Tattoed Fruits

No, I’m not bashing gays. This is actually about having produce on our shelves that is just one step away from having body piercings.

You see I’m a professional chef. I havnt been in the industry for quite some time, but even as far back as the 80s I can remember produce suppliers bringing me cases of apples or oranges where each individual fruit had one of these stickers on them. I remember what I asked myself after seeing this for the first time. ” What is this shit ?”

I asked the delivery guy why I was getting stickers on my food. He told me that the case was actually for a market but he accidently got the cases mixed up and if I wouldnt mind taking this one because he already dropped of the one intended for me. Not seeing any real disadvantage to accepting it I said o.k..

That was a mistake. For the first time in my life I realized what a hassle these little stickers were. I had to pay my dishwasher an extra hours pay to pull each and every one of these bastards off. Then he had to get a 3m scouring pad and a little soap to get off the remaining adhesive. This left a small abrasion on about half the pieces in the order. Needless to say(but I’ll say it anyway) I called the produce company and told them they owed me some compensation towards my labor costs and a half a case of apples. When I explained to them why they apolgized and sent me a free case of apples with my next delivery.

But still up untill this very day, I hate the little fuckers. I dont put bumper stickers on my car so why the hell would I want one on my fruit ? These days I am the one that wears the apron around the house ( its a long story)   I do all the shopping and cooking and every other domestic chore that would fall upon the average housewife.

After years of bitching about these little things I finally decided to do some investigating. To my surprise I found out that I am not alone in my contempt for this inconvenience the agricultural world has bestowed upon us.

I always thought that these stickers were for idiot cashiers that didnt know an apple from and orange and of course the numbers on the sticker is a code for the price. This system pisses me off bacause I was a cashier at a large grocery outlet in the 70s and we had to know what we were selling and at least something about the product as to be informative to the customer. We didnt have scanners and we had to know our prices by going around the store in the morning and jotting down any chage in prices. And usually the produce guy would tell us a little something about the product and how it was used. This way we could actually perform the lost art of ” customer service” How many cashiers these days could even point out a spagetti squash to you , or gave some idea how its prepaired ?

My investigation today lead me to this article in the NYT ( yea I know) If you want to read the whole thing, go here


Tattooed Fruit Is on way ( as if the stickers werent bad enough)

Published: July 19, 2005

A pear is just a pear, except when it is also a laser-coded information delivery system with advanced security clearance.

And that is what pears – not to mention organic apples, waxy cucumbers and delicate peaches – are becoming in some supermarkets around the country. A new technology being used by produce distributors employs lasers to tattoo fruits and vegetables with their names, identifying numbers, countries of origin and other information that helps speed distribution.

The article goes on to mention the other reasons for turning our food into the Borg. These tattoes are not too far away from actually being scanner friendly. And the numbers are also there as security tracking measures since 911. WHAT?, I mean WHAT!?

I’m all about security. And I’m all for profiling at the airport, I dont care who it pisses off. You can read any e-mail I get from Afghanistan, and I want a big ass wall on both borders. And if I’m seen dating a chick in a burka I wont get mad if you give me a second look And if I could kick every illegal out of the country I would. But have we actually gotten to the point where a canteloupe could be a dirty bomb ? And we have to put a sticker on each piece of produce that will tell you its origin, organic or not, and if so what kind of pesticide was used , who picked it along with his family background ?

Pretty soon having your own little veggie garden will be crime while the real bad guys sit back and eat their cous cous with no stickers and laugh their ass off. While our borders are still wide ass open and we have do it yourself terrorist websites up and running 24/7. Our power grid is wide open, water supply, you name it. And we are spending money on this as preventative measure to a terrorist attack?                 By the time one these fruits hits the stand, its too late !

So here we are 25-30 years later and I’m still asking my self “what is this shit” ?


Road Trip and Slip

I’ve always been amazed at why I’m still alive , here’s just one episode in my life that give’s reason to raise that question.

It was about 1989, I was a rampant user of crank, coke, pot, Jack Daniels and beer. I was working and living at a metal refinishing shop in the middle of a huge industrial complex in Norwalk L.A.  I was a partner in this business along with two other freaks like myself. Jesse Beccera and Bill Whiting. We were hard working , hard drinking and we all would usually depend on a few beers and a couple good lines of crank in the morning to get our day going. Every morning “Bicycle Jim” would come by and pull 3 twenty’s out of his seat post and sell one to each of us. After our little chemical breakfast the shop would erupt into a fury of production with music blasting a consistent pile driver beat, wall vibrating  hard tecno rock , Ministry and White Zombie, plain old mean and energetic music, right  along with the noise coming from six 15 hoursepower lathes running full blast at the same time, It was pure  orchestrated insanity. This would go on for at least 8 hours every day, non stop. The neighboring shop owners wanted nothing to do with us. They knew nothing of the drugs. They just thought we were nuts and satanist. { after 8 hours of grinding and polishing aluminum wheels and automotive parts on these huge machines we would be so black you could only see the white of our eyes}

At the end of each day we would clean up and make a run to the liquor store. Mostly so I could have enough booze to carry me through the night. As an alcoholic, if I ran out and went too long without a drink I would have convulsions and seizures that were crippling. Every night I would have to drink enough to counteract the speed so I could sleep. A quart of beer would last me a couple hours and then I would wake up and drink another quart and go back to sleep. If worse ever came to worse and the liquor store was closed I could always walk over to the dairy about a block away and buy beer from a soda machine they had with a Budwieser button on it. Fifty cents for a Bud. Unfortunatly if I was shaking and withdrawing it made the walk really hard. The only way I could make it would be to run, walking was impossible. I would bring my roll of quarters which I always had handy, and sit infront of the machine and pound Bud after Bud in front of 2000 cows at 3 in the morning till I got straight

Okay I think you get the picture by now.

Jesse and I were sitting in the office one night while he was having a testy little spat over the phone with his girlfriend Tina who was up in Bend Oregon. It seems she wanted to come back to L.A., but she had way to much shit to put on  a plane a bus or a train.  So she was trying to convince Jesse to drive up to Oregon and bring her and her shit back to L.A.

Now , before I go any further I must make it clear that I had met Tina before. And she is one of the most stuck up concieted little bitch’s I have ever met. I always told Jesse he could do better. He complained once that she wouldnt blow him. That there was reason enough in my mind to dump her.

Now, picture this. Jesse looks like Slash from Guns and Roses, I look like a cross between  Ted Nugent and David Lee Roth . We both had full blown rock wardrobes and massive long hair. This was the late 80s and we were totally entrenched in the rock lifestyle. We are both, as usual, high on crank and drunk. Wide awake drunks ! Bouncing around like mexican jumping beans with electrodes up our ass. Zip Zap. Totally spastic.  And to make things even more ridiculous, it was Christmas eve, I swear to God this is true, and not for dramatic effect. You’ll see later that it has very much to do with this story.

He hangs up the phone and in a millionth of a second says; “Want to go to Oregon ?” And in half a millionth of a second I said; Shoot ! lets go !” 

Jesse called Tina back, got directions from the highway she was closest to in Oregon. We grabbed the company check book, some clothes and our 1/2 ounce of crank. Before we got on the 5 north we went to the liquor store and grabbed two huge bottles of Jack and took off like slingshots for Oregon.

The first few hours were fun. We cruised along just having a good ole time. Stopping here and there. Even ran into a couple bars  on the way had a few drinks and hit the road again. Now keep in mind we were high on some of the best speed in California , and had already been up for 3 days and we were putting away a fifth of Jack plus a shit load of beer everyday. We had left Norwalk at about 4 or 5 in the evening and drove all night, when the sun came up we were about 50 miles north of San Fransisco. Just when the sky started to lighten up we pulled over at some scenic area and watched the sun come up on Christmas day. and just sat quietly for about 10 or 15 minutes I felt that this was important to do, probably because the night before we headed north all I did was swing by my 3 year old daughters place to give her her presents. She was too young to really grasp what was happening. But I still felt kind of shitty, so I figured I had better offer some respect to the day. Not to justify the crank and Jack Daniels, or shorting my daughter, but because I actually had feelings for Jesus, it was his birthday. As much of a rampant asshole as I was, I had to offer the day some respect.

The sunrise was spectacular, almost surreal and abstract , when you have been up for four days and are still doing healthy doses of crank your vision and other senses start playing tricks on you. Colors are brighter and more vibrant. This is one thing most people are not aware of. And that is, that its not really the drug that screws you up as much as the lack of food and sleep. Even without the drug, if you stay up for four days with no food, you’re gonna start acting up ! And then add on all the extra energy you expend as a result of the drug and you’ve got one looney trooper! You start seeing and doing some really weird shit.

Anyway, we shoved off from the look out and headed north again. The rest of the ride was the usual. Drive 50 miles pull over and do a few shots and a few lines, get back on the road , 50 miles later… BOOM ! were up and running again. We had been up for at least 4 days now and it was taking more speed and less Jack to get straight. Our systems were plunging and it only took a little Jack because we were so depleted, our alcohol tolerance was way down. The lack of sleep was acting as good sedative also. So we just did bigger lines. We had to get to Oregon. We were doing that balancing act that most cross addicted users go through. Always tweaking and adjusting the speed and booze to get the perfect high.

I guess we were about 200 miles outside of Bend when it started getting dark. This is when the shit really started.

Somewhere about a 100 miles out of Bend we made wrong turn. And now we were on a narrow road out in the middle of nowhere. The roads had ice on them and every now and then we would have to dodge a deer. Slip slidin away. Anyway, after Jesse had almost killed us twice I told him that if he didnt let me drive I would kick his ass. Jesse was a control freak and had drove all the way up till this point. But my threat proved worthy and he gave me the wheel.  Now,  I,m from Hawaii, and I’ve never driven in the snow or on ice. But I swear , anybody could do better job than Jesse. As soon as I got about a mile down the road another deer popped out in front of us and Jesse started screaming like a little  bitch ” Oh ! don’t hit the deer” I told him that I’ll hit that I would hit the deer before I make any sharp turns and end up in a ditch.

I slowed down without skidding, stopped, turned off the headlights, blew the horn, turned on the head lights and the deer was gone. Cool, that was way better than almost falling into a ditch out in the middle of nowhere.

We decided that at this point it was probably better to keep going and wait for a sign that would give us directions or at least let us know where we were at. But we starting to have problems, we were hallucinating because our senses were shot. We were going so slow ( only because everything around us was going  100 miles per hour)that every 10 or 15 minutes a car would start to come up behind us.    If these cars were at least a mile behind us their headlights would flicker and change colors, but only for Jesse and I. We thought they were cops. Paranoia is usually a side effect of any stimulant that has kept you up for 4 days, and we were shitting our pants. We were so careful to drive in a straight line at a decent speed even with the ice, because we didnt want to draw any unecessary attention from what we thought were the the cops. Well, we werent as good on the ice as the guy behind us,  he was getting closer and I didnt dare go any faster. I didnt need to get in wreck and have the cops find our big ol bag of speed and the half empty Jack bottles. And the little .22 pistol we brought which had never left the shop till that day. We had thought about tossing it all , but we were too paranoid to even move. Gradually the car behind us got closer, gradually our assholes got tighter. Then the car got close enough to where we could see it was’nt a cop and we let them pass. Unfortunatly there was another car about a mile behind us , and we started the same scene all over again. No matter how hard we stared at the lights, they looked like cop lights untill they would get about 2 or 3 hundred feet behind us.   Finally this piss ass little road opened up to the 5. We had over shot Bend by 50 miles.  At least now we supposedly knew where we were.                                                                                              

 Jesse got on a pay phone, { no cell phones in 89} got some directions and took over the wheel. I had no problem with this because the ice only seemed to be on the little winding road we just got off. Now we had to get on the 5 and head south for about 40 or 50 miles and then get off and make all these turns that only Jesse knew about cause the shithead  didnt write it down. We got lost a couple more times, would find a pay phone , get back on track and try again. It was like 3 steps backwards and 2 forward  untill we finally at midnight got to Tinas moms house. By now after being up for 4 almost 5 days I was totally out of any mental chemical  properties { dopamine, endorphines, whatever} and wanted to cry. If I had to watch Old Yeller I would of killed myself.

The house was hard to miss, but had we indulged any more into the zip lock of crank or drank any more Jack we probably would have. After everything we had been through and knowing that Tinas family was obviously concerned by us taking so long , I couldnt believe we actually had to ring the doorbell and wait about a minute before Tina’s brother came to the door. I mean this house was out in the middle of nowhere, with its own 1/2 mile long driveway. You would of thought they heard us, driving on snow is noisy and so was the truck we were in.  Anyway, as soon as all the pleasentries were over the first thing Tina’s mom did was plop a big ass plate of food in front of us. I had to turn around so she wouldnt see me holding back my gag. For those of you that don’t know it, when high on methamphetamine, food is the enemy. It’s actually the one thing we needed most, but getting it down the hatch is nearly impossible. Just the site of it makes you want to gag. I tried my best to be polite and eat it and make claims about how good it was but I wasn’t succeding to well. I made up a story that I wasn’t feeling to good from the trip and that I was car sick from all the turns and sliding on the snow and bla bla bla. With that, Jesse and I were quickly shown our accomidations. I think Tinas family was tired and just wanted to crash.

Tina’s brother asked us to follow him outside. When we stepped out the back door we caught our first look at our guest room. It was one of those old campers on wheels that was about ten feet long and dome shaped like an egg. I clearly remember telling myself; “what the fuck?” To top it off it’s fucking freezing ! The camper was about 60 or 70 feet from the house , inside was two little 5 ft. long shelves on each side that had quilts on them with blankets and pillows. No shitter, no sink. Just a door and a window and old heater in the middle of the floor and two little shelves that were supposed to be beds. Actually that was the intention, but they looked like large benches.

So now everything has wound down and it  was all nice and quiet.   Of course Jesse and I were a little bummed because we really couldn’t sleep. And we couldnt go outside and walk around because that would of been a bust, and it would of looked really weird. Also it was pitch dark. So if you can picture two wide awake drunks walking around the Oregon forest with a flashlight at 2 in the morning you get the picture.

So we just laid there and talked about God knows what while the little heater on the floor would hum and light up bright red every minute and then softly dimm back down. The heater was irritating not just because of the way it was humming and glowing on and off , but because we were still hallucinating. In a living room with everything lit up it wasn’t too bad. But out in the pitch black forest with nothing other than this little red orb going on and off it was almost like a bad acid trip.

This went on for what seemed like an eternity but was probably just an hour or so. We ran out of shit to say so we just sat there quietly when the camper started to rock. The rocking would come and go at 2 to 3 minute intervals. Jesse and I were freaking out. ” Whats that!! Whats that!!” I reached in my back pack and grabbed the little .22 and put it at my side as I looked out the window. Right there in my face were two glowing red eyes about the size of quarters. I jumped back and nearly shit my pants.  Everytime the heater would glow at its brightest the eyes in the window would glow brighter , and red ! Now the camper starts rocking and the eyes are moving around and Jesse and I are freaking. To make matters worse I had to piss like a stepped on rattlesnake. We were both convinced that it was a bear.

Finally I decide I had to do something. I told Jesse that I was going to go outside and sneak around to the other side and put cap in the bears ass and then jump back in the camper. Besides that I was ready to piss on myself. If I had a bottle to pee in I would of just done that. But I didn’t, and I was ready to pop.

Before I go any further I should tell you that I dont know much about guns at all. I think the .22 we had was made in China. We got it off a junkie for $40.00 in L.A. I’ve only fired a gun twice before. I was shooting at cans in a pineapple field with a sawed off shotgun. (yea I know)   I decided not to sneak out because I knew the snow would start crunching under my feet and set off the bear. So instead I just came out of the door like gangbusters. I flew around the corner of the camper and saw this dark mass about as big as a pony and just started shooting


It was a deer. A little 150 lb. deer. It was so dark and I was so paranoid and high and just full of stupid that I had shot a deer. God ! I felt like the scum of the earth. I think if it was a bear I would of felt the same way. I have always wanted to hunt my own food, but this was murder, he wasnt dead yet, but I knew he wouldnt make it, blood was everywhere. I didnt know what to do. Poor guy was just laying there gasping for breath looking up at the sky. Of course the gun made some noise, so Tina and her folks came running out screaming at me   “What the fuck are you doing?”  My facilities were so depleted and I felt so stupid and bad I really couldnt think of anything intelligent to say. Man were they mad at me. They were all walking around pulling their hair and asking me all kinds of things. They started asking Jesse ; ” where did you digg up this asshole ?” I couldnt take it anymore so I asked Jesse if was possible for Tina to grab her stuff and we just hit the road then and there. Tina thought it would be best too if we got out there. So thats what we did. At about 3 or 4 in the morning we started putting her stuff in the truck.

Do you remember at the beggining I mentioned that Tina called L.A. saying all her stuff wouldnt fit on a bus or a plane ?  Well it turned out the little bitch only had two suitcases ! We drove 600 miles and almost killed ourselves and God knows who else and risked jail, all for two fucking  suitcases and a snotty little bitch. I was so mad I was twitching and couldnt speak for about an hour.

So now we are headed for the California border, its about 6 or 7 in the morning and we have been on the road for a few hours now. The sun is coming up and for the first time in my life I saw snow at its fullest. I mean everything was white ! I was raised in Hawaii and had been to NY, Mich., Mexico and LA so far. And had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. I was totally taken back and just amazed at the power of mother nature to cover everything in white. Shortly after that I also got to see a lake completely frozen over. That was almost too much to comprehend. Unfucking believable ! An ice cube the size of a small island.

By now we were about 20 miles just north of the California border heading south to this little town called Weed,( its there, google it) when the carrier bearing for the drive shaft went out. To make a long story short , we could only go about 3 miles an hour. Not to much later a very nice country looking guy hooked a rope up to us and dragged us in to Weed.

Heres the hard part, we only had sixty bucks . That was for gas to get back to L.A. The part for the truck was fifty bucks and wouldnt be in until monday. We only had a company check book and the banks were closed. And now it’s snowing like crazy. Even if we had the part and gas money we werent allowed on the road it was snowing so hard. Next thing we know we are sitting in a little coffee shop looking at each other like ” what the fuck are we gonna do” ? By now I was ready to strangle the bitch. She actually had the nerve to start complaining. I told her that our choices were this. We could sleep in the truck untill Monday and run the heater at night, but we would use all the gas and maybe overheat the engine. Or we could drink coffee for two days and nights, that way they cant kick us out of the coffee shop. None of this was going to work because Jesse and I have been up for 5 or 6 days now and we were fading fast.

The waitress was nice enough to give us a handful of coffee tokens. By now she knew our predicament. The three of us decided we would have to get a room, even if we only had enough cash for one night. That would be better than two nights in the truck or coffee shop. So I told them both to stay put and I would go see what I could do. I grabbed the company check book our 60 in cash and started down the street.

Weed is a little truck stop town that you could walk through in ten minutes. Down the main drag was about ten little motels. I went to each one trying to strike deal for two nights for three people with 60 bucks and a post dated check. The first 6 or 7 wouldnt offer anything or even try to help so I decided to amp up the bullshit. The next motel I went to got a different version of my story. I told the guy at the front desk about our truck and the repairs it needed and our cash predicament. On top of that I told the guy at the front desk that Tina was pregnant and that when he saw her he would believe me ( Tina had a convincing pouch of fat like a beer belly). I told the guy that I would let him hold my gold bracelet, my watch a post dated check most of my cash and my license untill the bank opened on Monday, in exchange for a room for two nights. He asked me to bring ny friends with me, and if what I said was true we had a deal. I walked back to the coffee shop and just sat in front of Tina and Jesse with this long sad look on my face intentionaly dragging it out until they couldnt stand it any longer . Finally they asked me; well ! what happened ? I dragged out the doom and gloom even longer. I looked Tina and said; well…  it looks like were sleeping in the truck for a couple days. Tina shit her pants and started crying and saying ; ” I’m going to call my mom to come get me” unfortunatly we were snowed in. So I told her that wont work. And then I proceeded to rip the bitch a new and enlarged asshole for making Jesse and I drive 600 plus miles just for her fucking suitcases and having to go through all this shit because she was too fucking spoiled and lazy to just get on a greyhound.

When I was finally done acting like we were screwed to the max, and had convinced Tina was fucked for the weekend I told them both that we could have a room but had to convince the desk clerk that she was pregnant. I told her that with that gut of hers no one would doubt it. You could tell she fucking hated me. But she knew she was in no position to argue. All three of us walked down to the hotel, when we got there the clerk took one look at Tinas belly and said “well alright my friend , we’ll take care of the little lady and her bundle” and asked me to fill out the card. I wrote the check out, but he was very nice and said I wouldnt have to leave my watch,  bracelet or license.

By this time it was snowing like a bitch. We got our room , got settled and I’m pretty sure I went right to sleep. I remember doing a big old sour line and a shot right before that. I guess at that point it didnt matter how much shit I did, I was fading fast, I needed rest.

I guess it was 4 or 5 hours later I woke up to the sound of Jesse fucking Tina. I continued to lay there and pretend I was still sleeping. It was hilarious, she sounded like a squeeky bicycle. He was busting his ass with all his might and she was just going eek, eek, eek. I think one stroke accidentally ended up in her poop chute because out of knowhere she let out this blood curdling scream and then went right back to eek, eek,  You know Jesse was higher than a kite because he was fucking a hundred miles and hour for at least an hour and still couldnt cop a nut. Tina started crying and begging him to get off while saying ” you’re gonna wake up Micky” not that she cared about my sleep one bit. She just thinks  seeing her naked is some kind of treat for any guy. Or couldnt stand the humiliation of anyone knowing that she put out.

Finally I got tired of listening to this feeble attempt at sex and told them both to shut up, the room is in my name, got it? The  next morning I was once again taken back by the power of mother nature. The truck was completely buried in snow. All I could see was the antenna.

Later that day around noon we got our shit together (shots and lines) and started cruising around Weed on foot. At that time in my life I had no taste for this little one gas station town with a population of maybe 1 or 2 thousand people. Looking back from where I’m at now as a “real” adult I would love to move there. Although Hawaii is home I have taken a great liking to the seasons and cool crisp weather. In my other travels I’ve done my share of seeing the spleandor of the North west coast, but never in the winter.

As we cruised we decided to look for a bar (the motel cashed a small check for us) We found a nice little “hole in the wall” type bar. This is actually my favorite kind of bar. No disco shit or anything fancy, just good rock a few cuties and a pool table. My kinda place.

Of all the coolest things that happened was when I started talking to the barmaid and it turned out she was from Hawaii. She even knew quite a lot of the people I knew back home. Being an alcoholic and an addict I naturally had an interest in chumming up to this potential piece of ass for more than just pussy. Booze ! And it worked ! Shots and beers all around , all day long ,as long as I would sneek my friend the barmaid (forgot her name) into the head and pack her nose every couple hours. It was a good time like not too many I’ve ever had. We closed the bar at about 2:30 am and grabbed my friend the barmaid(yea I got that). We were quite a sight. The four of us had the hardest time walking to the hotel due to the ice on the sidewalk. Something I was completely new at. When we got the hotel I took my friend right into the bathroom and fucked her brains out with the full intention of making as much fucking noise as possible. I wanted Jesse and Tina to get the full effect of what it was like to have to listen to that pathetic attempt the tried to pull off the night before. My new little  friend got in on it too. She was howling her fucking brains out too,, on purpose just to help me rub my master fuckmanship into Tina and Jesses face and ears. Its hard to fuck like hyeenas and scream like your in some poorly made porno and not laugh at the same time.

When we came out of the bathroom Jesse and Tina were just getting ready to leave. I told Jesse and Tina ” paybacks a bitch , aint it ? Ha Ha !”  None of us could help but laugh. It was all in good fun in the end, we all got a pretty good laugh out of it.

I dont remember too well if we stayed till Monday or Tuesday but the part for the truck came one of those mornings. Seeing as how the highways were snowed out all weekend and just about anything but a tank was not allowed on the road it was probably Tuesday the bank let us cash a check for a couple hundred, we got the part and it was installed. I assume we left Weed early because we got back to L.A. around 2 or 3 in the morning the next day.

About half way down to L.A. Tina started bitching to Jesse, saying he was driving to fast and she wanted pancakes and shit and God knows what else. My underlying hatred for her and what she had put us through was still there, so to say the least I really didnt want to hear any of her requests or demands. Finally I just snapped and went into a blind rage of ballistic fits. I got right in her face spitting and screaming told her that if I heard one more word out of her I would put her on a greyhound. This sour spoiled little bitch had just eaten away at my last nerve. I dont know what the fuck Jesse saw in her. All she ever did was sit around like princess and look at herself in a mirror and ignore everything around her. Nothing but a fucking Yoddel with some make up and a hole.

We finally got back to Norwalk at about 2 or 3 in the morning. Jesse dropped me at the shop and took the bitch home. The next mornrng Bill ( the third partner) came thru the office door and  started screaming his brains out like some maniac. ” Where the fuck has everyone been?”

I told him what happened and why , and then proceeded out the door to the liquor store and got some goodies and then  to the nearsest motel about 3 blocks away. Got a room , drank a shit load of Jack and didnt come out for 2 days. I think I slept for 48 hours straight. Not even waking up for a drink.

Fucking bitch.

( By the way, I found out a few days later that Tinas family ate the deer)

Thoughts from a recovering addict

Before I even begin to go into this area I have to explain that this is a very dark and scary place for me to go to. I like the idea of people reading my ideas, stories, and whatever else, but this is not about me. As much as you might think it is, this is about saving lives. I don’t want any pity or medals, but if I save one life I won’t turn down a pat on the back. For me it gets very personal and emotional, so please excuse me if I get excited once in a while. I want to offer some background on myself first in order to give my feelings and ideas some credibility.

I was raised in a structure where it was o.k. to get high at a certain age. At 13 my father sat me down and taught me how to drink tastefully, like a gentleman (with Courvoisier and snifters). My parents would buy my weed for me out of safety concerns, and I could have it after homework and on weekends.

This, I believe, was part of the reason I took the road I did. At 13 I went to the Diamond Head Crater Festival in Hawaii. I drank a few beers, smoked a joint, and proceeded to have the time of my life. The line up consisted of Santana, Buddy Miles, Joe Cocker, Mellisa Manchester, Loggins and Messina, Arlo Guthrie, and more. It was like our own little Woodstock, and man…I had the time of my life! I just wanted to do it over and over again.

From that point on the war stories started accumulating and life was anything but normal. I wasn’t getting along in high school, so I quit and got admitted early to the University of Hawaii. I graduated with an Associate of Science degree in restaurant management, but what really came along with those 3 years of college was a college ID, allowing me to buy alcohol and get into clubs. People would just assume I was 18 when they saw the university ID.

I went across the whole country hopping around and doing nothing serious. The trail of tragedy and destruction was enormous. Jail, hospitals, homeless; it would take hours to tell it all. I think what really puts emphasis on the power of addiction is when I bled to death, literally dead. All the crank, coke, and Jack Daniels had eaten away at my esophagus to the point where it ruptured and I bled a quart of blood into my stomach every 10 minutes, and then puked it up. They brought me back after I flat-lined for a minute and a half. After about 5 transfusions and a couple days they released me; I went out immediately and got a beer (12 of them). I’ve lied, stolen, and had reckless sex; pretty much the full gamut of sins. Sometimes I think back and it hurts so bad because I can’t go to half of the people I’ve hurt and try to make it right. That is the paradox that addicts face when trying to clean up, or trying just to feel good without the substance. Thinking about it can get you loaded and also keep you clean and sober. I’ve detoxed a thousand times (and almost made it an art form), I’ve been to treatment 3 times, and I’ve been to probably 3000 AA meetings. I believe the treatment that I last completed (15 years ago) saved my life. It took a year to get a clinical release, and this place was anything but posh! It involved a lot of honesty, a lot of soul searching, and a lot of service to other newcomers; none of this Hollywood “30 day wonder” bullshit. Since then, I have not been “clean and sober” consistently. I’ve had some bad run-ins with my demons as a result of some tragedies, like 9/11. Six people I loved died that year, my father died in my arms on Christmas Eve, and my friends wife died on United Airlines Flight 93. But without the tools that treatment gave me I wouldn’t be here today. Now lets get to the real story.

I am angry, but it’s a good anger that has motivated me to try and bring awareness and solutions to the lives of people that I have all the sympathy in the world for. This country’s handling of its addiction and alcoholism problem is disgraceful. There are a number of places to start; lets begin with America’s perception of addicts and alcoholics.

Addicts Aren’t Weak

I have heard some of the dumbest and cruelest things in my life on the subject of addiction. Some people like to sum it up as weakness, others think you are mentally retarded. The lack of education on this subject is astounding. When you look at how many of us are out there you would think people would want to know more. Instead, they accept stereotypes and cliche descriptions.

Education about addiction, I think, should be mandatory for a couple months in the junior high years, just like safe sex education. Schools should teach students how to recognize substance abuse, handle an overdose, and help an addict get support and treatment. A lot of people grow up being taught that addicts are second rate humans that have a problem with willpower. Wrong; addiction is a disease, plain and simple! Government agencies have determined this fact and any doctor will tell you the same. The problem is, how we understand something is determined by the amount of knowledge we have on that subject, and the knowledge is seriously lacking!

What a lot of Americans don’t understand about people like me is that you can be clean for quite a while and suffer a relapse due to any kind of trigger; it can be a scent, a sight, or even sound. These triggers remind you of the times and feelings associated with your high. Consequently, your adrenaline level skyrockets to point that feels like bungee jumping for the first time, and the anxiety is so bad you can’t stop thinking about your quick fix. I’ve seen people shit their pants and puke in anticipation of getting high.

Naturally, this can play a big part in your social and professional life. I have stayed inside for weeks at a time because of trigger fear. The release of dopamine and serotonin and the suppression of pain receptors is the main ingredient in addiction. Fortunately, I’ve been battling this for years and I’ve become very good at avoiding these feelings without cutting myself off from the world. Simply put, I know what to do and where to go if I’m in trouble. With all this information, you can probably understand how the general population might have a hard time understanding addicts.

Another misunderstanding is how hard it is to stop once a guy like me gets started. There is a big difference between a habitual/ritual addict and a physical addict. I’m a physical addict. Once that shit is in my system, my damaged metabolism (liver and kidneys) takes ten times longer than a normal person’s to process the drug out of my system. If you ever saw Leaving Las Vegas or Basketball Diaries, you’ve got a small idea of what it’s like to kick drugs. I’m 50 years old and if I drank now like I did 25 years ago, the withdrawals would probably kill me. The last time I kicked alcohol I didn’t sleep or stop sweating and shaking for a week. I’ve seen many old timers go into seizures and die. I’ve fallen 30 feet off buildings, been stabbed 8″ deep, and that pain does not even come close to a long overdue withdrawal. I hope this will clarify the dilemma to some of you, and explain why some addicts have a hard time living a normal life

Furthermore, once someone knows you’re an addict, you can pretty much kiss away their genuine friendship. I’ve seen it happen to others a million times, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been clean. The fact is, a lot of us are doomed to substandard lives because of this reaction on most people’s parts. Even today it is very hard for me to fill out an application for anything meaningful, and my resume has a lot of gaps that I have to try and disguise with excuses and lies. My best course of action was self employment, and I was lucky. Most others are not. Education on everyone’s part, at an early age, is one solution I believe will have the most impact.

Demanding Treatment

Treatment should be paid for by revenues taken from taxes on alcohol. On top of that, drugs should be legalized so that we can impose taxes on them to pay for the damage they do. I’ve got no problem with people getting high, but I think that’s its only fair that people pay into a kind of insurance program in case they fall victim to abuse. Government sponsored treatment should be real and intense, and the patient should be evaluated by psychologists or other qualified officials, who will make a judgement on whether the he or she is ready for the real world. There are just to many plush little spas out there calling themselves “rehab facilities,” making a ton of money by preying on people’s hopes.

don’t see how any one can argue that the cost is not worth it, especially compared to the prison system’s miserable failure rate. A productive citizen generating revenue and self esteem is far more worthy than a convicted drug addict sitting on his ass, getting mad at the world next to a stainless steel shitter. Treatment must be approached seriously and not simply viewed as a “time out.” Real treatment involves dumping all your shit and rebuilding everything about your psyche from the ground up. This involves taking a sincerely hard look at your self; the more sincere you are, the more it hurts, and the better it works. I think anyone could understand that this process takes more than a month.

I know a lot of us have heard that alcohol is doing a lot more damage to our society than drugs. Alcohol is available everywhere and widely taxed. However, what are the taxes from alcohol being used for? The government taxes the crap out of alcohol, just like cigarettes, but I don’t see a whole bunch government programs out there for treatment of alcohol addicts, and the ones I do see are crappy and crowded. If we legalize other drugs, it might make them more easily available, but the reality is if I want some dope I’ll find it, legal or not. Why not control the quality and distribution, just like alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs? For starters, the drug runners on the border would be out of business, solving one of our numerous border problems.

Our Addiction To The Drug War

A huge obstacle to these solutions is the government itself. I believe the status quo is very important to them, and the war on drugs is a huge money-making operation. Changing the system and ending the drug war would create a lot of jobs in one area and take away a lot in other areas. Governments and police forces don’t want to change the system at all, and even if some tried, there would be so much political maneuvering that the effort would be another ten year joke with no punchline. Even with that in mind, however, I think we still have to try all possible avenues.

Anyone reading this that has a problem they don’t want the whole world to see can e-mail me directly. Otherwise, I would love to get some ideas and input on possible solutions to improve on one of our country’s biggest problems. I believe drug addiction is one of the top ten issues that is hurting our homeland. Obviously what we are doing is not working very well. How can we change the status quo?