Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Survival / Addiction /
@ K. 1998 07 19
|who’s come||with difficulty||to love sobriety.|
2011 12 13 My girl had a prescription for some pills to relax her, tranquilizers of some sort. She got a bottle with 90 pills. Months later as she prepared to board a plane for Canada she glanced in the bottle expecting 90 pills and counted only seven! Her house isn’t Grand Central Station but obviously some kind of germs or thieves or leaks are present in her security. She took the bottle with her to NY for Thanksgiving as well, supposedly with the same 7 pills: and when she went to take one for the return flight, there were zero!
So: somebody stole the bulk of them, and then somebody, possibly the same somebody, stole the rest.
Jan gave me a short list of who it could be. She named herself and me as not a suspect. Then her daughter as not a suspect. That left only her son and her son’s girlfriend as suspects, and she didn’t suspect her son.
So: we reflected on additional reasons to suspect the son’s girlfriend: L. We listed a series of behaviors that could indicate drug craving and a spine less than rigid with righteousness.
I advised Jan that her reasoning wasn’t foolproof, but that she was obligated at the very least to warn the son. You don’t have to prove that the house is burning to alert people to fire: warn them, and let the facts sort themselves out. I pointed out that anyone who would steal every last pill had to be insane, had to be begging to get caught. The theft was a cry for help; now dammit, help.
Last night my girl was much relieved as she told me that she had in fact told her son the story. He hadn’t cursed her out as an old fool. Today she gets a call from the son’s girlfriend! The girlfriend, L, was appaulled at the story, swears she didn’t see any pills let alone borrow any. She believes her. I concur.
So now my dear racks her brains and thinks of another candidate: the cleaning lady.
I like L; I’ve never met the cleaning lady.
I hope it wasn’t L. I hope Jan isn’t just all loose marbles these days. I’m ready to hear the cleaning lady denounced on a series of counts: one, I’ve never met her. Why? Jan sweeps me from the grounds before her fundamentalist Christian broom wielder shows up to preach sin at her.
|The junky thief preaching condescendingly to Jan reminds me of me preaching condescendingly to the jailers in jail: with an important difference: I really am the saint, they really are the evil ones.
In the cleaning lady’s case, she’s the junky, the thief, the liar, the hypocrite … Her employer, the darling, is her victim.
Yet the hypocrite cowed the normal Christian!
The thief is gone now, thank goodness.
We never know the truth with most things. I’ve lived with that for a long time.
It’s much more interesting to live not knowing
than to have answers which might be wrong.
I work at knowing the truth, I’ve endured jail, “tarring and feathering” with everything but the tar and feathers, for over seventy-years; I still work at knowing the truth, and speak it as I see it. If God wants to stand up for truth tellers, well, he ought to get busy. But it’s my business to tell the truth with or without God.
My point here isn’t who did it, or to ask if anything got done after all: crazy lady could have taken those pills herself, lost them, thrown them away, spilled them and forgot …
Point is: the world is full of druggies,
Everything is locked,
twice, yet wide-open half the time.
|2013 04 15 Just last night I was telling Jan Feynman stories: the Pentagon spending millions for state of the art safes, then not installing them safely! Feynman walked around the Pentagon opening safes, sometimes within seconds of tying, and leaving Kilroy was here notes. Then, when the sectretaries saw Feynman coming, they’d close the door: the office door! not the safe door! So the critic couldn’t see their dirty underwear.
Tie in: Yesterday the Boston Marathon got bombed.
“We still don’t know who did this or why,” Obama said Monday night. “People should not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this. We will find out why they did this. Any individual or responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”
Obama, our president, represents our illusion that we can “know” things, gather “facts,” be right …
Uh, somebody hasn’t been paying attention!
We all hear stories of celebrities giving parties where drugs accompany drunkenness. Does Elizabeth Taylor’s staff frisk Michael Jackson’s doctor and staff before they leave the premises. Queen Elizabeth I shoplifted from her hosts. If somebody can get the cocaine into Hollywood somebody can get the diamond earrings out of Hollywood. (And I don’t see how Liz “owns” the diamonds much more legitimately than MJax’s drug pushers.)
