Saturday, July 11, 2009

Retarded People Kick Ass!

I had been at "Beechwood" group home for nearly 3 months before it happened. Just long enough to get complacent and think that I'd seen everything it had to offer. Everyone had acted up in some capacity by that point and I had handled myself just fine as usual. Coming from "Covington" group home where there were 6 residents who ALL had violent behaviors, "take downs" were just apart of your work day so going to "Beechwood" and it's four clients was a cake walk in my opinion.

If you're not familiar with the living situation I'm talking about, allow me to explain. The group homes I worked at were for the mentally retarded who had nowhere to go once they closed a lot of the mental institutions in Michigan because of abuse and neglect. People used to be incredibly ignorant in how they treated them. I.E.-"Stacking them" on top of each other-the workers in these places would bet on how high they could get the pile before they toppled over. "Shower time" sometimes involved a firehose and "dinner time" was "slop" doled out into a bowl and if it was stolen by another retarded person, then the victim would just go without.

Yeah, it was great.

So once the "powers that be" pulled their heads out of their asses and realized how fucked up this was, they decided to put alot of these folks in nice homes in residential areas and try to assimilate them to living in society. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it was just better than what they got in the institution. Such as being raped with broom handles like "Chuck" , one of the guys I took care of. Poor Chuck. He wasn't even retarded when he was put in a facility. He was just a hyperactive child who now a days would've been put on Ritalin but it was the 1950's and he had extremely ignorant parents. Chuck became what they call "institutionally retarded" after years of abuse. By the time I worked with him, he either talked to himself constantly OR jerked off.

"Take Downs" were something we were taught during a 2 week training course back when I started my career as a "direct care" staff in 1992. It has since become a defunct practice due to misuse. Because alot of these folks still weren't capable of acting civilized, many times they would become violent and you had to know how to physically restrain them WITHOUT hurting them. That's where the technique of "taking them down" came into play.

The teaching of this was ridiculous. The instructor told me to act as though I was attacking her so that she could show the class a choreography of an acceptable "take down". She grabbed my right wrist, pulled me towards her while spinning me around away from her. Then she grabbed my left wrist to where she had me in a wrap then started backing up till I lost my balance and lowered me to the floor where she held me like that for a minute or two. GAY.

It was gay because as I would find out, the shit didn't work when the person was trying to bite, scratch, punch, kick and jab your fucking eyes out. What I found out was that sometimes the "unacceptable" was the only way to save your ass from getting pummeled. Meaning sometimes you did things that the general public would call abusive but that's only because they weren't being attacked by a 250 pound man who wanted more dessert.

"Covington" had 6 residents. Two women and four men and in my 5 years there- I was bit, punched, had a chair broke over my back and basically had my butt kicked by all of them. It was heaven and hell in the respects that because it was such an outlaw job, it attracted a motley crew who I adored working with. We were all a little crazy and did a lot of drugs and laughed as much as we could when we weren't bandaging our wounds.

We DID take good care of these guys when they allowed us to. Trips to the circus, ice shows, Tiger's games.....we stayed on the move doing our best to integrate these people into society. We made them nutritious meals, made sure they were clean and neatly dressed and always tried to keep them entertained. The more their minds were occupied the less the bad stuff would creep in and get them stirred up. After 5 years though....I became very burned out and couldn't really handle the madness anymore so when a friend told me about "Beechwood" home and that there were only 4 dudes and only one of whom was violent, I figured I was ready for something more relaxing.

What I didn't know was that the dude (Bubba) was like all 6 of the "Covington" residents in one. He came out during my interview and I was taken a back at his size. He was 6"2 and 375 pounds. The biggest client I had ever worked with by far. When he bounded into the the living room he was humming and then stopped right in front of me and leaned down smiling showing off his IMPRESSIVE set of huge choppers that I was informed he wasn't shy about using. Especially on various body parts when he was upset. He had bitten a chunk out of the old manager's breast-hence why she was the OLD manager. She quit after that.

I should've been more intimidated than I was after reviewing each resident's written behavior plans. For Chuck, Randy, and Joe it was pretty well defined and they all kinda ended the same with you asking them to go to their rooms until they calmed down. The same thing with Bubba unless (it stipulated) he was really angry and then there was only one plan........"RUN!!!"

I was told he wouldn't attack the other residents so you didn't need to worry about protecting them, just worry about saving your own skin. I was also explained to that there were various levels to his rage and that the first two were manageable. Meaning if he came running out of his room yelling or if he was simply just wringing his hands together and trying to get in your face he generally could just be taken "forcefully" under his arm and led back to his room until he was ready to act right.

They told me I'd know when it was time to run because he would come out quick and silent and that his large pop eyes would split. One would be looking to the left and the other to the right. If I were to ever witness this, I needed to get the fuck outta there quick.

Well three months had passed and I'd never seen this demonic "eye thing" I'd been warned about. MANY times however, I'd had to lead him back to his room or give him crap about something inappropriate he'd done like stealing a whole tub of butter and eating it. We had padlocks on the fridge and cabinets because of his treachery. Once he tried to eat Cremora and it formed a big ball in his throat that he started choking on. Because of is enormous girth, we couldn't do the heimlich so we had to squash him against the counter until he coughed it up. IMMEDIATELY he grabbed the ball of Cremora, shoved it back in his mouth and started choking again.

