Something was posted in the New York Times recently, no, not that. Something that struck a nerve in me which, is still reverberating from the pluck.
Liz (pictured in the article) and I have gotten to know each other over the past year. We share a common horrific thread of having known Tony & Betty Argiros who ran “The Family” and founded the Family Foundation School (FFS). Trust me I can see the humor in FFS as the acronym. Sadly that is the only humorous take away.
I met the Argiros in the winter of 1984 as a homeless teenager. I was basically sent to their group home/working farm in Long Eddy, NY because I had no where else to live. My family imploded due to a recent disastrous second marriage for my mother. I was newly sober and not one relative would take me in.
This place seemed like a reasonable option, it wasn’t. Since I couldn’t live with my family, I was sent to “The Family”. It was a cesspool of abuse on a level I had never previously encountered. I grew up with an abusive alcoholic mother and no father so I was pretty familiar with neglect and abuse was no stranger either, this place was next level horrible. The atrocities I saw/heard/experienced there nearly 35 years ago can still cause me tears or make my blood boil with anger. I say this as a person who has been sober for over three decades. It’s a dark, depressing rabbit hole I don’t dive into often these days as my life has been blessed beyond anything I could have imagined.
The FFS closed in 2014 thanks to a tireless campaign coordinated by alumni who fearlessly and publicly told their tales of horror. I didn’t even know the school opened until about 3 years ago when another person who went to the farm reached out to me through my blog. I felt physically ill when I heard that the Argiros expanded their reign of terror. I also felt guilt for not doing more to shut them down in the 80s. I told the authorities in upstate NY about the abuse when I ran away but the place was set up to avoid a lot of scrutiny and I was a “troubled” teenager therefore, I lacked credibility.
I am posting this because Liz is a champion of keeping awareness in the spotlight. She also keeps track of alumni deaths from FFS. Over 100 alumni have died that Liz knows of – many were suicide or substance abuse related. That’s over 100 people under 50 years old, many under 40, some younger. No one is sure how many alumni there are (hundreds. a thousand?) but they seem to be dying off at an extraordinary pace.
If you or someone you know is considering an aggressive treatment facility for a teenager, please be vigilant and doggedly research the program. The names and locations change but these places, they still exist.
I’m always late to the party – Facebook, smart phones, Twitter – I still don’t do Pinterest (it’s for the good of humanity). I average about 3 to 7 years behind the times and I am solidly OK with that. Perhaps you’re a Luddite like me or you live under a rock and haven’t heard of the Instant Pot….it’s kind of taking over. I know you were busy worrying about American politics, healthcare, fretting over corporate conglomerates and foreign oligarchies, turn your head and look at the horror that is upon us, the Instapot (it even has a cute nickname so you’ll be lulled into a false sense of security).
Chill Bryce it’s a damn kitchen appliance, destined to gather dust and be forgotten about soon. Nay, nay my uninformed friend the Instapot is a magic pot with special powers and it’s sole purpose is to take over the world. Rumor has it that it can serve 7 functions in one easy to clean pot. According to the manufacturer and Internet lure, it can be used as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, warming pot and can be used to brown and saute. You know what else has 7 levels – Dante’s Inferno. Draw your own conclusions.
The scariest part of the magic pot taking over the world thing is the cult following. I decided to join an Instapot FB Group about two months ago. To increase my odds of being accepted, I created posts that made it seem like I owned an Instapot (actually the Instapot would own me, that’s how it works, amateur). People have applied and gotten into Harvard with less rejection. Somehow I got past security and they let me in. I also belong to a Instapot Snark Group which is hands down the best thing on Facebook. The snark group would not exist if the original group wasn’t so bat sh*t crazy.
Last night I was browsing on Facebook when I saw a post on my newsfeed. The author questioned if people got upset when non-believers called her magic contraption an Instapot (gasp)? I was kind of baffled, is that short for Instant Pot or is there some secret code name like Master or Great One that we are supposed to use? The comments were coming in with lightning speed. Some were logical – “Uh, no I’m not that crazy (insert side eye).” Others were more understanding “Why yes that does bother me. Master gets upset when His greatness is not recognized (insert wide smile and crazy eyes).” The fun didn’t last long though. The administrators for that group are tightly wound – panties were bunched, feathers were ruffled and the controversial post was deleted post haste.
So as I am doing my “research” for this post…..I stumble upon something hilarious. A truly hysterical post by Paul Beer who of course wrote this over a month ago. As usual I’m late to the party. You’ve been warned.