Tuesday, April 19, 2011


At 24, Tom (aka PhantomHalfling) should have died. Medulloblastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor, wracked his body leading to brain surgery and a long, grueling, recovery. But Tom fought the cancer and survived.

Tom went on to marry and to have two daughters, now aged eleven and fourteen. Tom is not only a super dad, but a great family man who enjoys life the way only someone who has come so close to death can. He is a loving father, a great uncle, and a great friend.

Twenty three years later, life has again kicked Tom squarely where it hurts. First, Tom's wife walked out on him the day after New Year's. After she unexpectedly filed for divorce, Tom lost his job - a victim of downsizing. When Tom thought things couldn't get any worse, Tom's cancer roared back with a vengeance. This time attacking not only in his brain, but also his spine- costing him the use of his legs.

But Tom wouldn't give up. He continued to fight. He fought the cancer and kept on being the best dad he can on the too short occasions he gets to see his kids. On Xbox, Tom has fought against nazis, zombies and nazi-zombies. He patrolled the radioactive wastelands of New Vegas and fought the denizens of the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

But there was one thing Tom could not fight: thieves.

While Tom was hospitalized, recovering from surgery, some fine citizens decided to drop by for a visit. It's unknown if they came like thieves in the night or boldly during the day, but what is known is that they came up the wheelchair ramp to Tom's front door, kicked it in, and stole him blind. Not dissuaded by the sight of two wheelchairs in the home, they set upon Tom's meager belongings like locusts. Everything Tom could enjoy while confined to his bed or wheelchair was stolen. Tom's TV, his surround sound system, his blueray player, his laptop, his printer, the replacement Xbox he'd purchased just months before- all gone. Along with his games, music, and movies. Anything that Tom could enjoy as a paralyzed adult was taken from his home.

Maybe the thieves thought Tom was too old to play Xbox. Maybe they thought the entertainment center was for when he got to see his kids, every other weekend. I mean, why would someone who is so sick even want an Xbox? Wouldn't they rather sit around and contemplate the not-to-distant end of their life? And Tom's kids shouldn't be inside- they should be playing in the yard, instead of spending time with their paralyzed father.

Who could have done such a thing? Was it the two guys who had helped move a couch from the home a few days earlier? Or maybe the juvenile delinquents across the street?Or someone else from the neighborhood who knew Tom's predicament and his recent surgery? It doesn't really matter. Afterall, surely Tom has insurance that might cover this loss...

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