The “grandpa bandit” won’t get prison time or a felony on his otherwise pristine record.
His lifelong career was instrumentation, the science of measurement and control.
But the economy plummeted. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t getting work.
And there was something else he couldn’t control: Age-related damage to his brain.
His wife noticed little changes. Her always-nice husband became short and quicker to quibble. He worried about money.
They both did.
I think that was probably a wise thing for the judge to do. I think that many people fall into a state of depression when they don’t feel useful. I know that I have in the past, so I feel a bit of sympathy for the gentleman. I definitely don’t agree with his decision or the method he used to get money, but I feel sympathy for the impetus behind it. When you only know how to act a certain way, and then that way you act is no longer serving you like it once did, it can feel very overwhelming.
For me, I know that circumstances have changed in my life, but I still sometimes long to be in ignorance like I once was. I still sometimes do things just so that I can feel a smidgen of those old feelings and memories, but that is a dangerous proposition. Those situations are nowhere near as bad as robbing a bank, but I don’t know how far down the wrong road it might lead. That’s why I feel for the “grandpa bandit.” I understand that feeling of uselessness and fear, and I understand that it can drive a person to do insane things.
It does give me hope that he will be in a better situation in the future. At the end of the article, it says, “She [his wife] and her husband are now focused on meeting the terms of his probation, addressing medical issues and finding ways for him to stay busy and feel useful. He still wants to work. ‘It’s an end,’ she said,’and a beginning.’”
I am definitely afraid of the day that I won’t be useful. Here’s hoping that I will always find something that I can do to help others, because if I cannot, I know that I could easily drown in my own self-pity.