But I love the idea of the fundamentalist cleaning lady as a junky stealing from the employer she morally browbeats. It’s like how the Americans insulted the “savages” they were murdering.
At the same time, I envisioned my girlfriend as a custom fit: however much I love her.
|Personal confessions mixed among general metaphors about society in the original version of this module. Over the years I’m still gathering scraps. I’ll gather first, dedup later.|
I started smoking because of Bette Davis. By eighteen I was smoking like a chimney. Smoke is all there’s been in my life.
All About My Mother
2001 05 01 The following comes from two related files. The more recent note, occurring in my section on my Shakespeare thesis, I duplicate immediately below. I see it as part of the foundation.
If you start smoking at age 18, it will be hard to give it up at age 20. But not nearly as hard as it will be after you’ve smoked three packs a day for forty-five years and the cancer, emphysema, whatever, is already advanced.
Alchies and hard-druggies talk about hitting “rock bottom.” Many addicts can’t get serious about reform until they’ve hit rock bottom. Should a twenty-year-old therefore wait till he hits rock bottom before taking reform seriously? What’s the rate of reform for rock-bottom reformees? What’s their mortality rate?
Any man can give up drinking. I’ve done it thousands of times.
Fields, Graucho … Pryor, Cleese … Twain: how did we get so many great comedians?
We should have statistically derived probabilities on these matters for the various addictions. Maybe some university department or government agency already has a start on such figures. (Of course we always have to remember map/territory and other epistemological problems in statistics: do we really know how many teen suicides there are: crooked cops, drunken senators who’ve killed whores by drowning, in car wrecks, etc.?) But what government agency would admit its own existence to be a symptom of an addiction far more dangerous than substance abuse?
Civilization stole the commons, impoverished the biosphere. Anyone can see that it can’t go on, the species supposedly served thereby too will die. But when do we decide to bite the bullet, reduce our numbers, forget about wealth and power, and live like sane creatures in the actual biosphere? We could at least have another actual habitat to jump to before destroying this one. How long would it take for us to destroy the next habitat?
Some recover from rock bottom cocaine addiction. But we have no figures on sapient species recovering from infantile civilization. I wouldn’t give us very good odds. Which is why we should bite the bullet long before rock bottom hits us.
Gregory Bateson teaches how a frog thrown into hot water will jump out. But if you slowly heat the water the frog is already sitting in, he’ll boil to death without jumping. Action requires a trigger, information, a noticeable difference: hot water, not water one degree warmer, then another degree warmer … note
What does this have to do with Oxymoron in Shakespeare’s sonnets?
Well, my thesis, honestly processed by a viable university and a fair-minded and not too stupid doctoral committee, should have awakened us to medieval Scholastic tendencies (false authority, fake ‘Real’ity) alive and “well” in all our most important modern institutions, from governments to universities. First with my thesis, then with FLEX, I tried to be a trigger. (Of course my fiction is also intended to be a trigger, but on a far more basic, non-political, only quasi-rational level.)
Even were that not true, it wouldn’t matter. This is a note. About addiction. About this site. About us. Our world. And the limits of reality.
The earlier note, unaccountably orphaned from its original parent (my orals), follows below. It I see as part of the superstructure.
Are Addictions Enjoyable?
my own experience
Please realize that however much my biographical narrative style and my module style are both me,
the following was written in the former.
People who smoke say they enjoy it. The tobacco companies deliberately appeal in their ads to the idea of enjoyment. Ditto drinking and the distilleries; “controlled substances” (wow, is that ever a misnomer) and their pushers; etc. Listen to a veteran smoker coughing his lungs out: is he enjoying his habit? He may even still say he is. I’ve known some who resent out loud the doctor’s insistence that the cough is related to their smoking. No: I smoke; and I have a cough.
Ditto drinkers. Etc.
I’ll bet you could find slaves who say with sincerity that they enjoy their slavery. Battered women, etc. School children who like school. The point I’m getting to spreads.
