By Jack Cawthon 2008
Although my intended reference is to Morgantown, the two institutions have much in common, differing only in a matter of degrees.

The Weston facility was established shortly before the Civil War and was designated a "lunatic asylum." As the mother state of Virginia provided funding for it, perhaps the elite folks of the eastern region felt there was a great need for those people crossing the mountains into the western wilderness.

It isn't politically correct nowadays to refer to anyone as a "lunatic." The lunar moon from which the name is derived has been proven not to cause mental distress, although if you look at the full moon and have a tendency to howl you may arrive at a different conclusion. There are today more humane methods for treating mental afflictions in a hospital setting instead of long internments.

The institution in Morgantown was founded on educational principles. As far as I know, at the time there wasn't a great deal of thought given to forming a major sports complex, which proves the lack of progressive thinking in olden days.

Coaches back then didn't even have agents or contracts and many of them may have been confined to Weston coaching lesser recognized sports such as shuffleboard or horseshoes, or perhaps serving themselves on such teams.

Recent happenings in Morgantown may have erased some of the gains made in coaching over the years as recent bizarre events have seemingly become routine, relating more closely to conditions at Weston.

A departing coach in Morgantown, who to my untrained eye may have delusions of grandeur, a treatable affliction today, but a confining one in days of yore, is represented by an agent and is now heading to a court of law to settle legal issues in a contract dispute.

In addition, he is accused by some of shredding documents. However, no one seems to have arrived at my conclusion that if in fact he was shredding them he was engaged as a agent for the CIA or other secretive government agency which seem to instill themselves in halls of learning, never learning lessons in the process. This in itself has movie making potential with possibly the aid of a good agent. Are you with me?

If some misbehavior did occur, then it may result in its own penalties in the end zone. After a few losing seasons in the big time, perhaps the coach will hope to return to his native state for employment. I, for one, am not about to buy a used car from him.

Another crazy incident, if you will allow that word, in Morgantown is the awarding of a graduate degree to a woman of some importance who didn't seem to complete the required course work. Just because she is the governor's daughter has little bearing on the case, as far as I'm concerned. View this objectively, folks!

The misunderstanding has been blamed on missing "paperwork." For a progressive institution to blame "paperwork" in this modern era is a little lame at most. Can we all say "com-pew-ter"?

If student documents come up missing , as blamed on the coach, or, heaven forbid, shredded, then I believe those jocks involved should all receive graduate degrees. But not until they learn to speak and write proficient English.

This rather sloppy method of record keeping has given me new hope as a grad school dropout. I anxiously await a call any day telling me my records had been misplaced—and, believe me, it was paperwork back then—and I will be awarded a well-earned degree.

Over the years, however, I have set my sights on greater attainment, that of an honorary doctorate for my achievements in journalism.

I am now a famous columnist for the Hur Herald who can boast of a national readership in the high single digits. I have my humble acceptance speech prepared and a special recognition of you readers who have helped me win the prize, although I do wish you would pay better attention to my profound wisdom.

There may be one more important characteristic linking Morgantown and Weston, and that is the party atmosphere. Although Morgantown has gained national recognition in that respect, Weston is not without it own parties, such as at Christmas time and other special occasions, but, sorry to say, it can't hold a lighted candle to a couch in uniqueness to its rival.

The physical locations of the two institutions should have been reversed, in my thinking. I have lived in both the central and northern sections of the state, and I feel the confinements of "lunatics" would have been far more suitable in the northern region, as there always has been an influx of immigrants from Pennsylvania who might well have benefited such institutional recognition.

The great stone building in Weston, which is now vacant, replaced by a modern hospital nearby, would have been ideal in housing an institution of higher education. With its many cell-like rooms each professor down to the lowliest instructor could have had his or her own private office, one of the most sought after, as well as fought after, rewards in higher education.

This has been a brief review of the two major mental institutions serving the state. I am in hopes that when I speak of time spent in the state's largest mental institution that you will be able to distinguish between them.

I must go now as it is time for my medication. With a full moon tonight, I'm concerned that my behavior may startle some people should I neglect my dosage. Also, it makes shaving the next morning so much easier.

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