I was stumbling around my hard drive and came onto the following, written way back in 2000. If you don’t know anything about the fictional British sea captain Horatio Hornblower this won’t mean much to you. Captain Hornblower can be found in the novels of C. S. Forester. He is by far my favorite fictional character.
My name is Angus Lewis and I am a Hornbloweraholic.
I didn’t think I had a problem. I read the stories as entertainment. I read them for their literary value, for the history, for the insights into the psychology of command. Then I reread them. And reread them again. I became fascinated with the Hornblower character. I began to see similarities between him and my own life.
Then I began to collect every reference to my hero that I could find. TV miniseries? I watched it again and again. Books by the author about Hornblower, books about the author about Hornblower, Hornblower web sites. Every reference to the character (I know now that he is only a fictional character) was important to me. He had become an obsession.
I could have survived that. Many people become fascinated with one person or place or period of history and do not destroy their lives. But I was different. I went too far, much too far. I became taciturn, uncommunicative, secretive, aloof. When my wife tried to talk to me about it, my only response would be a noncommittal, “Ha – h’m”. She tells me that I started introducing her as ‘Mr. Bush’. She knew she had to do something, though, when she found the canceled check to the costume shop. She went searching in the closets till she found it: the captain’s uniform complete with gold epaulettes, cocked hat, and sword of 50 guineas value. I tried to tell her that I had been invited to a costume party. She didn’t buy it. I didn’t think it was that important. After all, it wasn’t like I was wearing women’s clothes or anything.
It was that last incident, though, that forced me into therapy. I had built a large deck, 16’ by 14’, which was a couple of steps down from the deck that was built with the house. My wife came home one day to find the children on their hands and knees scrubbing the deck with sanding blocks. I was pacing back and forth on the upper deck with my hands clasped behind me, deep in thought. Taciturn, uncommunicative, secretive, aloof.
But I’m better now. I know now that I had an unhealthy obsession. And I won’t let anything like that happen again. So when you see him again, tell M I’m ready for my next assignment.
Copyright © 2000 by Angus B. Lewis
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