I smoked cigarettes till I was twenty-one, having started experimenting when I was about eight. I said I enjoyed it. I believed it. Of course I had coughed my head off and gotten instantly dizzy the first time any of it had gotten near my windpipe and lungs. I drank too. I and my friends in high school devoted ourselves to abuse of alcohol starting at age fifteen. We were pretty well accomplished by age sixteen and had all mixed whiskey or gin with our consumption of beer by age seventeen. Not a drink before dinner. No. To get drunk. Very drunk. As drunk as we could get. I continued that practice till I was forty or forty-one.
I’m still addicted to nicotine. I have a wad of tobacco wedged up against my gum as I write this. Do I enjoy it? It doesn’t matter what I answer. I’m addicted to it. Don’t trust the answer of an addict concerning his addiction. [2013 08 27 Thank goodness that ceased being true in 2006. I’m tobacco free today, very damn healthy for my age.]
But I do believe I have a perspective, one perhaps not commonly shared. You see, I have good practice at giving up my addictions. I ran the mile in high school. Each Lent I would quit the coffin nails. For forty days. Get my wind back. Run. Then, after my first race after Easter, I’d celebrate with a cigarette. It didn’t matter whether I’d come in third (my usual finish: “place” was all I tried for), fourth, or last (I don’t think that ever happened). It wasn’t victory I was celebrating: I believed that once I had my wind, I could keep it … at least until the end of the track season. I used the same discipline to stop drinking for this or that occasion in adulthood: always temporarily.
Losing weight is between the ears. Make up your mind, it’s easy.
But when I was twenty-one I had some kind of a low grade fever. I didn’t sleep right. It was affecting my vision. My mother took me to the doctor. “Would it help if I quit smoking till it’s over?” I asked. He ignored me. I forced his attention. He hadn’t heard me. When I repeated the question, he dismissed it: “Oh, you couldn’t do that.”
“Watch me,” I said.
“Aren’t you going to ask me about the smoking.” It was the following week and I had again to force the issue. He had been merely finding me much improved. That night after dinner my mother offered me a cigarette. I don’t suppose she’d noticed either. “Sure.” She tapped one of her damn filtered L&Ms up from the pack and held it toward me. I’d thrown my Palmalls away. (That’s one of my secrets in conquering addiction.) Luckies, Camels, Palmalls: I hated filters.
I take my first inhale in a week plus a few hours. … Bleech! Ugh. It was awful! And I’ve never smoked a cigarette nor deliberately inhaled any kind of smoke since.
You know you don’t like it the first time. Plenty of junkies get very sick at their first fix. You have to work at becoming stupid. I decided I wasn’t going to be stupid twice. Though actually, I’d already been stupid, just with cigarettes, several times since I’d already given it up on at least four prior occasions.
Now: did I like it? Obviously not. Had I liked it the week before? I’d thought I’d liked it.
One time in my late thirties I’d wanted a clear head for some business occasion. I’d quit the booze for eight days. One of the Art Expos took place in DC within that time. God, it make me uncomfortable. Nearly every one of my colleagues stank of wine from late morning on. They thought they were being so smart, making such clever deals … But for those few days I was seeing them naked, super-sensitive to the alcohol reeking from their lungs and skin, to the blear in their eyes, to their faulty judgments … I wouldn’t notice the whole diapason now: the super-sensitivity is temporary. Non-drinkers may never have noticed. It’s just the way those people were all the time. (What would I have thought if I’d have walked into Congress during that period?)
|One’s just right.
Two is too many.
Three is not enough.
(Said about martinis for one thing.)
Did you hear the one about the secret drinker?
He’d refuse the drinks at a party; but he was forever slipping behind the drapes to tipple from his flask. His family, his friends, his business colleagues … no one ever knew:
Until one day they saw him sober!
Is it valid, at least in this case, to generalize from my experience? I’m also generalizing from my observations:
Be skeptical (rationally skeptical) of any testimony from an addict regarding his addiction.
2005 09 02 I’m moving a pair of personal narratives that had followed here to my pk Stupid Stories section. Bear with me as the file gets ravaged.
2005 07 23 People haven’t traditionally thought of athletics as addictive, but high-level physical activity IS addictive: and it’s chemical. Sustained activity triggers the release of natural anodynes in the body.
