Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Mole Man of Broughton, Bucks

I can understand if someone let's things pile up to the point of it being inconvenient and not really all that tidy. That I get. What I don't get is why or how it continues to get worse to the point of incapacitation. When you start to run out of room to walk around in your own home because of all of your "stuff", wouldn't you sit down (provided you could find someplace to sit down) and say to yourself, "Self, this place is a hole. And you can't remember if the floors are hardwood or carpet because it's been so long since you've seen them. Perhaps, Self, you should think about downsizing your belongings so that you don't have to leap over things as if you're competing in the Steeplechase at the Olympics." You would say that. I would say that. Apparently Gordon Stewart would not say that.

Mr. Stewart was 74 when he was found dead inside his home last Friday over there across the pond in Broughton, Bucks (I guess that's in the UK somewhere). It is believed that the man died from dehydration. How does one die from dehydration in their own home, you ask? Good question. Apparently, Mr. Stewart was the epitome of a compulsive hoarder and became (wait for it) "...disorientated inside the walls of rotting trash and unable to find a way out " according to the folks over there at The Sun. Oh, just wait. It gets better. Er, worse. Mr. Stewart "...hoarded so much rubbish he had to burrow through it to get around his home--then got lost in the maze of tunnels and died of thirst." Now. Wait. WTF??

First of all, how big is this place that he was able to have freaking garbage tunnels throughout?! He was the Human Mole! Look at the picture below. It doesn't look very big. Well, it doesn't look big enough to have an elaborate labyrinth weaving through it. But a neighbor was quoted as saying, "A police officer said the interior was piled up with huge mounds of rotting rubbish and there was an elaborate network of tunnels to move around." And I suppose the police would know because "the stench from the rubbish was so foul they brought in a police diving team equipped with breathing apparatus. " Translation: Scuba gear. Good Lord, sir......

Now, with really bizarre stories like this, I prefer it if the articles that are reporting on this sort of thing try to stick with information that is not a) irrelevant or b) ridiculous. For instance, "Yesterday, full plastic bags could be seen piled in the front window." OK, I highly doubt it was just yesterday that one could see those bags! Look at them! Behold! Garbage! And lots of it!

Then there was this little gem: "Thames Valley Police said there were no suspicious circumstances." Define 'suspicious' for me, would ya please? Because while it may not be "suspicious", as in "We don't need to go running for Sherlock Holmes or anything", it is "suspicious" as in "What the hell??"

Another neighbor (who would seem to be one of many neighbors who felt the need to make asinine statements) said, “He was slightly eccentric, but very clever. He lived in his own world.” What the hell does that mean?! Oh, I get the second part. The "He lived in his own world" is very clear to me! Yes! Yes, he did! He lived in a world where garbage has taken over and rules the earth! Yes, that's his and his only! But you can't have a statement where the "but" part of it doesn't have anything to do with the first part of it, ie "eccentric, but very clever." Eccentricity doesn't have anything to do with being clever or not. I'd imagine that he was a clever bloke, as one would have to be to figure out how in the hell you're going to keep navigating through your trash tunnels. But that has nothing to do with being eccentric. (Actually, neither does hoarding all of the trash, but that's beside the point here.) It's like saying, "He was a very good swimmer, but he did not care for steak."

The same moron who noted Mr. Stewart's "eccentricity" also said that " He was just a collector. He came home with a load of cardboard boxes..." Dude, er, ol' chap, people that have one of every Beanie Baby ever made are "collectors". People that have one of every DC Comic ever made are "collectors". (They are also the "unlayable".) The Mole Man wasn't a "collector". He was, in my never to be humble opinion, mentally ill. Tell me, exactly what was he a "collector" of, my good man? Crap? He had the largest crap collection that side of Big Ben? Nobody has, nor wants, a crap collection. The man had mental issues and it's unfortunate, given the fact that you could see piles of his "crap collection" piled up in front of his windows, that no one could have checked on the guy, made a call to some social service division, something. But no, they just let him keep "collecting" and going about his "eccentricities" (which would appear to include tunneling through the garbage like a gopher in one's own abode) and now he's dead and the only thing he's "collecting" now is dust. (Also collecting dust is that car in his garage below that hasn't been touched in years. What is that? A Studebaker?)

And capping off the idiotic commentary on this story is "It is believed Mr Stewart lived alone and has no next of kin." Oh, you think?! (You morons.) Are ya sure?? Have you gone through all of the tunnels? He could have a whole family of burrowers in there. Oh, I'm sorry, I mean "collectors" in there. My mistake. Now THAT would be eccentric!

I can't help but marvel at the fact that it's a two story house that he lived in. Did it have tunnels going upstairs as well as around the downstairs? It would be like one big human Habitrail if it did. Was there a big pile of shredded up newspaper that he used for a nest to sleep in? (Or to warm his young on cold evenings.) Maybe there's a big wheel in there that he ran around in! Oh, I know he would have gotten plenty of exercise just from crawling through the filth all the time, but sometimes you want a change. Something different, you know?

Assuming that Mr. Stewart did have failing mental faculties during the last part of his life (you know, the part with all of the garbage and tunnels), you have to admit that if it wasn't garbage that he was tunneling through, it sounds kinda fun. A big house full of tunnels to crawl around in all day long. It'd be like a giant fort, only without the cushions from the couch and the blankets from your bed. Just substitute "garbage" for "cushions and blankets" though and it's practically the same. Maybe the guy needed a little amusement in his life. Sounds pretty much like his neighbors left his ass alone. He might have just been trying to pass the time. I just wish he hadn't done it in squalor and I wish he hadn't done it in a way where he couldn't find his way out and died of thirst.

What have we learned? If we see piles of garbage accruing in our neighbors windows, do something. Anything. Don't ignore it and pass it off as and eccentric collector of plastic bags. What else have we learned? Right now, every one of you who just read this is thinking about how cool it would be to go build a fort out of the couch cushions and the blankets from your bed. Admit it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go watch some TV in my fort.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, thanks for your thoughts and analysis about the media covering. In Sweden the scuba gear team and the complicated tunnels were stressed in reports. If you don´t mind I´ll use the text for my media classes when we´re studying English, it will clarify things a bit.