Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Suicide Isn't Painless

Many of you remember my days on ROCK 94 when I was Scruffy. You will also remember that before that station was euthanized for no good reason to the oh-so-popular Jack that Bill Toffan found a guy who played the part of an over-sexed senile senior citizen named Horvey Schwartz. There were some funny moments in that studio. Funny, funny moments! There were mornings that my ribs were sore after dealing with this clown. The guy that played Horvey was a good man. He was a funny man, he was a creative man, he was a guy that frankly I thought should have gotten a better deal than what he got from whoever at the station. He was a friend!

I kept in touch with the individual who played Horvey, but I did lose contact with him when he moved to Saskatoon. That was until about 18 months ago when through the magic of Facebook he found me. I did not know he had tragically lost his oldest son at the ripe age of 12, but he told me that as painful as that was, it got him back together with his wife. I had seen him once, and we laughed over the good times at ROCK over a cold beverage or two. He would e-mail me bad jokes and I would send him some equally bad ones. He wanted to know about the Riders, I gave him the answers. He was one of the first to get a hold of me when the “Oust Mitch” mission had been accomplished at CJME and gave me a good pep talk. He’s a big Jacksonville Jaguars fan, so I had to let him know of my delight when the Seahawks crushed the Jags 41-0 just over a week ago. I got an e-mail back from him telling me where to go and how to get there. He also said he would be here for one of the final two Rider games and that we should get together. I said just let me know what one you are here for and we’ll make it happen. It won’t!

I found out Wednesday afternoon that the man who played Horvey and made many laugh during his time on ROCK 94 committed suicide Monday night. His life had taken a serious downturn over the past two months. The woman he loved with all his heart abandoned him when he needed her most by leaving without warning. Going away and taking his other kids with her simply crushed him to the point of no return. He tried to fight the pain he was going through, but it was obviously too much. I don’t know how to react other than to say that I am shocked over what has transpired.

I’m angry. Angry because committing suicide is taking the easy way out. Yes, life dealt you some raw hands and I can’t imagine the pain of losing one of my children or having my wife leave me out of the blue for whatever reason. But damn it, you were a better person than that. You know damn well that there were friends for you who you could talk to. Yes, we weren’t the best of friends, but you knew you could spill your guts out to me and I would tell you that somehow it would get better because it would have. Did you reach out to someone? Did you just give up without a fight? Did you do this just to spite your wife? Did you weigh into consideration what this will do to those who were very close to you---like your other kids? WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!!! There are many tonight who are feeling extreme pain because of what you’ve done wondering if they could have done something. That’s the way I’m feeling and I know I wasn’t in your inner circle of friends.

While I’m angry at what you’ve done, I also feel a sense of relief. A sense of relief because yes, I read the blog that you had started and e-mailed me about. I know the pain you have lived with for the past few years that was increased recently is over and that perhaps you have met up with your son in heaven. I’m sure he is asking you why you are where you are and not down here with the rest of us.

Most of all, I’m confused and I’m saddened. I was looking forward to sitting down with you again at the Press Box because it had been way too long since we had seen one another face-to-face. That won’t happen. The next time the Seahawks crush the Jaguars, you won’t be around to talk trash to. When I go to Saskatoon, I won’t be looking you up even though I want to. I won't be commenting on your Facebook status and I won't be telling you what my new full time gig is---whenever that happens. When I sit down to check my e-mail, I don’t have to worry about going “Oh god what is he sending me now!” I went back and checked some of the old ones before I wrote this. I laughed again and then asked whether or not I wanted to delete the messages or not. If I do, I delete you and I don’t think I want to do that.

You left an impact on me and many others. The impact on those others was a lot greater and I’m sure they are more devastated than what I am. You will be missed though my friend. You will be missed.

Good night Horvey Schwartz (aka Ted C). You were a unique individual and one that I will remember. Some of my favourite days in radio revolve around you. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why you’ve done what you have and I don’t think I want to try and understand. I’ll just remember the good times we had.


Anonymous said...

Great post Mitch. It's a sad situation, but I'm sure Horvey Schwartz is thankful for the friend he had in you.

Next time the Jags play have a tall frosty cold one & say Cheers to the big guy. I'm sure he'd appreciate that!

J. Shaw said...

This news absolutely crushes me Mitch. Ted and I played on the same touch football team for a couple of years about 10 years ago, and we shared many, many laughs together along with roadtrips to the States that were absolutely side splitting. I too recently caught up with Ted through Facebook. I knew he was devastated after Thomas's passing (who wouldn't be?) but he seemed to have rebounded. I'm absolutely shocked. I'll miss him...he was a wonderful guy and I'll remember the good times.
RIP Buddy!

J. Shaw

Anonymous said...