The soldier who’s just squat-walked a half a mile before being shot will for a time be in much less pain than the soldier huddled in a fox hole when he gets shot. The activity masks pain, makes trauma acceptable.
The winner of one iron man competition in Hawaii told a reporter of once sneaking out of the hospital, where he was supposed to stay in bed, to sneak in some secret runs. Health care professionals should be aware of sports junkies before they lightly prescribe rest. The sports junkies need more than advice.
I’ve never been very good at any sports at any high level of competition, but since my twenties I’ve loved to go at some sport full tilt for hours and hours if not all day. My tennis sucks. I have (or at least had) good ground strokes from the baseline: that’s ALL I had, any all-round player could beat me 6-1 no matter how poor their ground strokes were compared to mine: because I had no serve, no lob, no volley … no court strategy. But once on, you couldn’t get me off the court. And if I was the first in line when the ski lifts opened, I’d not only skip lunch, take the shortest breaks, and still be trying to sneak in an extra run before the lifts closed for the day.
It may have been basic training for the army that started me. After basic we got a twenty day leave. In the first week of mine I took Hilary to see seventeen movies and plays! I was culturally starved. But mid-movie I’d have to get up and go do some pushups in the back of the theater. I couldn’t sit still.
Neither do I doubt that I needed a hit of that natural drug. It was years before I began to understand what was probably happening to my chemistry.
2005 06 02 Above I recommended against believing anything an addict says; I add:
Don’t believe anything an addict says about his addiction: not if the addict is addicted to heroin, not if it’s only nicotine or chocolate. I further believe that we shouldn’t believe anything said by anyone addicted to going on breathing in a kleptocracy.
Have you ever gotten drunk and then come to with a woman in your bed and you have no idea how she got there? never seen her before? How many times?
Actually I can only remember one time. At least she was gook looking. Kept her around for another couple of days.
Have you slept with Odette?
Not that I know of.
Swann & the Baron, Swann in Love
2006 06 01 Kicking the chaw again, cold turkey, as of this date.
2006 08 09 So far, so good. I think to mention this after two months and a week because I got a kick in the ribs from my addiction this morning. It won’t be the last, but the frequency of such kicks is greatly diminished. The day they’re almost continuous, a few fewer the second day, the third is noticeably calmer.
2013 08 26 Chee, was that only seven years ago? the year I got arrested! seems like forever. That is, the arrest seems recent, the freedom from addiction like forever.
In the past I’ve re-succumbed after months, or a year.
The older one gets the more one feels the damage. One takes the first jolt of the day, one feels the heart reel, blood may drain from the brain, one looses strength, one may faint.
Sometimes one responds to an absence of nicotine with marathon sleeps. I sure did this time. Right now, two months and a week into this abstinence, I’m utterly unable to control my sleep. I sleep ten hours, I sleep two hours … and am ready to pass out again six hours later. But it’s passing out from sobriety, not from indulgence. Sobriety is still good. Though it does have a down-side here and there.
I speak as I so often do from experience. In high school I was a member in good standing of what we regarded as the principle WASP clique. I attended every beer party, got as drunk or drunker than anyone, etc. But as we turned sixteen, then seventeen … I was steadily losing my standing. When the group wanted to raid Lido Beach to steal the fancy signs the new beach clubs had just erected, I spoke out against theft. I left as the party seemed to be breaking up. Next beer party, there were the signs decorating the basement den. They’d just waited till they were rid of me and went on with their raid.
One time the guy who had recently been my best friend suggested that we pile into a couple of cars, drive over to Hempstead’s ghetto, find a lone black, and jump him. I spoke up for tolerance. Next day in school our fearless leader sported a few Band-Aids. Turned out they’d had their attack without me. The victim I eventually learned had been a skinny kid, not three-quarters the weight of any one of us. The leader’s wounds? Non-existent. Or self-inflicted. The only one who got hurt was the kid. But how can you be a hero without wounds to show? I’ll bet more than one Purple Heart has been given to a soldier who hid in the woods when things seemed about to get hot, hit himself with a rock or jabbed himself with his bayonet, then came limping back to camp.
