Thurman P. Woodfork

JUDGMENT OF A HOMELESS VETERAN

Thurman P. Woodfork: Judgment of a Homeless VeteranHe’s lost, trapped deep within the lonely barrenness of Self; there is no bleaker, more forbidding place on this earth. He finds no solace, no peace, no succor there, only that stern, implacable, unforgiving judge… conscience. It no longer matters to him what others may think or believe. He’s mostly disengaged himself from the outer world. He exists, almost invisible, on its perimeter.

There is but one juror, one prosecutor, one judge in this singular court, embodied in one entity: himself. He sits alone on that remorseless panel of censure. The incongruence of it is lost upon him. His own depthless remorse has brought him here to be judged before the unforgiving bar of his personal ethics and morals. There is no one to speak in his defense.

And what is his crime? He felt too much; he cared too much; he saw far too much… and he remembers too much. Worse of all, he committed that ultimate offense – he survived when so many others did not.

Thurman P. Woodfork: Judgment of a Homeless VeteranHis penance was the slow erosion of self-esteem, loss of ambition, lack of will, and the pained, unreasonable surety that – somehow, in some inexplicable way – he caused it all. But endless contrition has not been enough. So this final, exacting judgment has been passed; the bailiff takes him away to serve his self-imposed sentence.

The executioner waits with the tools of oblivion in hand: bottle or needle, pipe or pills – perhaps all four. The end may come in a decade, a week, or an hour. It no longer matters to him. He feels as if his mortified suffering has become all but eternal.

He only knows that long-desired, peaceful release cannot possibly come soon enough. He waits, and wanders unnoticed among the uncaring people he once served so bravely. Walking Wounded until his merciful end.

The game of life is hard to play
I’m going to lose it anyway
the losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say

That suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

“Suicide is Painless”
M*A*S*H theme: Music by Johnny Mandel, Lyrics by Mike Altman