M is for...
is for Madness
I am been a witness to a lot of madness in my life. There is the usual family madness and dealing with friends that are a little crazy, but what I experienced as a Health Inspector for the Marion County Public Health Department in Indianapolis, IN exposed me to some the craziest things I had ever seen.
I worked at the Health Department as an Environmental Health Specialist for 3 years before I decided to pursue my writing career full time. As an EHS, I inspected houses, hotels, apartments and some commercial properties. I had to enforce the Marion County Health Code and any violators that refused to make corrections or repairs to come into compliance with the code, I had to either file that person for court or send them a fine.
I have inspected houses of people that hoard, people that use their yards as junk yards, people that use their attic as a trash room and I have seen commercial properties that been left to fall apart by wealthy investors. I have heard stories from other inspectors about occupants that have 27 cats and no litter boxes, a man that was made to vacate his home with no utilities break into his home by cutting a makeshift door in the siding.
I have been threatened, I have gotten fleas from people’s dirty houses and taken them home to my cats and family, I have been cursed out by little old ladies and numerous hoarders. I was almost sent to inspect a drug house but the police interfered and informed me not to knock on the door or go in just as I stepped out of my car.
Total MADNESS was this job.
In my position I encounter some people that were off their rocker very often. Yet there was one man in particular was named David and he had the power to drive his neighbors crazy. It drove me crazy as well.
He was tall with uncombed hair and the appearance that he never showered. His face always looked smudged with oil like he changed the oil on his car everyday and his hands were always dirty and he always wanted to shake my hand.
My OCD would not let that happen.
He lived in a shack on a street that had some really nice houses. His neighbors called me constantly trying to get an inspector to come out and witness the madness that they saw. When I first visited his house I was shocked. He literally lived in a shack and it was fenced in with stacks and stacks and stacks of wood all over the yard that you could see over the fence. He had two dogs that seemed pretty vicious and he didn’t always clean the poop.
After talking with him I discovered that he was conspiracy theorist and believed the government was out to get him. The bad thing about that is that he saw me as a part of the government out to get him. I had to write him up and send him tickets on numerous occasions which had us in court very often.
One time I took him to court for having a large amount of trash, old tires, old air conditioners and tons of junk in his yard. We told the neighbors we could not do anything about the wood because he was up to code with that but, the junk was something we could deal with.
He insisted that these items were how he made his money. I had to tell him that he needed to store these items in a garage or in a shed. He could not, according to code, have these items spread out all over his yard. We are attempted to trash these if he didn’t store them properly.
In court he was uncooperative and my attorney, the judge and I were exasperated with him. The judge asked him,
“Why is it taking you long to clean up your yard?”
“Well, I have so many things that I have to do like, go for walks, learn to play the guitar.”
Yes, that was his answer to a Judge.
This is how it went with him every time. I had his case and it stayed opened for years and it is still opened.
I have not worked there in about two years and I still get updates from my former co-workers that he is still around and often comes into court to “observe”. He says that he needs to make sure the government wasn’t out to take advantage of innocent people.
Is it crazy that some days I miss all that madness?