Man makes statement: ‘I’m definitely not dead’
Last updated 11:43 18/10/2011
Graham Brooks, Renwick Photographer
ALIVE AND WELL: Renwick man Graham Brooks has publicly quashed rumours of his demise. He’s not ready to dig the hole, he says.
A Marlborough man has issued an unusual reminder to friends and family – “I’m definitely not dead”.
The Renwick rumour mill has been working overtime on lifelong resident Graham Brooks, and come up with the crazy notion that the 61-year-old suffered a massive stroke and died three weeks ago.
The former newspaper photographer laughed it off at first as well-wishers visited the family home to offer condolences to his wife, Cynthia.
However, after hearing he was losing photography jobs, he knew it was time to set the record straight.
“I definitely didn’t have a stroke and I’m definitely not dead,” Mr Brooks said.
“I’ve had my guts full of this. It has gone beyond a joke. A local businessman drove up my driveway, parked, looked me in the eye and said, `You’re not dead’. He didn’t even get out of the car, just turned around and left. I thought, `What the hell is going on here?’ Maybe I’m a reincarnation.”
Even when people see Mr Brooks is alive and well, they still assume he suffered the stroke and is on the mend.
But it’s the patronising looks of sympathy that irritate the most, Mr Brooks said.
“People put their arms around my shoulders, look me in the eye and say, `How are you feeling? I heard what happened’. I tell them it is a load of b…….”
The rumour has taken on a life of its own, he said.
“People hearing it for the first time think it only happened a few days ago and that it must be true because someone told them. Even when people talk to your face they think you must be hiding it.”
There are two plausible reasons for the mix-up, Mr Brooks explained.
“A close friend of mine died a few weeks ago.
“He developed a virus in his heart and was taken to Wellington Hospital where he suffered a stroke. His name was Graham Valk.
“His sister-in-law knows about the rumour and jokes with me, saying `How are you feeling’?”
However, Mr Brooks has been walking about town looking slightly worse for wear lately.
He stepped into a hole – for a tree, not a grave – and twisted ligaments in his knee while saving his wife from a dog attack.
“Maybe people have seen me hobbling around town with a crook knee. But I’m not on death’s door, not yet anyway.” – Marlborough, New Zealand