. He covered his house with his physical epic. He discovered upon the water front a place where he could bath, the rocks held the heat of the sun which warmed the salt water. His life held meaning within his objects, his objects showed him his worth. A king looks down at his subjects and the subjects kneel before their king.

Life continued on as normal, bathing in the ocean, resting upon his throne with his radio minstral playing. He looked out upon his empire, with a reminiscent gaze. Adoring, memorizing, organizing.

As history has shown every man, great or small, every glorified empire must tumble into rubble. Even those created out of the rubble of exiled objects. The sound of backhoes, bulldozers and excavators unvieled themselves at his door step. They began excavating his collection, burning his memoire, erasing the memories he held.

A warrent had been issued by the Island Counsil to clean up his property. Our king was arrested for attempting to stop the crew. He was held, and made to watch his world be crushed around him. His kingdom burned to the ground, and with it all everything he held dear, everything that was special (which was everything mind you) was tossed into the flames.

A man who was made to watch everything he owned being taken from him, having to watch his own world being destroyed before his eyes. A true story which happened to a man on Hornby Island, near my home town. He was an old fellow who was a legitimate 'hoader', his illness progressed over time and had caused his wife and daughter to leave him. He was a park ranger before retirement, smart and articulate. A lonely soul, who was not offered much compensation for this, except access and information on mental health services he can contact.

I thought I would share a rather breif story about this man. As when I had heard about this story from the police officer that had to arrest this poor man for interferance, I was taken back, a bit hurt and got rather worked up over the injustice of it. The officer, my mom's boyfriend, had a good and working relationship with the man and liked him very much, as he caused no trouble to no one. His only flaw was that he collected, sorted and hoarded objects of 'meaning' to him. There were some health issues with the property, so for that I can understand, yet I still can not help to feel terrible that my province, and that this has happened so close to my home.

This was the only thing that I could think of to do for him, was to share the story with those of you who do read my blog. I feel bad for the man and I could not imagine having to watch my world fall around me. Having my property invaded by judging others who hold their wealth and power over the heads of others.

Thank you for reading this, as it is stories like these that have influenced my studies in Psychology and my possible persuit into Law.


  1. Crazy! Wow! The poor guy!
    But at the same time, clutter drives me nuts! I could see why there would be concern. Either way, its an unfortunate situation.

  2. you will make a good shrink one day :)

    You captured the essence of a terrible illness, and maybe what's even worse our inability to help someone in that tragic situation.... Good Post..

  3. Oh thank you Bendigo I hope to one day make a good shrink =o ^^

    Yeah, Kay, clutter drives me crazy to when it gets to be too much.


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