Eventually, I was missing more and more parties. By the time we were nineteen or twenty and had been in college a couple of years, I was pointedly not invited. I decline to believe that the reason once screamed in my face was in fact the principle one: “You love jazz too damn much!” Note please the implicit racism. But that’s our culture. Note further that though I am of it, I don’t belong to it. (All that will be spelled out further in my personal stories once I get to reviving them too.)
(God! A month or two after writing this, forty-five years or so after it happened, I get it for the first time. My friends weren’t stealing the signs from the Lido Beach cabana clubs! It wasn’t theft! How could it be theft? The cabanas were owned by Jews!)
Christians offer unverifiable miracles as “proof” that Jesus was God, God’s son, a member of the Trinity. Even if the miracles could be proved, that still wouldn’t prove the rest of the proof unless you could also prove that only God or his son could perform miracles. Even if you could prove that, it still wouldn’t prove that God couldn’t fake a miracle as well as perform one. Magicians have more than one way to do a trick. Some are slight of hand (genuine fake); some are gimmicked (doubly fake). How do the faithful know that even Creation wasn’t faked? Oh, a human couldn’t tell: either way; but perhaps one of those other gods God referred to in “Let us …” could tell. What if among those gods one were a Houdini, an Amazing Randi, an exposer?
Do you follow this? Even if Creation were faked, even if the Realists were right, if everything we think of as non-divine existence were Maya, illusion, not real … that still wouldn’t prove that God wasn’t God. Catching a physicist with faked data wouldn’t prove that all his data had always been fake.
Finding myself iterating points like the above in multiple files I’ve added a note [Link to be restored] on the subject as its own file.
PS The top graphic used in the original of this post showed a Harry McCormick image of a girl at a Charlie’s Bar in NY. I represented Harry’s images at the time, had sold them for decades; but he screwed me (inexplicably he felt screwed by me!), and I don’t promote him any more. So I switched in a Bert Stern.
The last time I saw Bert Stern I was driving the PKFineArtsMobile down a NY Avenue and spotted him dimly scanning for a cab, looking rumpled and used up, as usual. (I’d heard that Bert Stern was a regular client of the notorious Dr. Feelgood: I don’t know whether those substances dispensed by that MD were legal or proscribed.) I cranked the window: “I’m going downtown. You need a ride?” Bert climbed up into the VW bus without a word. Neither of us said a thing till he told me where he wanted to get out. (Would you believe I’ve had parallel acceptances from beautiful women I’d never seen before? when they looked like they couldn’t find a cab?)
The last Marilyn Monroe images I’d dealt with hadn’t been his: I’d put a Milton Greene serigraph in the window of the gallery I ran on Madison. Another famous Marilyn associate stopped to gaze at it, and I was able to wink at him through the window: John Houston!
I wish had had a photo of how Houston looked, smiling, reminiscing, as he looked at the black and white of Marilyn in mesh stockings!
Marilyn Monroe by Milton Greene
Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern
PS When I was in the seventh or eighth grade some kid gave me a magazine clipping of a nude blond, elbow up, her stretched boob the focus. It turned out to be that very famous cheesecake of the young Marilyn used on a calendar. Truth is, I appreciated the bare boob, but cared nothing for the blond: then or now. Uh, not quite: now I very much appreciate how she was used: Houston, Stern, Greene …
These days I dance at an American Legion that has Marilyn with her dress blown over her head, Seven Year Itch shoot, in the mens room. Every time I take a piss I’m reminded of how cold the bleached look leaves me. Sure I look at the female, but then I mainly see the bleach: the symbolism. K. commented on the symbols; when I revive it here I’ll link. Meantime, get it from Leslie Fiedler’s great Love & Death book.
When I was a kid I was solidly in the center of the culture in being fascinated by alcohol, by tobacco … Age eight I have cookie tins filled with tobacco products buried like treasure in vacant lots: Bull Durham, rolling machines, Apple plugs … pipes … I caused a stir at a party my parents were giving when age three or so I gulped down my father’s old fashioned. By age fifteen all of my friends were dedicating ourselves to drinking too much. We already smoked too much.