As much as I shouldn't have been, I was still completely caught off guard when I was setting up evening snack one night when I heard my co-worker "Destiny" yell out "RUN girrrrl!!!!" He had trucked right past her but she noticed his eyes and knew instantly what we were in for. I, on the other hand thought I was dealing with "angry Bubba" and kept pouring Kool-Aid not even looking at him when I said "Get the hell outta hear Bubba, it's not ready yet."

He didn't make a move or a sound and I looked up from my toiling only to realize what the fuck they were talking about finally when it came to the "eye/split" thing. They totally were! One was looking one way and the other in the complete opposite direction. "Holy Shit!" I heard myself say and before I could even think about bolting ...he had me.

He reached out with both hands grabbing my long hair and picked me up in the air off of my feet. Once in the air he shook me around back and forth like a Pit-bull who was about to eat a kitten. I felt my hair ripping at the root and all at once he slammed me to the ground and I scrambled under the kitchen table. Destiny had grabbed a broom at this point and was yelling at him enough to distract him so that I could make my escape. "Go bitch! Go!" she cried as he went for her instead but she made her way to the pantry and locked the door while I hauled ass to the bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind me.

I fumbled in my pockets for a cigarette and my hands shook violently as I attempted to light it. I could hear him coming down the hallway for me and he was making a ghastly noise that sounded worse than any shriek in any haunted house I'd ever been to. I toked long and hard on my Newport as he drew closer.

"Thank God the door's locked" I reassured myself as the door knob started to turn. What no one had known until that moment was that the lock on the door wasn't working. It only appeared to lock and as the door slowly began to open, I almost shit my pants. "Fuck!!!!" I screamed as he busted in coming right at me. I had nowhere to go as he closed in on me and so out of desperation, I tried to burn him with my cigarette. Not to be thwarted, he swiftly knocked out it of my hand like he was trained in hand to hand combat by the Navy Seals instead of fucking mentally retarded with the I.Q. of a two year old.

He grabbed me with both hands by the hair again only this time he brought those brilliantly white, huge canines out for a test drive. He was trying to pull my cheek to his mouth and bite a fucking mound off of it and in that moment, I thought I was fucking done for. I was going to be one of those sad people you see in public with some awful physical deformity that makes you feel sorry for the person and wonder what the fuck happened to them.

"NOOO!!!" I screamed defiantly and somehow managed to gather my wits. I mustered enough strength to whip my head away from him but he still had my hair wrapped in his hands. In one mighty burst of "I don't give a fuck" I just started trying to run away from him. I felt strand after strand rip from scalp as I LITERALLY ran out of my own hair. He lost his balance and leaned back against the wall and I was able to naviagate myself into the office that had a WORKING lock a get myself together. 5 minutes later he was fine and wanted me to play "poker chips" with him and I did. Fuckin' A.

It was the WORST attack I've ever suffered at the hands of a developmentally disabled person by far and my neck was messed up for about a month. Not to mention, once we picked up all my hair from the floor it filled two Ziplock freezer bags. Believe it or not I stayed there for another 5 years.

Bubba NEVER got me again though. After that, I was so in tune with his moods that I could tell as soon as his feet hit the floor what level he was at and a couple of times I ended up being "Destiny" to someone else who thought they'd seen it all or knew what Bubba was about. It was a hard lesson to learn.


  1. WOW, you are a better man than I am Gunga Din.

    "by a 250 pound man who wanted more dessert" I guess I would have just given him more dessert.

  2. WOW you're a better man than i am Gunga Din

    "by a 250 pound man who wanted more dessert" I would have just given him more dessert.

  3. Holy crap. Seriously not cool. It's hard to believe you stuck around another five years: you got a steel set, sister!

  4. I think I have a career suggestion for all those Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters who retire.

    Sea Bright NJ had a group home like this back in the 70's. The locals decided it ruined their peaceful seaside community (filled with nothing but professional fishermen and clam diggers) and a couple of them burned the place to the ground, killing everyone inside.

  5. Barnesm-There wasn't anymore or I would've! Hahaha. Sometimes they understood that and sometimes it just pissed'em off.

    Flinthart- After sitting in a nice comfy office for the last 9 years, I can't believe I did it either. Different person back then though. Truly thought I was tough as nails. Marriage and age has softened me up quite a bit!

    Steve-No shit. A couple of times I thought we should have tasers.

    But that's sad about all of those people burning up. I always worked two jobs back then so in my 9 years of doin' it, I worked at roughly 11 or 12 different homes and alot of times we weren't welcome. Couldn't say I blamed'em though.

    BUT if ANYONE ever stared at them in public or said smart shit I would ALWAYS call them on it.

    Usually I'd ask "Are YOU retarded? Do you need me to take care of you?".

  6. I figured I'd post it here quickly. My favorite Kids in the Hall skit:

  7. That IS a pretty damn good one. Bruce Mculloch at his finest. If I had to pick second favorite it would be....

    Oh, but don't comment on my post for heaven sakes! (Insert raspberry noise here)

  8. Yeah, sorry I did a post-and-run. I was going to come back though, for cereal.

    This just makes me shake my head. Michigan has a serious problem with its institutions. I don't know how long ago it was since they happened, but Michigan has been deploying a new strategy: shut down the institutions and let the mentally ill roam the streets. There have been numerous murders in Kalamazoo due to people being in the streets that had no business being out.

  9. Yeah it's the basis for a new horror movie called "Budget Cuts". I kid.

    And thanks for coming back. You know I'm a comment/praise monkey.

  10. i wish he could be my superman