So I was driving the truck the other day. I had the Undertaker as my swamper. You remember the Undertaker. He stands 6' 4", weighs about 220, and frightens children the minute they see him in the dark. He's the guy that had his skull surgically removed so they could remove 2 grams of his brain in order to alter whatever it was that gave him chronic seizures. He actually told me about the procedure. He was awake the whole time. He felt nothing, he told jokes, but he did feel pressure as they stapled his skull cap back together. Anyway, I digress. The Undertaker lives in the Laurel Apartments. This building should probably be burnt down due to rats, bedbugs, lice...you get the idea...but the Undertaker is happy.
So he's in the truck with me the other day and we dropped lunch program goods at a school in Burnaby. As we're coming down Royal Oak I mention that Oakalla Prison Farm used to be on the right, and Harry worked there. Harry BSed them on the interview and ended up in a tower with a shotgun and a sidearm as the inmates grazed cattle, herded pigs, and whatever else they did on the farm. The prison is long-gone and there's townhouses there. I wonder if the tenants hear voices at night crying, wailing. One of our last executions occurred in Oakalla, if memory serves correct. They shut this archaic building in '92.
So the Undertaker is looking at the townhouses and the lower grassy meadow that used to be farmland, and he wonders if there was any rehabilitation. As you begin to drive uphill northbound on Royal Oak, Forest Lawn Cemetery is on your left. Harry used to call that hill "The hill of the dead and the forgotten". There are so many flowers and wreaths and flags and momentos in this graveyard. I have to do mental gymnastics to look upon hundreds and hundreds of dead with beauty laid on top of them. The Undertaker wondered why anyone would want to be buried in the dirt. He figures we should all be recycled in organ donor scientific study.
As we carry on our way, we ended up in Vancouver's DTES. This is where the Undertaker lives and this is where he walks around and tries to inject happiness into other people's lives. He laments because he understands that so many people down here have 2 options. They've come out of prison and they are heading to that graveyard. He wonders why in one of the richest countries, in one of the most prosperous provinces, the current government turns their back on human beings. The Undertaker usually talks endlessly, continuously...it's all to do with his meds and his surgeries, but as we drove past the hurting, invisible desperate people he fell silent. I have never heard him say nothing.