A long time ago, when I was still in high school, I had a nice friend with a story strikingly similar to my situation today. This girl, who also shared a name with me, had a violent stepfather suffering from both Tourette’s syndrome and alcoholism. This man who had entered the life of my friend and her siblings shortly after the death of their father, ruled their existence with an iron fist!
My friend and her siblings, as expected, were appallingly ashamed of being related to this creature, but were forced into the situation with no apparent way out. The kids, as a result, were reserved and quiet, keeping to themselves for the most part. It was, however, the stepfather, who was all out and about, making a fool out of himself, and his assigned family.
What was more depressing was that it seemed that others took some kind of pleasure, or satisfaction of a deep-seated curiosity, by engaging him, which in turn, disappointed and ashamed his stepchildren further.
He would show up at school at odd hours claiming to want to check into the kids’ academic progress. The office staff, being fully aware of his history and reputation, would invite him in, circle around this perplexing yet amusing creature, while his step kids looked in with humiliation and discomfort.
The intention of the school staff may have been noble in nature, but the end result was nothing but an hour of leisure and distraction from everyday work, and for some, a time colored with anger, and regret at their own inability to help his poor step kids. Afterwards it was business as usual.
My friend rarely attended any social events. Once in a blue moon that she did, the stepfather would emerge supposedly to pick her up, and almost every single time, he was invited in, and engaged in pointless conversations which ended up in the display of his drunken behavior, paired with his tics and verbal outbursts. No one seemed to be concerned, and if some were, it was not for more than a few minutes. After all, he would soon leave and they could all attend to their normal existence.
No one stepped in to make it better for the kids. No one cared to acknowledge the dreadfulness of the situation beyond just a few minutes of entertainment here and there. The kids learned the awful reality of helplessness, and isolation.
Years had passed, and now, for the first time, I am finding myself in their shoes, feeling every bit of emotion, from rage to helplessness, and isolation.
I am my friend and my violent alcoholic stepfather with Tourette’s is none other than Ahmadinejad, but with the entire world as his audience.