Stanley Hockenschmidt had played out his time at the music school, and had certainly begun his tenure at the university better light than it finishing. The faculty was right about the dynamics of the young man’s health and overall status. Hockenschmidt had an enormous talent for music. In a little better than two years time, it was obvious that whatever he touched musically, he had a flair for.
It takes a lot more that having or not having a flair for something.
Stanley’s talent was neither here nor there by this time. Hockenschmidt’s mental acumen was quickly eroding, as the university faculty were reluctant to assess. The young man had suddenly broken off with his girlfriend, a talented young pianist. Everyone had been looking for a marriage of happy couple. It was not known why he’d broken things off, but there were those who guessed.
It was startling that Stan would do such a thing, with a two year history between them. The only constructive behavior Stan could seem to get done was to compose at least slightly irrational music. Even at that, Hockenschmidt’s work still made an awkward sort of sense to any real theorist on the faculty. Stanley would certainly be missed, but he needed things they could not provide.
One could spend hours interacting with Hockenschmidt in the music library, or in the music practice rooms, as he steadily composed his latest masterwork. What a person couldn’t help but notice, if Stan was lucid, was one of the finest musical minds in the department. But one could not avoid noticing some sort of disability, which would overrun Stanley’s thing, and that was that.
If any of his masterworks were of considerably inferior in quality to what Hockenschmidt was capable of composing. If he would only remain in his right mind the entire time he was composing and performing his piece, it might be an occasion of significant import.
But Stanley couldn’t do it. It wasn’t as though he would sit right there and dose himself on his poison. Not at all. If he had done such a thing, more people might have known what his poison was. Unfortunately, Stanley had more self control than all that. It was as though something terrible would come over the young man, and he would find it impossible to go on.
It wasn’t that the young man would become dangerous, either. On the contrary this young man was the soul of restraint, the essence of a gentleman. As it was, Hockenschmidt was so disabled by whatever drugs he was taking, plus whatever the dynamics of his disability were. His capacity for playing guitar, or playing piano, was a well-spring of sound Hockenschmidt could hardly control.
At least the young man was attempting to exact a discipline of himself.
He had continued to get wasted on some kind of drug, as he’d begun writing music in earnest. His friends among the faculty had no idea what drug he was taking, but whichever it was, got in the way of Hockenschmidt’s reasoning. It was a shame really, because the drug inhibited his rational thought. The young man was going to need psychiatric help soon, and that would not be good.
They understood that psychiatry was such an inexact science in 1972. Stanley’s initial hospitalization resulted in upsetting the young man. It had also resulted in the young man beginning to smoke cigarettes. These two results were not a good score for the hospital he went to. The few faculty Hockenschmidt knew he had in his corner, sat in the Rathskeller on campus and drank coffee, talking.
They were careful Hockenschmidt didn’t overhear their musings.
The faculty knew the dynamics of Hockenschmidt’s psychiatric illness, as well as the dynamics of his talent. He was likely to have significant difficulties in life from that time forward. There were faculty who were more his advocates than his closest friends. His music theory professor, the one who might have been his music composition professor, and whomever else on the music faculty.
These were his advocates. He never knew for certain about these men. Their number was about four men. They heard he had the dreaded chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Mr Hockenschmidt would have this illness for a lifetime, and psychiatry was a very young, inexact science, with very few tools to use for treating patients. It was believed the young man would not be happy.
He had received merit scholarships awards for at least his first two years of study. With an exceptional mind, it was tragic his would never teach. The education department just couldn’t graduate someone who could not remain in his right mind. His was in a tragic situation. The faculty held a jury exam, to inform the young man that he would not be suitable for an education degree.
Mr Hockenschmidt could scarcely appear to have understood the findings of the jury exam, or even understand what was said to him. It would seem that he could really stand to do his laundry, or get himself into a shower. Stanley was not in touch with his own, personal hygiene. Stan could not do many of the things required as a part of day to day living.
After a time, it wasn’t known whether Stan would forget to eat, or he’d run out of money.
It was also not known whether someone should give Stan a charitable donation, for food or to do his clothing with, or whether such an act would simply facilitate his overwhelming drug habit. Stanley was not smoking cigarettes very often, and it was assumed he had run out of money. This was a really an accurate assumption on the part of those around him?
At the moment, Stan would have liked to have known whether it was the day his mother was coming to take him and his things home. Half heart-ed, Stan searched through his things, and found his sister to have arrived, as well as his mother, to be emptying his, as his and his girlfriend’s lockers. Poor girl suffered his abrupt behavior as well as did everyone in his life.
Stan had broken off with an informal engagement with his young lady. It was tragic, but he had no alternative. He had precious little realization of what he was doing. Because he was chasing his belongings, he found it was already the day he was leaving. He left everything to be done by his mother and sister. He scarcely had an option at that point.