I'm going to vent here for a moment, and I appreciate everyone's indulgence.
I've had a few instances in my life where I was horribly wrong in my assessment of another person. I would guess that we all have. I've misjudged coworkers, former friends, and an ex-wife, but in the end you chalk it up to "never really knowing someone until you have been around them for years".
Well, even that expectation can get blown out of the water, and this happened to me on Monday night. I was watching CSI - Miami, still trying to get into that show, and there it was...
...a preview of the news at 11 o'clock, the announcer says "a local prominent insurance business owner is arraigned today on 17 counts of fraud." I dropped my can of soda as I watch my uncle, being paraded in front of a Judge, in the prison garb and handcuffs. It was a pretty sickening feeling to see someone I have known my entire life standing there.
This is a guy who is/was my father's best friend (he is actually a cousin, not an uncle, but we always called him uncle), and lay minister in his church, one of the most successful insurance guys in the Portland area with loyal customers staying with him for over 30 years. He routinely held bible study at his home, and was just the nicest man you would ever want to meet.
I called my father and got the whole story. It would seem that over the past three years he has been selling annuities that don't exist, and keeping the cash for unknown purposes, and that these events had totalled in the neighborhood of $300,000. Combine that with the fact that he mortgaged their previously paid for house, and the loses total well over half a million dollars... and no one knows what he did with the money, though being the cynical person I am, I would guess it is either drugs, gambling, or both.
The court scene showed me all I needed to see. There was his daughter, whom I had grown up with, as the only person in the court room. His wife of 40 years was no where to be seen, and how could I blame her. Everything they worked together for their entire lives was lost, and she will be financially ruined.
I am heading over to see him in jail shortly. This will be one of the few times in my life that I feel speechless. I think I have had entirely too much drama in my life these last two years.
That's why I appreciate the environment that John has created here, and that all of you provide through your participation.
The AR journals, cali's stories, Fluff's recaps, Paulie's hilarious precaps, and if you haven't seen JR's Fear Factor recap, go read it now. All great stuff, and where I go when I need to smile. Thanks folks!