My uncle just passed. I am crying, but not necessarily because it was untimely, I am ashamed that it was entirely predictable. My Uncle went through an arduous prolonged suicide known as alcoholism. My mother is one of thirteen children. Eight boys and five girls, this became a large family with a self destructive motif. All of my aunts, aside from their deceptive snarkiness are relatively normal. My uncles, however, all have a substance abuse problem. For sake of abysmal storytelling I will give first names: Kevin, Jack, Ralph, Roddy, Donald, Earl, Danny and Rick. When I was young my uncle Kevin passed due to Hepatitis from a shared needle. My Uncle Kevin, unbeknownst to most of the family, had a heroin addiction. It was his death that first rippled through the family. I did not know Kevin that well as I was about 5 years old when he died.

Fast forward to the summer of 1997. I was getting ready to move on to High School. At the beginning of the summer My mother and I, along with brother went to my Uncle Jack’s cottage in early July, in a town on Lake Huron about an hour away from where we lived at the time. I wasn’t really close with my Uncle Jack, but I trusted his words full well when on the night we arrived I overheard him speaking to my mother about a dream he had recently. He said “I was visited by two angels and I asked them if it was my time to go and they told me “Not yet”  It was a very vivid dream.” I was a bit spooked by what they were talking about and my christian sentiment at the time made this dream wholly real. I left that weekend not giving any particular weight to Jack’s words. At the end of August we had received word that my uncle had drowned in a canoe accident. What had happened is that he was drinking and had gone out in his canoe, we know this because he had called his mother, my grandmother earlier in the night quite upset and had been obviously drinking. There was a life jacket in the canoe, but Jack was not wearing it. He had stood up, possibly to go to the washroom, and most likely slipped out of the canoe and was not able to get back in or keep himself buoyant due to his intoxication, drowning alone in Lake Huron. This is how I lost my uncle Jack.

It had been relatively quiet until this year, 2008, when my uncle Rick died due to cirrhosis of the liver due to chronic alcoholism. Now, on July 23rd 2008 my uncle Donald has also passed due to alcoholism. He had been punishing his body for years, drinking excessively and not taking care of himself. Left living remain Ralph, Roddy, Earl, Danny. Ralph struggles with alcoholism, Earl has throat cancer and is not supposed to drink but does anyways worsening his condition. Danny likewise drinks excessively and leads his young daughter down a path to which she has to watch the shadow of a father decimate himself daily. Roddy is not an alcoholic…only eccentric and is by far the most normal of the entire family.

What does all this lead to? I am obviously not blaming only alcohol or substances in general. This problem is systemic. I have become almost jaded to the forefititive nature that my uncles have gone through and have attempted to medicate with substances all the while not filling their endless abyss. I am truly going to miss my uncles, Donald in particular. I cannot however forgive his submission to alcohol and also that more was not done by other relatives and those close to him to lend a hand to pick him up and not just keep him in a steady state of mutilated bliss, sedated, happy, but totally oblivious to the life he was wasting and the speed it was leaving him at. Donald was only in his early forties.

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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In Admiration – Part II

I recently wrote an post called “In Admiration” about inventor Troy Hurtubise. Every time I hear his name mentioned, see him on TV, or study something remotely similar to his exoskeleton suit I am proud to know that someone living remotely close to me cares about the same things. So naturally, when Mr. Hurtubise evidently visited my site and made a post on the article in which I wrote about him.  I was stunned… Better yet floored. Not only had he commented on the article, but he had actually posted a new video. he had let me know at this new video was that there not so much so that it would only get greater coverage, but also that I, his most recent fanboy, would also get a glimpse into the life of Troy Hurtubise.

You thought him getting hit with a bunch to logs was humorous. That was then… and while that may have hurt him at the time, there is nothing funny about what you are going to see.  He honestly could’ve lost his life, but he didn’t and neither would have many people if they had some of his inventions.  Enough with the prefacing, time to show you the good stuff.

I want to keep discussion about war out of this post. Although Hurtubise’s inventions are aimed at military use and protection, I am much more interested in the human quest to extend the capacity of what the human and its body is capable of through tools and ingenuity. When does the human stop being human and become something quite different altogether. Hurtubise, more so with his exoskeleton is ushering in a new era of combat and security within this realm and he is doing it from his own backyard with homegrown support. This isn’t to say that others aren’t doing similar and equally valid things, they are.

“If that door stops it..then I have wasted twenty years of my life.” How could he have predicted the rapid growth of high caliber rifles, armour piercing bullets, freaking ray guns! As I said, he has much more invested in this than the success of his product. If the product fails, he fails. Is this not the caveat of any inventor. Don’t give up, we need you, the world needs you. BOOM! “There’s your marine” says Hurtubise, its seems not all has been in vain. But this is where I become distressed as I did in the previous post. His megalomania is a deterrent to many who may not take him seriously. This put aside, he is right. He just punched through a hummer window!

Hurtubise’s protective pad is ingenious. Why is this not lining all the vehicles that are in combat currently? Why is this not woven into military uniforms. Cowardace, that is why. This is only a minor hypothosis… but bear with me. How would a team of graduate students from an impressive Ivory League school fare with a new nanopolymer invention which protects solidiers only with one fourth of the protectivity of Hurtubise’s suit if by producing it a company like Lockheed Martin recieved a heavy kickback. Probably quite well. What if a Canadian inventor in his garage invented a pad, a suit, and paste, which would inexpensively save multiple lives, and better yet to raise money so more people know about his work (as he doesn’t have the benefit of academia) he sells off his suit to spread the word further about his invention? Well I fail to see the use of his inventions in combat thus far. And the following is the length that Hurtubise is willing to go to in order to prove himself.

What an incredible display of courage.  But there is a fine line, but between courage and stupidity, he could have been really hurt.  But that’s what divides common people from those who excel our human race; Courage. Did you notice the knife? If you’ve seen Project Grizzly then you know that Hurtubise and that knife have a history. It didn’t help brace him for impact, but it guided him emotionally through the journey. One can only estimate how Hurtubise’s son, wife, and brother braced themselves for this moment. The thoughts that must have been going for all people involved before the detonation can only be understood from the position that Hurtubise knew he was about to be involved in this ‘demonstration’, what about those people who are fighting without this protection.

I am glad to see that Hurtubise still working hard to get his inventions recognized. As long as he is inventing I will be in full support of seeing his life saving devices continue to work and become recognized as the ingenuities that they truly are. Troy is techne.