..well, ya'll all know that it comes around. That's what the old folks say and I believe 'em because they're wiser than me. They lived through the tough times of WWII and the great depression at a time when real moral values were, though well intended, very troublesome to their offspring who espoused the peace and love philosophy. Like me. As a teenager, I first took a road trip with a couple of guys who are now dead (and gay as hell while they were alive). The Westboro mentality was rampant at that time so of course it was all their fault for being different. Bullshit. This was around the time that we first learned about HIV and HCV and the dangers that come with sharing needles and/or sex with people you may know but surely shouldn't trust with your health. Being homosexual was much less accepted than it is now, and the "church" was responsible for a lot of that intolerance. I mean please....we've still got local congregations that don't allow women to do anything other than bake a cake or keep the nursery because it's up to the men to conduct holy business.
There was a wave of HIV around here that sprang from the seventies and it was hard to watch. One after another, my old friends died senselessly. The one that hit me the hardest was Denise that I went to Alice Thurmond with. She had been married and had a daughter, then headed to the streets and found another one who liked to play with needles. They had another daughter who did just like you would expect from that situation and she died when A was a teenager, at her mother's house with her old friend the hospice nurse by her side. Her ex lingered in a nursing home for years, his own personal hell for infecting that naive girl who just wanted to be happy. Sometime around there, my other friend from Texas pulled a good one and died on her bathroom floor in her own puke from an overdose of pills. We were rebels together, back in the day. At the point where I said to myself "Self...there is no future in this lifestyle" the rest of them partied on and died young. The sad thing is that most of it happened because of the fact that things just were the way they were and it was pretty messed up. Like the world is right now.
The drug du jour in our neck of the woods these days is meth, and there's plenty of labs around the south to cook in. It is a very addictive mixture of battery acid and sudafed and ammonia that blows entire neighborhoods up when things get out of hand. My honest opinion is that the DEA should just shake hands with Mexico, agree not to bust anybody who grows their own and focus on the addictions that thrive at the poverty level. Might cut out a lot of government benefits if you know what I mean. Cocaine is expensive and meth is the poor man's way of gettin' geeked out for days all the while eating free food from the commodities place and paying cash for your cigs while the babies run around in dirty diapers. I know of what I speak. Yet I still believe in the goodness, the random miracle when someone who is absolutely eaten up with demons, turns around and chooses to reclaim their life. I always think of the "pigs in the pond" story from the bible when I ponder on that particular thing. Only Big Ernie could send the evil crashing over the cliff into the sea. Gotta love it.
When BG was in junior high school there was this town drunk named Walter who slept in an old building over by the Forked Deer river. He would sit on court square in the mornings with a cheap bottle of something that he had gotten from the liquor store across the street and pass the day with the other members of the "limp dick club" as my daddy called them. Most of these folks were sort of like mascots to the store owners, and they wouldn't let them in until a decent hour for what they wanted. Sometimes they paid the night before, in cash, for the next day's happy hour. And lived on the streets. One day when I was parked going UPHILL to pick BG up from school I noticed Walter wobbling down amongst all the pre-teens who were totally self absorbed and all about themselves. He fell down in the traffic and they proceeded to laugh at him and kick him when he hit the ground. I think it was at that point that I realized that our society was as effed up as a goose what with all the big corporate promises. If affluence makes you oblivious to human need, there's a problem. Thankfully, I wasn't raised that way.
There, but for the grace of god, go I ^j^