17. Living a double life
The victory of the prostitution law in May 2001 was almost a trigger to put me on a high mentally. Twice before I had failed to control my excited mind and suffered the consequences. This time I was determined to keep my thoughts clear and, by and large, to myself. I was still under psychiatric observation every month, but I began to take charge of my destination. I would not even tell the doctor my deepest innermost thoughts. Not even he would be able to understand a mind like mine. It was the beginning of a double life I was forced to live. Isobel had found it painful to even listen to some of my theories. What option did I have than to just keep it to myself?
My main theory was that certain government officers fought tooth and nail to hide the truth about their blunder (the mathematical error I discovered). So they try all their tricks they can think up to have me back in the mental hospital. Nobody would listen to a madman in a mental institution. My mind imagined circumstances around me and fitted them into the great story that was circulating my brain day and night.
For example, as I conducted the second driving test with the client that failed the week before on the 5 seconds rule, I noticed two strange things. One, at exactly 10 am on 22/05/01, the time when his test was due to start, two large fire engines did a U-Turn just across the road from where I was meeting the examiner. It was so obvious and a silly place to turn around. Two, at the same time a government officer outside a nearby building looked directly at me while speaking quite loudly into a mobile telephone. Nobody else was nearby anywhere. Had I been paranoid, I would have thought he is talking about me, and reacted strongly. But I forced myself to stay in control. I believed in a force from, literally, out of this world.
A positive development was my continuing grasp of snippets of information and turning them to my advantage. I read and deciphered bits of numbers, colours and later names and letters. As I related certain codes to my circumstances I saw in my mind’s eye how an unseen group of people had my interests at heart and tried to support me in strange manners: newspaper headlines, numbers and as mentioned earlier in the colour red and yellow. Had I gone totally mad? For some years to come I would live like a carriage on a roller coaster. The constant up and down, the see-saw of doubts and faith grew into a fulltime war of the mind. At the same time I tried to live a “normal” life as husband, father and breadwinner.
One of the earliest examples of my imagined evidence of coded support I read that same morning. I picked up a magazine to read while the student was on the test with the examiner. I came across an article about an internet company’s battle to establish itself and become profitable. The parallels to my attempt with driving-school.com.au were incredible:
A visionary was struggling to convince his wife of his idea; just like it did every day. They had a son Ben who played soccer; so do we. They had financial difficulty paying their son’s school fees at one stage; so did we. These were three very factual co-incidences. But my brain clicked in at another level: The start up capital was $ 503 103. I interpreted the figures to mean: “What does it matter if you indicate 5 seconds or 3? Or if looking into the rear-view mirror is 1st or 3rd on the list?” This was another one of my reform points. Here my brain loses people’s support because it takes on “outside the square” thinking:
But how on earth would a well-known magazine have anything to do with my struggle? Was I losing my mind again? I had always been quick to analyze figures, letters or facts and fit them into the story that occupied my head almost day and night. Number plates were a great source for coded messages.
It took another year before I noticed, looking again at the article, that the photo of all the staff (over 100) was taken outside a building that looked very much like a church. I emailed the dotcom company, but never received an answer as to why their business premises looked like a church. Very few emails I sent out were answered. Like so many of my extraordinary interpretations I perhaps will never know if my thoughts were a leftover from my mental illness or a special gift from God; or perhaps a bit of each?
My spirit started to sense other unusual phenomena. One morning a radio announcer, Darren Hynch, was talking about road safety on Radio 5 DN. He had only arrived from Sydney a short time earlier. It was an opportunity for me to phone in and get a sympathetic ear for my concerns about the log book method of driver training. While already holding the phone, waiting to go on air, Hynch mentioned about a car he almost bought. In the late 60’s in Sydney he took a test drive in a Vauxhall Victor. The car had a huge free play in the steering wheel. When it was my turn on air I first asked him what colour the car was. He could not remember. After enquiring a little more specific about the time and location, I told him, it very likely was the very same vehicle I bought as my first car afterwards. (In my road safety book had written and mentioned my first car, a Vauxhall Victor with the steering free play, in the chapter on car maintenance).
When I raised the subject of my call, what he thought of one person teaching and the same person issuing a licence, he immediately said: “What’s wrong with that?” I was a little perplexed at his strong reaction. I continued telling him about a girl who was highly pregnant and I felt pressured to sign her log book off before…” I was cut off in mid-sentence. Perhaps I spoke a little slowly for him, but no other announcer would cut anyone off like that. It was very rude of Hynch. He did not last long on Adelaide’s 5 DN. It was another co-incident I had to digest.
One morning, after some shopping, a thought dropped out of the blue just as I walked past the surgery of my family doctor. He had confessed and been sentenced for fondling two young women about two years earlier. Ever since seeing his photo and the article in the newspaper I had wondered about the incident, more so after the 50-year-old doctor had died of a heart attack while playing tennis. If two of my clients wanted to frame me, all they needed to do was to say I fondled during a driving lesson. It would be their word against mine.
