The Making of a Man
Michael Maddox was a brute. He was massive and a force to be reckoned with. His size was a tool; his voice thundered. When he entered a room, every person knew it. Even at the age of 15, I am told by my aunt, Sonia who went to high school with my mother and worked with her and Mike after at Lamar’s Drive-In, remembers Mike as a ladies man. “He smelled so good and he was so handsome. I always had him come sit next to me, even though he was younger than us. He didn’t act like it”, Sonia told me. One of his quotes from that time was that he loved Southside Baptist Church. He went there as often as he could. Why? It was the best place to get laid. Enough said.
Along with being a cad, he was a huffer; he would inhale the pressurized chemicals in aerosol cans. Looking for a way to escape his meager life. Mustard and lettuce sandwiches were a commonality for my mother and Mike. Jo was too wrapped up in her personal demons to be an adequate mother. The kids were on there own. My mother Liz tried to step in to look after Mike but she had no role model to know what she should do. Jo’s lifestyle kept them from connecting with people for any length of time. Constant moving, beatings and generalized hell raising kept most away. Surviving the best way they could with an emotional not present mother and her present drunk, was life for them.
Mike was different. He wanted out. He had delusions of grandeur from early on. My mother and many others favored Mike. He had something as a little kid. He was unique but no one really knew why. I can only assume it was the aura of being in the present of something great. I have heard this about many great men. They had something intangible innate that radiates from them. No word to describe it but just a magnetism that was beyond words. Recently in college studying psychology, a found out what that “thing” was. It is, what is erroneously called anti-social behavior. It is not like it sounds. The dynamic, charismatic charmer is truly a well primed facade for the absolute inability to be human. He was in a word– a sociopath. Calculated, cunning, charming, and evil with the inability empathize with anyone beyond his mother and sister.
As a teenager, he was a thief. He evolved into stealing cars. His biggest adventure took him to Florida in a stolen car. He was eventually arrested. This was the early to mid 1960’s. Vietnam was a reality for the youth of the nation. Mike was given the opportunity to go to Vietnam or jail for his interstate mischief. He chose Vietnam. This was truly the end of anything human in Mike’s personality.