I think that it's cruel to point the finger at his wife. This woman is probably already blaming herself for the death of her husband. A death that was not her fault. Did it ever occur to you Mitch, that as you weren't in his inner circle of friends, that maybe there were things you didn't know? I doubt their marriage broke up without reason the first time and if she left him a second time I can promise you there was a reason for that to. Suicide is a choice, a horriable, devestating and sad one but a choice non the less and I don't think there was any need to bring his wife into this article. Sometimes you need to do what's best for you and for your children, she shouldn't have to feel guilty about making that choice, she's got enough to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Post this if you wish Mitch, but I thought I would just clear up a big misconception in the world today. Anytime someone dies, most people think they go to heaven and are looking down on us. If heaven is perfect and there is no evil, no pain, hurt, or sin why would God allow people who have died to see on earth where all of these things occur. When people die, they either go to heaven or hell, that's it, no place else. They don't look down on us. I feel for your friend, I really do, I can't imagine losing a family member or a wife. I do believe commiting suicide is not an automatic ticket to heaven, it is the opposite I believe unfortunately. Only God has the power to give life and take away, not ourselves. I just wish people would realize this before they take their life.

By the way, I like your blog and respect your opinions, even though I don't agree sometimes. I hope you are back in broadcasting soon where you belong. All the best

Anonymous said...

Hi Mitch:
I didn't know Ted, but I do remember the days of Horvey and yes, he was a very talented man. I asked Bill about him once and he said that everything he did was all his and there was no service that he subscribed to.

Those were some funny skits that you and Bill and Jeff and Vinnie and I think it was Marilyn were involved in. I stopped listening when ROCK turned into JACK and I haven't been back since. Whoever made the decision to get rid of what was Regina's best station and get rid of Regina's best announcer in Vinnie Scarpelli at the time was a definite jackhole if you know what I mean. Where is Vinnie right now? For that matter where is Bill and Jeff? I heard Bill left recently so I have to wonder if he and Jeff are partners again. Sad to think we went from those two to that Woody idiot. I have seen him out in public and the guy is as funny as cancer. All the best Mitch.


Anonymous said...

Heaven is perfect! God plays no role in these things as it's man's separation from God created by original sin is what allows these things on Earth to transpire. It is not for anyone on Earth to cast judgement on where Ted is or what he is doing now. Even in death there are those who would still feel they need to judge him. Jesus told us in John 3:16 that Eternal Life is for ALL believers. There is no caveat emptor or trailer to that instruction as much as my Catholic and Mormon brothers may think so. RIP Ted, and I hope you finally have peace.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is the forum to critique radio stations, but Richard hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. I think Vinnie is in Victoria, but who knows what happened to Bill after he left. That's the day I stopped listening to JACK. Your former employers must really have a bunch of rocket-scientists running the place.

Phil L

PS: While this post is a little sombre, I do like your blog Mitch.

Anonymous said...

Depression is a disease as real as any disease. Like a cancer, it can run rampant in someone's life. Sometimes it is caught, diagnosed, and treated successfully, and sometimes despite everyone's best efforts it still claims a life.

Sometimes, like a tumour, depression isn't discovered or diagnosed until it is too late.

So although anger is a natural reaction when someone passes away, just like denial and bargaining and the other stages of grief, being angry at Ted is as rational as being angry at someone who has succumbed to cancer.

Remember this man for the life he lived, not for how it came to a close. And for those who say that suicide is an act of cowradice or disregard, you haven't been there. You can't understand.

Anonymous said...

I really wondered if I should post this. Ted worked for a couple of the biggest shitholes to ever grace the employment scene in Regina. When this happened they gave him no support, and hindsight being 20/20 that should have happened. I think he has been in survival mode, and again like the above poster stated mental illness is just a ravaging disease if it goes unchecked. Dave Batters had the exact same thing happen to him, and by all accounts there appeared an intelligent rational man. When this disease creeps in, all that goes out the window because physical ability has no part in being able to heal the person. It becomes overwhelming to the person, and it is just devastating. I have tremendous compassion for anybody that has had depression or anxiety issues. It's a nightmare.


Anonymous said...

Mitch, sorry to discuss heaven and hell on your blog, so once again feel free to post or not.

Obama, you are right, Heaven is perfect and that we shouldn't judge people who have died, only God decides where we end up for eternity(actually we decide where we'll end up by believing that Jesus died for us or not believing). You are partly right about John 3:16. It says eternal life to anyone who truly believes in Jesus, not everyone who is alive or just believes when it's convenient or says they believe and just live a life of sin. Anyways, God knows our true heart and He will deal with us in the end. I don't know why people even take a chance in this life, this life is a mere grain of salt compared to eternity. I know I'm a sinner and always will be and I don't deserve heaven, but Jesus paid that price for me so I can enter heaven.

I do hope that Ted finally does have peace in heaven, I really do. I just couldn't imagine an eternity spent in torment(hell). There is no break from the torment, ever. No water, no light, no talking with friends, no relaxing, no sports, nothing, just torment for ever and ever. God did not create hell for his people, he created it for Satan and his angels, but people who do not believe make their own choice to go there.

Mike from Vita, MB said...

As Chief Dan George was quoted "Don't judge another person's actions UNTIL we've walked a mile in their moccasins!" None of us know for sure why people take their lives...better that we don't know...otherwise we'll be carrying that burden too.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Ted and I feel your pain Mitch as one of my close friends committed suicide two years ago. I was angry. I thought this is the way you want people to remember you. What a coward you are! I knew he was having some problems in his life, but I didn't think they were as serious as they were and he always seemed to want to change the conversation whenever I tried to bring up what was bothering him. Two years later, I still don't think he should have done what he did, but I tried to understand why he did it. It will take some time, but you might eventually feel that way too.