MY TURN / Tracy K. Lorenz


A once bright life that took a tragic turn

August 27, 2019

Last week, while rummaging through some files that were destined for the recycling bin, I came across a card that immediately gave me a heavy heart.

It was written some 30 years ago by a then-promising high school student who I helped mentor as he began working at the local newspaper, where many budding journalism stars were born.

Two years later, the gifted and industrious student was found dead at his home of self-inflicted means, leaving behind friends and family who were left to wonder about a premature death that became a painful fact of life.

His was a story seemingly framed in tragedy from his upbringing in the shadow of the Vietnam War to a final resting place atop a cemetery hill half a world away.

An honor roll student, he came to the United States in 1979 at the age of 7 as one of thousands of refugees from the war in Indochina. He settled in small town America with his aunts, uncle, and cousins, quickly gaining a grasp of the English language and the wonders of life in the U.S.A.

Throughout his schooling, he displayed an artistic flair that belied his tender age. In 1987, his design was chosen for the local fair book cover. Two years later, his talents were in the spotlight again when his design work served to promote a summer festival all over town.

But a knack for art was just one facet of his skillset and his desire to serve school and community.

In high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society, the Future Problem Solvers Club, and the cross county team. In 1989, he was chosen the male “Student of the Year” for the sophomore class.

For the better part of five years, he worked at the newspaper, handling various circulation duties in the distribution of the company’s three weekly publications. He was a hard-working and cheerful member of the newspaper team, gladly accepting any assignment and carrying it out with the ease of a polished pro.

He especially enjoyed an opportunity to display his artistic talents when an ad-builder would come calling, offering his creative zest to the display ads that were the financial bread-and-butter of the weekly newspapers.

His talents as a cross county runner also were in demand at the paper each autumn when the local hospital sponsored a 5-kilometer race to promote cardiac health and awareness. His presence added some zip to a team top-heavy with past-our-prime runners.

It was as runners that we would regularly cross paths around town – he sporting an ever-present bounce in his step and me hoping someday to keep him within hailing distance again.
Last week, as we “crossed paths” one more time, I could only remember his infectious smile and the promise of a bright life that came to a sad and puzzling end.


Typing Out Loud on a Day I’ll Probably Forget

When I think of Asian countries I never think of Russia.  It’s gotta be the least Asian of all Asia.

People aren’t afraid of being alone in the dark, their afraid of being unalone in the dark.

Will there come a point in the next two years when the Democrats look around and just say “We got nothin’” and save the time and expense of an election?  Because seriously, look at that circus up on that stage, there's just so much misplaced anger.

There is an office at Microsoft that uses Microsoft Office to send an email to an office at Microsoft about Microsoft Office.

If everything goes smoothly, you probably won’t remember today.

Due to the internet and phones, kids today probably spend more time reading than any other generation.

Someone shooting someone because they were “disrespected” isn’t anything new, that’s basically what started every duel.

When they show a kidnapping on TV or in the movies they never show the kidnapper struggling to find the end of the duct tape.  It’s always just BOOM, he grabs the role and rips a bunch off.

Harry Potter and Seinfeld take place at the same time in history.

I have no idea how my dog knows that dog food is dog food. It doesn’t look like food, it doesn’t smell good at all, and yet I pour some in a bowl and POOF!

You’d think steroids and asteroids would be somehow related, but nope.

One of the biggest downsides to our current lifestyle is that listening to music is no longer a communal activity.

Every person in a movie who needs to be kept out of danger ends up in danger within five minutes.

“Noon” only lasts for one second.

A video not loading makes the title of the video a million times more interesting.

I wonder how many times someone has used me as anecdotal evidence?

You’d think animals would act more surprised while giving birth.

It’s now almost a given that every cop show has to employ a goofy scientist with some  machine that can code DNA, trace phone calls, match fingerprints, employ facial recog-
nition ...

You could take a full bag of trash into a field and take a picture of it, then you could open the bag and throw the trash all over the field and take a picture of that, then you could reverse the two pictures and everyone would think you were a hero.

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