on drowning in the bottle
The last of the crazies has taken her final bow. It is with affection I refer to her as the ‘crazy’. Never did I see or listen to her not drunk and never did she speak to be understood. She called everyone Kunta Kinte’, wore her afro proudly and was always as ornery as all get out.
We weren’t close although she would sometimes call me to talk. Really, she just talked and I listened. She never made any sense. To me. Words and sentences were slurred and strung together like barbed wire. I never desired to reply or engage for fear of the prick. I hated listening but would have hated more not answering her call.
She was seventy-seven and was found at home alone this morning. My last aunt.
Her death is again a reminder of the chains of alcoholism in my family. I am amazed at the resilience of the human body. The pure horsepower of the liver.
Eighty-proof three hundred sixty-five days of the year. How amazing to live to seventy-seven with this ritual. Perhaps sad.
Though, not really any different in amazement or sadness than all of the other numbing activities almost all of us engage in.
Daily doses of empty calories. Hello? Guilty.
Hours of television or games. Endless shopping. Global mindless consumption.
Who would choose to wander through this mortal life without any intoxicants? That would be boring. No, we have built them into our daily lives and justify every single one, even the ones we go to jail for.
The Profiter continues until the end of times to benefit from our intoxication while throwing us in his hospitals and jails for the crimes in which he is guilty. So then with our dollars do we spend to consume and imprison ourselves.
Who can we blame before 1988? After this the Surgeon General has warned us about what “may” cause health problems.
When you lose your job, home, family, friends and find yourself standing before the liquor cooler at 7/11, is the General whispering in your ear to step away? Did you even notice the love notes she leaves you so that you will rethink your purchase?
If so, refrain from grabbing the bottle and instead grab a candy bar or two instead. The label is green after all. Take heed the nut allergy warning or the possible inclusion of chemicals that cause cancer. Eh, that’s not a big deal. The air has chemicals that cause cancer. Eat on.
Truly though, the best consumption when in pain is self-absorption. The embracing of the hurt. The hugging of the blades that stab your heart. Yes, hug the pain so you can let that shit go.
Take just a moment before stepping into the 7/11 to sit in your car and take a deep breath. Consider for just two minutes that your pain serves a purpose. Like a smile, a laugh, an angry thought, the warmth of falling in love. It is the spectrum of you but it is not you.
The warning sign on the door of every liquor store should read:
“Go home. Cry. Laugh. Scream. Break a plate. Dance naked in your backyard. What you feel will eventually pass. If you step in here, you may find yourself crying forever.”
With breath or without, consumed or starved, may we all rest in peace.
BREAK THE CYCLE