This week is the fifth anniversary of my friend’s suicide.

Time flies when you are dead.

Mike Powroznyk was a childhood friend, a writer, and one hell of a human being. When he liked you, he really liked you. He was invested in you. It wasn’t enough to send letters or email messages. He wanted to make manic memories. I am glad the internet reconnected us in 2008, but I am sorry because it also hid the truth from me. Mike had become unhinged. He was suffering.

Mike couldn’t say no to women and dogs, but now that I think about it, what man can say no to dogs? If you like America and apple pie, you must love dogs. And although Mike loved most women — cheerleaders, goth girls, hookers — there was one woman whom he hated. He couldn’t stand a local politician by the name of Rita Mullins.

I have no idea why.

– Could be her mean, pinched face.
– Could be that she pushed some anti-tavern legislation.
– Could be because he didn’t like the look of her when he spotted her eyeing bananas at the Jewel on Palatine Road.

When I told him that I sat out of a local election because a) I was in college and no longer lived in Palatine and b) I did not give a shit about small town politics in a city where I lived for about three years, he read me the riot act from the Powroznyk bible.

“When you skip a local election, you fail America. You know how this shit works. First she’s the mayor. Then she’s a State Representative. Then she’s in Washington taking away our freedoms and being a total c__t.”

As an 18-year-old kid, Mike had a way of putting things so eloquently.

I think about Mike every year when I vote in my unremarkable local elections that don’t seem to make a difference. I think about Mike when I read about all of the gun violence in Chicago. And I think about Mike whenever I see some uptight female politician “going rogue” and pretending to be a libertarian and feminist in sheep’s clothing.

She’s coming for our freedom.

Mike was right about that.