Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Caught bein Stupid

I believe in the right to be stupid. On occaision, I have been known to be very enthusiastic and gifted at exercising that right. But you can only escape the consequences of your actions so many times. Caught twice being stupid at age 28 became a milestone in my digression from the cradle to the grave.

I spent the first 28 years of my life on the move. Born into a military house, we were never anywhere. Always about to move, moving, or just moved. 12 schools before I graduated high school, I grew accustomed to not knowing my classmates. I gave up joining in any meaningful bud type situations. I existed on the periphery, just outside the in crowd.

After college when my fate was my own to determine, I went with what I knew. I traveled. A frantic, manic pinball, I pounded America's great interstate system jockeying tractor trailers. Spending any layovers getting drunk, doing drugs and bedding any woman who'd have me.

One day I woke up in the Boone County Jail. My head hurt. My face hurt. I wanted to puke, but knew I already had and there was nothing but my stomach coming up if I did. I couldn't find my favorite Peter Bilt hat. In the drunk tank crammed with 5 or so like minded souls, I realized I may have just been caught across the line again.

Hazy and befuddled, I did a review of the preceding 12 hours. Yesterday, caught a cab from the Oakland County Jail in Michigan. After 7 days on that holding cell floor I knew I could sleep anywhere. The only semi-permanent resident, I made and lost many friends that week. Some guy puked on me a couple of days ago. I hadn't showered all week. I was ripe. Mr Cab driver, take me away from here. On the way to the Airport, front tire blows. This won't do I say. I have a plane to catch. So he runs her hard til the flat flames up and he has to stop 1/4 mile short of a good time. I run run and catch the door at gate 13 just as it closes. Whew, made it. Sober and very relieved to see Detroit disappear, I naturally take to drink. 4 or 5 cocktails later, we land In Cincinnatti. I apologize to my rowmate for my odor and head to the first bar in the airport. My last memory is raising a shot glass and loudly proclaiming my appreciation of freedom. And then I wake up here. In jail again. Damn. Day 8 and still in jail. Just not the one I started the week in.

I was out of control. My stupid ability to ingest outrageous amounts of inebriating substances had failed me. In the last 8 days, I had finally found my limit and crossed it not just once, but twice. I was in the hoosgow. Two black eyes, a flat nose with only one working nostril, and wishin I was brain dead, I mumbled from beat lips, " Uh where am I and why am I where I am?"

The short story. Too many shots at the airport and 6 state cops carried me to jail. Not happy to be incarcerated again, I take it out on my bunkies. They bounce me around for round 2 and steal my hat. In court by 11:00 AM. Judge takes pity on me after hearing my tale of woe. Fines me $150 and time served. That will be cash, thank you very much.

Revelations happen everywhere it seems. Spontaneous understanding of the big picture can come like a hammer on the heels of being blind drunk. Laying there on the lower bunk looking up at that smelly stained mattress over me, I knew change was upon me. What kind of change would reveal itself in the near future, but for now I knew my life as I knew it was over.
25 years later I sit here and reflect. I bring up the day I realized Life isn't found at the bottom of a Jack Daniels bottle or in a bag of cocaine. But for that brush with the law, it might have been too late.

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