When I was a kid I loved the movie The Thin Man! William Powell, Myrna Loy, 1934. I loved anything from that series when they were shown on TV in the ’50s, when I was a teen. And I loved Casablanca: all Bogy. Last week I watched Mitchum’s Out of the Past: smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke. It was like the Mad satire of Dragnet where the two clown detectives perch on a mountain of cigarettes. “I’m eating my cigarettes,” says the fat one. I read Roger Ebert on talking with Mitch about the significance of some exchange regarding cigarettes. “There was no significance,” Mitchum scoffed. “We just smoked a lot.” (Something like that, the actual quote is at Ebert’s, online.)
Last night I tried The Thin Man again. I couldn’t stand it! Powell and Loy acted as thought they were at the top of their urbane wit, if slightly tipsy. They way they guzzled the booze they should have been puking drunk horizontal unconscious.
I couldn’t stand it. I paused the DVD, I loaded the novel up in the Kindle. I read the novel while allowing snipetts of the movie, back and forth, like carrying the libretto to the opera. I couldn’t stand it!
The intro touted how humorous it was, both movie and novel. I once would have agreed: but every joke has to do with booze, money, or questionable fidelity: mostly booze.
Well, I revere Hammett anyway.
(Goddam drunks! I can just see Hammett and Faulkner hung-over through Hollywood.)
I watched thru the end. Of course I love it too. But there’s another type of addiction in evidence in this movie to a frightening extent: hard edge class distintions. There’s violence through out the movie, and threats of violence. Nick Charles, of the cocktail class, and his wife, Nora, with the money, also of the cocktail class, are both of the money class: it’s in her name, it’s in his control. They sip martinis through the plot as though they were bullet proof. Actually Nick does catch a scratch from a bullet, but it doesn’t disturb his tipsy dancer’s balance. The cops clumsily try to bring pressure on Nick, he gracefully, tipsy or not, sidesteps it, absorbs their brute energy, and steers them elsewhere. The money is top dog, the cops are the money’s guard dog. Then there’s the underclass, also drunkards, but on raw whiskey. The cops are finessed by Nick; the mugs, the whiskey drinkers get threatened by the cops with cranial injury, from sap, or night stick: and no one minds!!!
Well, the cops still beat up on whoever can’t pull social rank on them, look at Rodney King, look at me, but they don’t threaten outloud in the hearing of the cocktail drinkers. Now there’s a new layer of hypocrisy. Gotta run, I’ll be back to this important not yet fully baked point.
Some incidents among my own addictions I narrate among my Stupid Stories, a subsection of Stories by Theme.
Informational Triggers: Frog Boil:
There are a half-dozen repetitions of this point at Knatz.com. The ever-alert billy mac shared a link to a supposed “refutation”.
2013 04 15 Back in the 1950s a classmate I admired praised Malcolm Lowry‘s Under the Volcano. Sam. Sam Rifler. I started reading it, oh say by 1960. We’re introduced to a drunk, one of zillions of gringo drunks drinking themselves to death in Mexico. I already drank too much. I was already too self-indulgent on the subject. I couldn’t stand what struck me as self-indulgence in the writing. Hemingway, Faulkner: I was up to here with drunk writers. So, decades pass, a half century passes. I still haven’t finished Under the Volcano. I order it from Blockbuster, missed the movie in 1984, missed it since. Jan and I cuddle in front of the Mac. No subtitles, I don’t know what they’re saying. The fact that it seems to be in my beloved Cuernavaca is irrelevant. Even it being by the great John Houston doesn’t wow me this time. The guy’s drunk, he’s deliberately drunk, or, he’s helplessly drunk, helpless with regard to deliberation. I have no sympathy. Jacqueline Bisset looks great, shows a good rack of boobs in almost all shots. Still. I seem to be allergic to this novel, to this story, to this author: who drank himself to death, the moron.
My monitor is too dark, I give up on knowing how to tune this every-changing technologies as I lose my hearing, my eyesight, sabotaged from being able to support my work for God, for Jesus. And the morons around me think they’re getting away with it! Don’t see God as noticing, think he’s the same idiot Adam hid from.