A Man Named Doug

Doug was an enigma

Let me introduce you to a character. Picture in your mind a tall man with a little bit of a potbelly, but still with the appearance of being thin. At first glance he might look average, but when you look at his face that belief fades quickly. A long nose, and wild eyes would be the first thing you notice. A mouth with a few missing teeth, trimmed by a thick mustache comes next. Top it all off with wild, and unruly, long reddish brown hair with a little bit of a bald spot, and you have Doug.

Doug was one of the first people I worked with when I first got into surveying, and he was the most enigmatic person I have ever met. Brilliance, and stupidity could come out of his mouth with the same breath. Sometimes he was one of the most logical people, with great ideas that just made sense, and sometimes he was completely insane (I'll deal with this more later).

As a crew chief Doug had some failings. Sometimes if he made a mistake he would blame is calculator, or the barometric pressure, or anything but admitting that he was wrong. He was a good surveyor, and a terrible surveyor at the same time.

I always dreaded the days I knew I was going to work with Doug, but once we were working we always had fun, and I can't ever remember having a bad day with Doug. I can remember finding some wild watermelons in a field one time. Doug took the machete, and cut one in half, and we each ate part of it with our bare hands. We used to stop at old cemeteries, and read the epitaphs on the headstones. Once we found the grave of a man who was killed by Pawnee Indians. I honestly have some very fond memories of him. Doug was the kind of guy who would steal from you, but at the same time if you were stranded with him, and he only had one slice of bread he would have shared it with you. Like I said he was an enigma.

I liked Doug a lot, but despised his lifestyle. Drugs played a major role in Doug's life from a young age. He was a man of many vices, and most of them were narcotics. I remember after he got a hold of the anarchist's cookbook, he spent half an hour in a feed store reading the ingredients to fertilizer. He told me personally that he sold cocaine on occasion. I never knew if I should believe him or not. Once in a while he would really open up, and tell me how miserable he was in his life. How he knew he didn't have any real friends. That everyone who hung around him just wanted to use him.

Now, about the crazy Doug. One day he told me that methamphetamine fueled the third Reich. Or there was the time he thought that a star that we could see as we drove at night was a helicopter following us. Apparently that helicopter followed us from Kansas City, to Newton. The most incredible thing he ever told me was about how white ninjas broke into his house, and he chased them off. They escaped through a crack in the foundation barely big enough to slip a piece a paper into.

So that is my story of Doug. The last I heard he was in prison for making crystal meth, and selling it. There is living proof that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Just say no.

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