CLAYSVILLE, Pa. -- This isn't for you. Feel free to read it, but I'm not writing for you. I'm writing for me, because I'm trying to get Jerry Sandusky out of my head, and maybe this will help.
Nothing else has helped. The Penn State-Nebraska game on Saturday didn't help. Putting State College in my rear-view mirror after that game didn't help. Checking into a hotel an hour down the road Saturday night and watching something other than college football didn't help. Reading? I read the twisted fiction of James Patterson. That didn't help.
Driving home didn't help. In fact, I'm not home yet. Tried to get there, but couldn't stop thinking about Sandusky, so I pulled off Interstate 70. I'm writing this on Sunday afternoon from a gas station parking lot in, let's see, Claysville. So let me go put that in the dateline real quick. All capital letters. OK, there it is. Dateline: CLAYSVILLE, Pa.
That didn't help.
What I need is the psychological equivalent of a sorbet, something to cleanse my mental palate from the gruel I've been feeding it. But that analogy doesn't feel appropriate. Nothing feels appropriate.
A sorbet? I don't need a sorbet. What I need is a lobotomy or a quick case of amnesia. I need to take out my brain -- like Ray Gricar, the district attorney who didn't prosecute Jerry Sandusky in 1998, did with the hard drive of his computer -- and damage it so badly that it won't be able to recall what it's seen and where it's been.
Because what I need is to forget everything I saw over the past week. As it is, I can't get Jerry Sandusky's grinning face out of my head. You've seen the picture, I'm sure, of him and Joe Paterno at a stadium in the late 1990s, the glare turning Paterno's prescription glasses into sunshades, Sandusky grinning into the distance like a hyena. What is he looking at that moment? What is Jerry Sandusky thinking? I don't want to know, but I can't stop wondering.
I want to forget the sight of Sandusky's house in State College, a peaceful, beautiful house at the end of a cul-de-sac, a home and a neighborhood unworthy of someone guilty of the crimes facing Sandusky. I don't even want to write the words for those crimes. Not again. You know what they are.
Me, I can't stop picturing one of the street signs near Sandusky's house, a sign that has the gall to read, "WATCH CHILDREN."
Watch children? Are you kidding me? That can't be the sign down the street from an accused child molester's house. In the last few days, somebody took out one of Sandusky's front windows with a cinder block. That's not the right way to act, but it would be right as rain for the city of State College to remove that sign -- WATCH CHILDREN -- from the neighborhood of Jerry Sandusky.
I feel nauseous.
I've been a wreck, and I know -- I know -- this isn't about me. I've tried to share some of my emotions from the past week on Twitter, and a few of your responses were along the lines of, "Get over yourself. This isn't about you."
Well no s---. I've been in State College, staring at Sandusky's house and reading the accounts of what he has been accused of doing and driving by The Second Mile, Sandusky's foundation for at-risk children that allegedly was his hunting ground for victims. And I've been in tears. The Penn State journalism students in Room 206 of the Carnegie Building saw that. I broke down twice in front of those kids on Friday. Maybe three times. The whole week was a blur, and Lord knows I wasn't the only sportswriter affected. Lots of us were walking around State College in a fog. This can't be real, said the look on lots of media faces.
Anyway, not about me. Got it. But it has taken a toll on me, just as it has taken a toll on anyone who was in town last week. The toll this has taken on the victims, if the charges are true? I can't imagine that toll, but I'll tell you this: As I've been driving on Interstate 70 today through southern Pennsylvania, trying to get home, I've seen several deer on the side of the road. I see those once-beautiful deer, lying there innocently and eternally damaged, and I think of the victims. Beautiful. Innocent. Eternally damaged.
Those have been my thoughts. My dreams? You don't want to know. They've been nightmares, and nothing I'm going to share with you. In a few days I'm supposed to share something else with you, topic to be determined. My next writing slot is Wednesday, when I'm supposed to file a column on something in the sports world. I don't think I can do it. I'm not ready to write on anything else, but I'm sick of writing about Jerry Sandusky.
In fact, I'm sick of writing this. I'm done. Time to get back on the road to wherever I'm going. Time to get away from where I've been.