Patrick O’Neil shouldn’t be alive. Statistically, at least, he should be either dead or locked up for the rest of his life. That he is neither dead nor in jail given the life he’s lead is a testament to the power of the human spirit.
That, and a good lawyer.
I first “met” Patrick in that causal online way you do these days, following him on Twitter and Facebook, over on G+ (yeah, it still exists for those bold, or lazy, enough to be there). At first, he was simply someone whose wry observations on daily life and self-deprecating humor made the online experience a little more pleasant, and unusual—seriously, his recounting of his ongoing “battles” with the TSA are worth the follow alone.
But then I started to dig a little deeper, beyond the witty tweets and goofy selfies, and began exploring his writing via his Los Angeles and San Francisco essays. From there, I ventured into his blog, Full Blue Moon Dementia, which Patrick has been writing for over a decade at this point. It quickly became apparent this was a person who’d lived an immensely interesting, complex and challenging life. He’d been in at the ground level during the early punk scene in San Francisco, struggled with eating disorders and drug addiction, and done some questionable things to support that drug addiction along the way. I thought I had a pretty good handle on who Patrick was.
I didn’t have a clue.