The Freedman Archives: Part II

The following is a collection of letters written by Gary Freedman to his imagined friend.

Monday, April 26, 2004

A Tree Falling in a Deserted Woods


Hey, buddy. What's up at the workplace?
You remember the old expression, "If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody's there to hear it crash, does the tree make a sound?" I suppose this letter--and all subsequent letters I write to you--follow that principle. If I write a letter to you and just save it on my own e-mail site, will that letter make its way to you? In my paranoid way of thinking, I suspect somehow and in some way the letter will ultimately find its way to your hands.
It's funny how I have transformed you into the invisible, absolutely incorporeal Jewish God. I can't see you, I can imagine no representation of you in the present, and I cannot communicate to you directly. I must rely on faith, my faith in the invisible and incorporeal in my communications with you. I wonder what that means. Perhaps that I'm not taking my medication. No, no, Brian. I am taking my medication. Ever since my "arrest."
That was some little production you arranged for me last Wednesday April 21. There I was in the library, preparing my latest letter to you, when in walked two police officers. Next thing I knew I was doing a little "Martha Stewart Living," answering questions, defending myself with dialectical authority against disturbing accusations and hoping, all the while, to evade a slimy prison shower. As I learned in Mr. Cades' ninth-grade English class there are certain sentences and prepositions that you just want to avoid.
Brian, I'm in a dark place. Yes, it's early morning, and I'm writing this letter by a dim light. I am in a dark place indeed. And I'm full of anger about my pain and suffering, pain and suffering caused, lo, these many years, by your friends and mine at the law firm run by the Waltz King--the world of perpetual three-four time. Someone will pay for my pain and suffering. Literally--not metaphorically. Earl L. Segal, Esq. and Malcolm Lassman, Esq. will pay for my pain and suffering--pay in an exemplary way, of course.
That was the whole problem, really, Brian. It was your failure to distinguish the real from the metaphorical. When I say I am in a dark place, I mean that (perhaps) literally, while you took it metaphorically (as relating only to my mental state).
What I meant as literal and concrete -- "Someone will pay for my pain and suffering," that is, pay out some cash from his richly-lined custom suit -- you took as a metaphor (someone will "pay" with physical harm.) For a lawyer, references to pain mean "pain and suffering," that is, punitive or exemplary damages. That's purely legal.
I think we have a basic failure to communicate. My literal is your metaphorical and my metaphorical is your literal. You have a literal, corporeal God; whereas my Divinity, like that of Glenn Fine and his ilk, is abstract: a metaphor. Curious, isn't it. What you consider to be real and corporeal -- namely, your physical being, I have now transformed into an abstraction -- a metaphor. You are now a purely abstract presence for me -- a chimera, a phantom, a ghost -- perhaps like Hamlet's father. Or the Jewish God.
And by the way Brian, I'm back on my anti-psychotic medication. Do you see the change? Do I appear more normal, more lucid, more coherent? Fat chance. The medication does nothing for me. It's a conspiracy, I tell you, a conspiracy! I think the pharmacy is giving me dummy pills. Sugar pills. I can't believe that I'm on anti-psychotic medication, can you? I have to say, I'm a little envious of William. You know, he suffers from bi-polar disorder. Yet the medication he takes works for him. He said he takes lithium and Risperdal (an anti psychotic medication). But as old FDR once said: "To some psychotics much medication is given with felicitous returns, of other psychotics much is expected in terms of therapeutic response. You, Freedman, have a rendezvous at St. Elizabeths Hospital." Perhaps I'll end up there one of these days. Only William Nussbaum knows for sure.
I can't believe the Metropolitan Police bought that line William Dacosta fed them. "Brian said he read only one letter--the letter in question, the letter dated Friday April 16, 2004." Now really!
I've been writing letters to you, Brian, since last April--April 2003. What you expect the Police to accept is that I've been writing letters to you for over a year, I've been changing the computer icons for over a year, but you only noticed this activity of mine on one occasion--and the one and only letter you read happened to be one of the few letters that, arguably, had any law enforcement interest. That's like the guy who goes to the racetrack on one occasion in his whole life, bets on a horse with a poor track record--and the horse wins and wins big! Right. How often does that happen?
And I also liked the fact that the letter I wrote AFTER the letter in question (dated April 16, 2004) discussed at length my views on violence. The letter dated Tuesday April 20, 2004--the day before the police intervention--clearly stated that I abhor violence as a form of dispute resolution and that people who resort to violence (people like the Columbine shooters in 1999) are morons. I said it's so much more fun to screw people legally with words than to physically harm a person.
We're supposed to believe that even after you were placed on notice that I had written (and saved on the computer hard-drive) a "disturbing" letter to you, that you had no curiosity at all about whether I wrote any letters subsequent to the disturbing letter. Wow! And then William provides the police with evidence that I'm an "icon manipulator." I have to laugh at that. That is an absolute triviality. And it could have been corrected with a warning. "Icon manipulation" is not grounds to bar a person from a library. It's the functional equivalent of a patron folding over a page in a book, leaving a fold mark on a page. Would you ban a patron from the library for folding over a page in a book? Sure, if he keeps doing it after a warning, that's cause for concern -- but really! A single computer click will return a computer icon to its proper form. A single computer click. Perhaps the police thought that what I had done (manipulating the computer icons) had caused a problem that would take hours to correct. In fact, it takes about two seconds to correct the problem (if you can call it a problem).
Let's look at the chronology here. Take a look at the following facts. When you consider the whole picture, Brian, you have to admit the whole thing smells -- and smells really rotten.
