Someone base a short story on the moment they broke the news to Elmer, please! I’d do it myself but I don’t have the time at the moment…
“In questions of administration, [McLean Hospital head] Stanton could simply get lost. Longtime facilities manager Henry Langevin remembers presenting Stanton with three competing bids for resurfacing McLean’s central tennis court, where Stanton himself often played. But the director was paralyzed by indecision because the switch from the clay to a hard surface would eliminate a cherished job––rolling and sweeping the ochre-colored clay––for one of the hospital’s elderly, chronic schizophrenics. ‘What’s poor Elmer going to do?’ was Stanton’s plaint, as the trial court resurfacing decision hung fire for months.”
I know Stanton’s indecision is supposed to be annoying, but I find his concern for Elmer rather sweet, don’t you?
(From Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam)