JWG (jwg) wrote,

Thinking about Robin Williams' suicide

Thinking about the Robin Williams suicide reminds me of this: I was sitting in my office ~early 1970s interviewing a prospective job applicant when Myra, the group secretary, came in to my office and said "John I need to talk to you". I excused myself and she told me that Peter Haber, an employee in the office had been discovered to have committed suicide. I was shocked - he had been my office mate, worked for me for a while, and a friend. He used to come over to my house to play the recorder while I played harpsichord. I knew he was a little troubled about his career direction, but other than that I'd had no clue. It was quite weird retuning to my office and finishing up the interview. (I hired the applicant).

Another office situation was George Pillsbury. He was a tech writer. He had been manager of the tech writers but my boss demoted him because he just want' up to the job. He remained a relatively competent tech writer. He was a troubled alcoholic - sometimes under control and I don;t recall him coming into the office drunk. Then one day he didn't show up at work and we soon learned that he had shot himself.

And then there was, I think, Jan - a friend of a friend, who stayed on my couch for a few weeks. She was a severe manic / depressive (I know they don't use that terminology anymore). I'd never encountered anyone quite like that - she was almost always at one extreme of the other. It was very hard to relate to her; I tried, but. She found another place to live and moved out - to my relief. And then several months later I heard that she had committed suicide.

After these events I always think about what could I have done that might have avoided this.
Tags: multics, music, personal

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