Crazy Ass Shit


Some of you know that what prompted me to start a blog last July was nearly getting hit by a SUV at Starbucks. At the time, I thought the driver was drunk or on drugs because he backed out of the store and sped away. Later, when I read about it in the Berkeley Daily Planet, I learned that the driver had “attacked” Starbucks and that he was taken to a mental hospital instead of arrested, which REALLY pissed me off. It’s quite terrifying to be sitting there wearing earplugs, trying to write a few more sentences of your book, when the windows and doors suddenly implode. (At first I thought a bomb had gone off on the sidewalk.) Recently, when I’ve walked past Starbucks, I’ve wondered why the guy did it and whatever happened to him. Well, last week I found out. My sister called me from Michigan one day to say, “You’re not going to believe this, but that guy who crashed into Starbucks is on Dr. Phil.” It turned out he has bipolar disorder and Dr. Phil was doing a show on bipolar disorder, including a reenactment of “Fred” crashing into Starbucks – right down the street from my house. And here is what Fred had to say:

“It was a choice between robbing a bank and going through a store.” It turns out that Fred hears voices, the voices of producers and directors telling him what Hollywood scenes to act out. That day he “was hearing a plethora of voices-mainly Al Pacino.” Fred, a pretty average looking 41 year old, somtimes thinks “that everywhere I look there’s a camera watching.” And when Fred doesn’t take his medicine, he sometimes has “episodes.” Those episodes have included stealing a cab and driving it to LA (which landed him in the hospital); dangling off the top of St. Peter and Paul cathedral in San Francisco, and crashing into Starbucks. “My life is one constant movie where people are following me,” he says. Now, you may wonder, why would Fred EVER choose NOT to take his medicine. Well, because life is pretty dull in the real world, not nearly as exciting as hanging out with Al Pacino and getting your face plastered all over TV – thanks for THAT Dr. Phil. On the one hand, I’m happy to know what really happened that terrifying morning in July. On the other hand, this guy got exactly what he wanted, to be on T.V., so what’s to prevent him from not taking his medicine again in order to provoke another episode so he can get on TV again? And there was NO mention on Dr. Phil of people in or near Starbucks that day. All the tables were full, people were waiting in line and my friend Alina was on the sidewalk with her baby in a stroller-on her way in. The only reason Fred didn’t kill anyone that day is because no one happened to be on their way in or out the door – or putting milk or sugar in their coffee at the condiment stand which is RIGHT NEXT TO the door. So Fred got lucky and guess what? He’s not only walking free, he’s driving free. What the hell is that guy doing with a driver’s license? Why isn’t he in jail? Another quote from Fred: “The reason why I chose not to take my medication was because I was acting for Hollywood.” And what does Dr. Phil tell him? We’re all rooting for you, Fred. You have a lot of support out there in the audience. Well guess what, Fred. I’M NOT rooting for you! Take your damn medication!

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