August 20, 2000 approximately 3:00pm, I am sitting on my deck reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, thinking the long thoughts and soaking up the sun when a sharp sound rings out. Sounds kind of like ... a gunshot? Being a canadian city boy my gunshot recognition skills are kind of weak. I go back to reading and a couple of minutes later, I hear sirens - police, fire and ambulance (oh my!).

"Wow, that really might have been a gunshot!", I think to myself and remark on it to a friend when we are going to dinner.

Today at work, I find out that the sound that I heard was a local man called up the coroner and told him to 'come and get his body' from downtown Eufaula, cause he would be dead in a couple minutes. He shot himself in the head, near a cluster of oak trees in the center of town.

Now, I am a complainer by nature, I like to believe that I am a bitcher, rather than a whiner, if you get my good-natured-talking-in-the-cafe distinction, and I enjoy complaining about life in eufaula along with the computer consultant type people I work with. The more I think about it though, the more seriously I am starting to take the situation - that gunshot was not the action of a man who has any hope for things getting better. Though I don't know the particulars of his situation, I do know that he lived here, and this makes me more sure that this place is bad for a person, mentally and spiritually (insofar as this term applies to a secular sort of fellow such as myself).

What makes me feel really bad though, is that for me the situation is simple - I have the freedom to leave, so I go. When I look at all the families who are here, and all the older folks whose extended families have left, and all the poor people who could just make their situation worse by leaving - it makes that shot sound a whole lot louder.