CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - Study Finds West Virginians Two Bubbles Shy of Plumb; We Should Consider That NUTS!

Well, West Virginia has come up Number One again! A study has found that we rate that lofty position as we are the most mentally challenged in the nation. Doesn’t that appear crazy to you?

Don’t remember who did the study or when, but it may have been made during a legislative session. But who voted those rascals in?

West Virginia has been rooted in first place in several studies. In he past we were pretty competitive with Louisiana and Mississippi but recently we have had the honors all to ourselves.

We are fat, we smoke too much, and we ain’t too educated. Wouldn’t all that negative talk take one a little off the center lane?

I may have skewed, or screwed, the study with my own case which I have mentioned several times: I spent 20 years in the state’s largest mental institution in a city just south of the Pennsylvania line but far out from West Virginia. Far out! As we once said in the 60s!

Bob Weaver often mentions his fight with alcohol addition, not ashamed of discussing the toll it took on his life. I have been hesitant to discuss mine, but maybe I should come out of the attic and let it float down. After all, all of you who read this column are above average and have no part in those cited studies. Alas, however, many of you may be out of state!

Mine was a rare disease, so rare it hadn’t been named. Only later I was able to find it listed in a psychology journal. The name for the dreaded affliction is academentia and its root cause is too much higher education overfilling a brain with limited capacity, causing an overflow which damages the nervous system. That is the simple description minus the medical technology.

For 20 long years I suffered while the medical establishment sought a remedy for a unique disease. I can’t complain too much about the administration of the institution where I was sheltered. I was provided therapy of a sort, given a title of editor for the purpose of personal exultation, and allowed to cut and paste pages of what were called research publications.

As I had attended journalism school, considerable study has been conducted indicating that that could have been the beginning of the disease. As much of the “research” consisted of the uses of chicken waste I was often referred to as the chicken excrement editor, academically speaking, a title not helpful for self esteem.

I found that the authors of the “research” suffered also. They were under a mandate to publish or perish; fortunately I didn’t need to publish, I had only to perish!

I finally exhausted the patience of those running the institution as my problem persisted with no remedy in sight. I was finally given a pass to the outside world and told not to let the door hit me on my pass through it.

But suddenly as I exited, being careful of the door, I felt relief. I felt my mind draining, drawing off the noxious fumes over filling the limited neurons in the brain region. I bid farewell to those most helpful to my medical problem: the women of the office who treated me with hot coffee and ribald jokes.

The Herald has been most helpful in my recovery. I attribute it to the compassion of Bob Weaver who is never hesitant to speak of his ordeals. This column has been a great help in gaining a place in the real world, but at the same time I may have been cursed with another disorder of the brain: delusions of grandeur that I am a writer.

There you have it the best I can confess to you. You are helping a victim, who was once institutionally confined, by reading this column and understanding the circumstances under which it is written. What that does to your mind is your own business.

But you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that if you a lack a college degree, or failed to attend graduate school, there but the blessing of a higher power, not associated with higher education, go I.