Thursday, July 4, 2013

It was a very different time, part 3

Keeping with our theme of how different the Seventies was, and how that ties into this tale, and Dahmer's descent into madness, here's the best example of that. Despite being in a constant drunken state for two full years of high school,  Jeff was caught with booze at school only one time. 

I knew he had been caught, in our senior year, when his consumption had reached alarming levels, but didn't know the details. Jeff never elaborated. He talks about this incident in several interviews, but only says he was "punished." The logical assumption was that he was sent home and disciplined by his Dad. Turns out that's not what happened.

Here's the scene. I drew this up as an extra scene (one of three!) for the eBook. I'll give you one inked page and three pencil pages here. If you want to read the full finished scene, well, you'll just have to buy the eBook. 

Pretty incredible, huh? A kid caught guzzling booze on campus and he's not suspended, not even given detention, and his parents aren't notified. He just takes his whacks and is on his way! If this happened to a kid today in our zero-tolerance, "one strike and you're out" schools, he'd be immediately expelled. Not even calling Jeff's parents is simply mind-boggling! Would that revelation had made a difference? Hard to say. Jeff was pretty far gone at this point. It's certainly another example of the indifference of the authorities. Jeff was becoming a problem. But in a few more months, he'd graduate and then he'd be somebody else's problem, not the school's.

Well. He was indeed somebody else's problem.

I'm curious why Jeff never described what happened here, even when asked directly about it by interviewers. Stone Phillips, in the Dateline:NBC interview, asked him point blank "were you punished?"  Could it be that Jeff was too embarrassed to provide the details of this? That, after all the monstrous things he'd done, admitting he'd been spanked as a high school senior was too humiliating? The mind reels!

This story, by the way, came to me from friend Neal. The book was already out, and we were emailing back and forth about the reception and this or that detail and how the public was responding, when out of the blue he wrote: "did I ever tell you about the time Dahmer got paddled?" Of course, I immediately pressed him for the details and he provided this story. Jeff  told Neal all about it shortly after it happened, and complained how much it hurt.  It was a frustrating revelation for me. It's a fabulous scene, onbe I would certainly have included in the story, but it was too late! The damn book was already printed! This incident had simply never come up in our many hours of interviews during my MFD research. The best I could do was include it as an eBook extra. 

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