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In Coelo Quies Est

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by NQLBLQ, May 12, 2009.


    NQLBLQ Member

    After seeing it in the newspaper, there were a lot of places I could expand but no one wanted to talk about it because the events were so shocking. No one believed it. I think I went a little too artsy with it, as well. But from what people said, he was a great kid.

    ,,,,pick it apart please....

    It's the phrase no one wants to read or hear. It signifies loss and remorse, pain and suffering. It might read like a fragment, but it's complete - with warm embraces from loved ones and strangers alike.

    Sometimes it's the people you never know that affect you the most. Just open a history book. They are on every page.

    Ben Gerling was that kind of person.

    He was a man I never met, never shook hands with and never spoke to directly, but I was affected by his life. We had mutual friends, cheered for the same team and walked to the same classes. While I never looked him in the eyes and introduced myself, I wish I had. I would have said thank you.

    Ben Gerling was in the Air Force ROTC. He was willing to sacrifice his sleep, his muscles, his mind, his time, his patience, his social life, along with numerous other things, for me, you and the person behind you in class.

    "He was a great cadet, so smart," Derek Hall said.

    Hall sat next to Gerling on their flight to field training. Hall is from Wisconsin and said in the short time they were together, they got to know each other better than most people know grade-school friends.

    Ben Gerling was that kind of person, a friend to everyone.

    He was dedicated to greatness like it was his kid sister. He grew up with greatness and had its number on speed dial. Few know it like he did. And the world needs more great men. Greatness is not born; it is created - especially in sports. Roger Maris was. Brett Favre is.

    Greatness is not a measure of perfection but affection. For Ben, greatness wasn't the amount of green he owned or opponents' faces he turned red.

    For Ben, a former South Salem Saxon water polo player, it was cheering up the people who were blue and cheering with the people who were orange. He was a Beaver Believer, and Beaver Nation has lost a proud member of its society. He was a fan that traveled to the Emerald Bowl and watched his baseball team win back-to-back national championships.

    It wasn't supposed to be this way.

    The people who knew Ben can't believe it because great men, like him, don't happen.

    Most are on the golf course counting 4s on their 6s, on the court calling fouls every time they miss a layup and pulling at the Speedo of the guy next to them in the pool. Not Ben.

    William Wordsworth once wrote that the best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

    Ben Gerling was that kind of person. He helped friends with their homework, dragged them to football and baseball games and made it his mission to put a smile on someone's face.

    He was the guy next to you in the stands, the brother you wanted, boy you should have dated and roommate you should have lived with. Some people were lucky enough to know that. His friends know the rest of us missed out.
  2. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    You wrote a lot about Ben Gerling, but who was he? What kind of things did he do to get this reputation? Qualify this man's greatness if you proclaim it. These friends who know what were missing out on, what did they have to say? What did he do, specifically?

    Maybe this works in Corvallis, but I'm perplexed.
  3. tagline

    tagline Member

    I appreciate your effort. Maybe if the reader knew the guy, this would be more touching. Otherwise, I don't think I've learned enough about this guy to really care. You start out telling us this is a guy you don't know. Then you tell us how great he was. Just doesn't work.
  4. I read it twice yet somehow I still missed what happened to him. Where is it?

    NQLBLQ Member

    Good to know going forward. At the time, I couldn't get anyone but Derek Hall to comment and he only gave me about 5 sentences before he broke down. I went to probably 10 to 15 people and everyone said they didn't want to talk about it. Sadly, I was on deadline and the paper really wanted to piece. Looking back, I agree, a lot of places I could expand.

    Noted. Last time I try this.

    I was asked told not to mention the cause of death. The paper has a weird rule that they don't mention the cause of death if it's suicide. There were a couple of weird rules that I had to abide by on this one that made it tougher than normal like when I was asked told not to talk to the family either.

    I think this was my best attempt at covering something without talking about it. As noted about, I will never do this again.

    And thank you for your input, much appreciated!
  6. He killed himself? Dear lord.

    I don't mean to pile on, but next time remind your bosses that this is the reason why 99.99 percent of newspapers don't report on suicides unless it's some type of public figure or occurs in a public place.

    Some families may want to talk about it, but reporting half of the story - leaving out that he killed himself - just diminishes the newspaper's credibility.
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