The thought that suddenly dropped into my spirit was: “Doctor Long is not guilty of the charges, but was forced into confessing it. In return he received a lesser sentence.”
With this extraordinary thought the war in my mind entered another battle field. “This is your illness rising up again”, my mind would whisper. “I don’t have an illness, just a sensitive, observing mind,” it would reason with itself. Then another thought grabbed me: “What if the doctor did not die of natural causes, but had to be silenced to harbour the lie? The entry in my diary says immediately after this suspicion – God’s truth prevails. This is the slogan of a private Christian School in our area. Had my mind run amok?
Another strange phenomenon emerged, the name Bob. Ever since I arrived in Australia I said to people: “I should have called myself Bob as soon as I got off the airplane. It’s such a simple name. You can read it backwards, forwards it is still Bob.” Acquaintances took years to properly pronounce my name. Not until Dieter Brummer appeared as star actor on “Home and Away” did the situation improve.
The letters BOB have a resemblance to the number 808. By sheer co-incident, at the time I was thinking along those lines, I spotted a car during a driving lesson in an Adelaide Eastern suburb. It was Dr. Lang’s car, now belonging to his widow. The licence plate was 808. I enquired at the place where it was parked and had a brief conversation with the neighbour. I did not know how to tackle this sensitive issue. The name Bob would become so significant later that I called myself Bob for a short time.
Exactly six months after Dr. Lang’s death I found the courage to drop the following letter into his wife’s surgery: (The letter is slightly edited to protect people).
Dear Dr. Lang,
You must wonder why I have such an interest in your husband’s fate.
Please let me firstly express my sadness about his passing away exactly six months ago. You may not know why things happened as they did, but there is a God who holds everything in his hand. He has a purpose in everything.
When I saw your husband’s photo and the article in the Advertiser a voice inside me said immediately: “This is not correct. Dr. Lang is innocent”.
The voice was not audible, just a very strong, clear message. I believe there is not only a God, but that he is alive today and works in people through his Holy Spirit. This powerful force was and is still working today and, so I believe, told me that your husband is innocent.
At the time I was going through a personal trauma myself. It is too complicated to explain in a short time, but your husband’s fate may be linked to what happened to me. For many months I struggled with the inner voice and the message I had received, dismissing it as possibly my own imagination.
Over the past few months I have contacted the media about my story. I am looking for justice for myself and for someone else, apart from your husband. The fact that I heard an inner voice with a message that proved to be correct could bear a lot of weight within the media about my credibility.
Truth will always win out in the end. God knows everything and loves the truth. I completely trust HIM that HE can bring something good out of the injustice done to me and to your husband. What happened to us will either make us bitter or better. I trust it will make you into a stronger person by trusting in God.
PS. Evil prospers when good people do nothing.
I have never received a reply to this letter.
On July 5th, 2001 I was driving north on North East Road, Modbury on my way to pick up a customer. It was a wet, windy morning. Looking ahead I suddenly saw three balloons flying up into the sky. It was not the sort of day for a fair or an outdoor event, where balloons were likely to be released. Two facts puzzled me: The colours of the balloons were red, yellow and green and they flew almost directly over the house of a man from our church. This man worked for the Department of Transport. I once tried to share with him the idea of colour coding speed limits by using just these colours, red, yellow and green. He did not want to listen to the idea, reminding me that it would take 10 years to push a new idea through anyway.
I kept saying to God, why did three balloons, the colours of traffic lights fly over the house of that man right at the time that I was passing by? I did not tell Isobel of this incident for fear of being laughed at.
Just as bizarre as the coloured balloons was a thought that suddenly sank in: My address where I live is 24 Goodall Road. 2...4...good...all. Two for good, all good. Nice way of putting it. In the following year not only my address, but my first name, middle name, surname, date of birth, name of internet provider, address of internet provider and many other data would play a role in my story.
Through all these events I kept reinforcing the lesson I had learned during my second hospital visit – love before power. God has given me a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. This text from 2.Tim. 1 V. 7 would become my pillar of strength in the years to come. The spirit inside gave me one word to hold onto – Trust. I remember exactly the spot where it was dropped into my mind. It stayed there ever since and would become an icon, almost like a work logo to hang onto whenever doubt and fear would rise up inside.
My book “Low-Risk-Driving – a skill for Life” was finally ready to be printed on Fri 13th July 2001. The first run was only 50 copies, enough for my customers and any small order I may receive from other schools. I never had a great urge to sell the book in the wider community. Creating it was the fun part.
I firmly believed that students ought to have a study guide for driving as for any other subject. The government logbook only stated the required standard to be reached. My book explained in detail how to achieve the standard. Certain government officials did not like my initiative. Real or imagined I felt to be targeted as a trouble maker. One morning I even dreamed of having my road safety book in every new car sold in Australia. It seemed logical: Every vehicle has an instruction manual telling owners about all the features, gadgets and functions. Why not a manual to assist in how to drive the machine safely?
Throughout the year 2001 I kept reinforcing the lesson I had learned during my second hospital visit – L before P, love before power; Trust God!
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves