The humble rat is a great teacher, give it some choices of cheese, and I am not talking Gouda versus Manchego. I’m talking the ones that are wired up to electricity, while the other is not. Who likes Manchego, over Gouda, no less? I’ll tell you who, the rat who just got shocked to a volt within his life. He’s going to do what he has to, and pick a cheese we used to dub, “man-stinko” anytime a customer added it to their cheese platter.
Einstein Would Be Proud
I used to work for a caterer, best one in Pittsburgh, so this next story will tie in seamlessly. If you read my memoir, you already know this tale of delusion. I worked late the night before, and because I had to meet my boss early, I stayed at my parents’ house. My serving crew and I got tipped nicely, and my buddy went to cop (which means, “to buy drugs”) while we drove home to unload all the equipment.
I saved some for the morning to avoid being sick; less than half a bag. As I have done countless times, I pushed the plunger down on the syringe, and all I remember is falling back on my bed. I was probably about 31 when this happened, but in the 18 years I stayed at my parent’s house, my dad has never come into my room. This morning he did – he opened the door and saw my skin turning a nice shade of hypoxic (no oxygen). His boy was dying right in front of his eyes. I only know I stopped breathing and my heart gave up from his recollection of me, growing ever stiller in his arms.
What I remember is the jolt Narcan gave to my system; my flat on the bed body now a rigid right angle. My parents were crying in the corner, paramedics working feverishly to save a life that I myself valued so little. The police collecting whatever they could find, not to charge me with but to rid the house. The benefits of small town living. They asked me questions, <em>who are you? Where are you? What’s your parents’ names?</em>
All I wanted to do was go to work. I wanted to get dressed, not go on the gurney to the hospital. Plus, the embarrassment of my parents; neighbors didn’t need to see me wheeled out. Plus I felt dope sick with all that heroin off its receptors. Finally, I got released from the hospital and went to work. Hopefully to save my job, <strong><em>and </em></strong>to get another bag. <strong>The same bag that killed me just a few hours ago. </strong>The absurdity of that moment defines the lunacy of addiction.
<em>Step 2: Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves could return us to sanity.</em>
Insanity is simply defined – doing the same thing and expecting different results. I had been doing that for years. Of course, if I was about to relapse, I would shoot dope on the weekend only. Maybe Wednesdays too. Raised in America, I believe in equality though, and every day deserves their fair <em>shot.</em> Puns, inescapable at times. It’s more than drugs though. It’s the lies, always exposed eventually. The missing money, jewelry, whatever was centered on my addiction and getting <em>more</em>, the same behavior, the same defects of character reared their ugly heads, and I always, no matter the imagined short-lived victories; I eventually lost it all. Every single time, gone, except for my life. I just could never escape the madness or be grateful I had a beating heart and breathing lungs that fed oxygenated blood to a fully functional brain.
Sanity sounds like a great alternative to dying in my father’s arms. Sanity keeps what is important front and center- love. For almost two decades I lived in my self-created insanity. This Power greater than me, I want to learn more, because sanity is also peace. I didn’t make it this far in life by chance, and to possess that faith in my heart is a magnificent gift of grace.
Giving up Gouda is well worth it.