I'm not a Nice Guy

by John Barleycorn
Waynedale News, August 29, 2007

John Barleycorn, columnist for the Waynedale News

Stanley "Skeets" Richards
One of the great Fort Wayne A.A. old timers
December 21, 1922-August 24, 2007

Yesterday I attended Stan Richards' funeral and after the funeral was over, decided to write this obituary for him in the Waynedale News.

Stan was a man of few words; he gave the shortest but most effective A.A. lead ever given in the basement of the Waynedale United Methodist Church:

"There's a rumor going around A.A. that I'm a nice guy and I'm here tonight to set the record straight. I'm like a man driving along a road next to a river and as I look out at the water I see a man desperately thrashing about as the current sweeps him towards a waterfall and certain death. I race ahead in my car, fetch a rope from my trunk, go out on an overhanging limb and lower the line to him.

"Some men grab the line as only the dying do, but others give me a dumb walleyed look and a thousand-meter-stare. Those poor, pitiful souls are the bewildered ones. A few grab the lifeline and are pulled to safety, but later they jump back in the raging river and die too; they also are the bewildered ones.

"But, some of them, by God's grace, and the gift of desperation, grab the line, get sober, live useful, productive lives, and pass it on to others.

"I sponsor people, not because I'm a nice guy, but rather because I have a moral obligation to the people in A.A., who by God's grace lowered a lifeline to me.  I Pass."

During his half century of sobriety, Stan enjoyed a peace and serenity this world could neither give nor take away and he passed for the last time on August 24, 2007, but not before he admirably fulfilled his moral obligation to family, church, Alcoholics Anonymous and countless chronic alcoholics.

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