April 2003 to April 2004: I engage in a practice of manipulating computer icons and saving to the computer hard-drive letters that I have written to you, Brian. I engage in this activity for a one year period. You never noticed that I was engaged in that activity (so you would have us believe). But wait! There's more.
Friday April 16, 2004 -- I write and save on the computer hard-drive a letter that says that I'm in a dark place emotionally, that "people will pay for my pain and suffering," and that I was prescribed anti-psychotic medication but I was not taking it. This is the letter that you printed out--the letter William Dacosta provided to the Metropolitan Police on April 21, 2004. You, Brian, claim that's the only letter you had ever read. But wait. More.
Saturday April 17, 2004 -- I visit the library. We had a friendly chat. Computer Number 2 had been having problems with the mouse. I had brought in a replacement mouse that I paid for out of my own pocket at Radio Shack and was willing to donate to the library. I hand over the mouse to you. You thank me. You proceed to take the mouse over to Operations Director Charles Davis at the circulation desk. Charles tells you that the Radio Shack computer mouse I offered "is not compatible with" the library's computer system (which is Microsoft). You return to speak with me, to tell me that you cannot accept the mouse. You specifically used the phrase "not compatible with," information that had to have come from Charles Davis who is the resident computer expert. On this day, Saturday April 17, 2004, I write and save to the computer hard-drive another one of my letters to you. I manipulate several computer icons.
Monday April 19, 2004 -- The library is closed as usual on Mondays.
Tuesday April 20, 2004 -- I visit the library. I see you at the library, but we do not speak. I write and save to the computer hard drive a letter addressed to you, Brian. I manipulate several of the computer icons. The content of the letter dated April 20, 2004 is very important. I talk about my anger and feelings of rage. But significantly I state that I abhor violence and that I think people who commit violent acts in revenge are morons. I specifically referred to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two Columbine shooters. I called the two individuals morons.
Wednesday April 21, 2004 -- William Dacosta calls the police after I enter the library. The Police interview me in connection with the letter to Brian dated Friday April 16, 2004. The Police officers in question are from the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia: Officer J.E. Williams, Badge 1226, 2nd District (202 282 0070) and Officer Williams' partner.
William Dacosta denies that Brian has any knowledge of any other letters I have written, and denies knowing that I (for approximately one year) engaged in the act of tampering with the computer icons. The fact that a person could tamper with the computer icons for a year, while the activity goes unnoticed by the librarians, is persuasive (if not overwhelming) circumstantial evidence that icon tampering is absolutely trivial.
William Dacosta does not allege that I was engaged in a practice of harassing Brian (though such a case could have been made) or that I had been engaged in acts that constituted the crime of stalking Brian (such a case could have been made). The Police decide to enforce Brian's request that I stay away from the library for a six-month period--that is, until October 21, 2004. The police conclude that the letter dated April 16, 2004 does not constitute an unlawful threat to commit an act of violence. The Police officers' decision to enforce the 6-month ban on my visits to the Cleveland Park Branch is based only on my act of tampering with the computer icons. The police do not inquire of William Dacosta precisely what is involved to restore the computer icons, or question Brian's and William's failure to first issue a spoken warning to me about my conduct.
I stated in the letter dated April 20, 2004 that I prefer to vent my anger and rage with words, by writing or talking about my angry feelings. I specifically stated that I like to seek revenge by the use of words.
You didn't provide a copy of this letter, buddy, to William Dacosta to give to the police. The letter is exculpatory. I wrote the letter to clarify my views about anger and a desire for revenge--the desire to make people pay for my suffering through legal means. The letter was written a day before the Police spoke with me and William.
What you, Brian, would have the police believe is that a letter I wrote on Friday April 16, 2004 was a cause of serious concern regarding my mental health and stability--that, in effect, you were placed on notice that I had written a disturbing letter: BUT THAT you didn't bother to check to see whether I had written any subsequent letters. In fact, I wrote two additional letters after April 16, 2004. Namely, a brief letter to you on Saturday April 17, 2004 as well as the very important exculpatory letter I wrote to you dated Tuesday April 20, 2004.
I can't believe you had William feed this line to the police; your position is not credible! I have the letters I wrote to you, Brian. I'm sure the computer operators at the main library downtown (The Martin Luther King Memorial Library) can verify everything I claim about the sequence of the letters I wrote to you.
Brian-- You and William could end up being in very big trouble (with the law). Not only does the circumstantial evidence tend to show quite strongly that you lied to the police about my letter writing, there's something even more sinister going on here. There must be something bigger going on that you're trying to conceal. What is it? Why did you pick out one letter that I wrote that suggested that I was mentally unstable and potentially violent, but omit to tell the police about the exculpatory letter written a few days later?
How could you not know that I had been tampering with the computer icons for a one-year period? How could you not know that I was writing letters to you for a one-year period. And, why did you wait until April 21, 2004 to complain to the Police?
Anyway, buddy, I'm putting this letter and all subsequent letters I write to you on my confidential website on Netscape.
Let the world see what I have seen!
By the way, Brian-- I think your behavior to me is discriminatory. I notice that for years now you permit one of the patrons, John Conner (is that his name?) to sleep at a table in the back of the library. Would you have allowed that to continue if it was I who slept all day in the library. Not only that--sometimes the guy snores. Why on Earth do you allow John Conner to sleep all day in the library?
Check you out later, buddy. Give my regards to Earl and Malcolm.


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