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Twisting all the bad things into good

Feb 19, 2012

CHAPTER 8: THE PATRON SAINT OF . . . WHATEVER. Shapeshifting

             "But I don't close the door on that dark past or ignore it,
             because there is that beast there in me. 
             And I got to keep him caged or he'll eat me alive"
                Johnny Cash


THURSDAY

              
               All eyes are on The Wolfman.
               He just woke up in his torn clothes.
               He is a man again.
               It won't last.
               I already know how it's going to end.
               I suffered through it the first time.
               Hours. Wasted. Can't. Get. Back.
               Even if you don't know the whole story, I'm still going to ruin it.
               Consider this a spoiler alert.
               It's not going to have a happy ending.

           
              With nothing to write about when I get out of here, there is little comfort to be found in my situation. I grasp for any thought that even resembles a word I used to know as hope. I'm bored out of my mind so I consider doing something that may totally back fire. What do I have to lose? I've been involuntarily put in a place for crazy crackhead types. Yeah, I'm gonna do it. This is definitely the best time and place to count my many blessings. This won't require a writing utensil. Removing my "Have a nice day" slippers will not be necessary. The fingers on my left hand should be more than enough to help me keep count of all the good things that I have going for me. Let's see if I can even get beyond my opposable thumb.

             At least I have my health.
             Thumbs down. This blessing counting bullshit was another in a long life of bad ideas. Physically, I'm in terrible shape. If I thought the number of pushups I could do would outnumber my blessings, I'd ask for a sports bra to wear while I struggled through each one. As far as my mental health is concerned, well,  I'm in a goddamn fucking mental health facility. Maybe there is a dual diagnosis for someone who is both physically and mentally unhealthy. I'm off to a great start.

             My fingers are still clenched in a closed fist.

             What's another way that my life is awesome?
             At least I'm not in jail.
             5 days in South County Mental Health has got to be better than 5 days in Palm Beach County Jail. I've only been here a few minutes, but when I look around at the other guests, I don't feel the need to prepare myself to punch the first person who approaches me in the throat.
             As far as counting with fingers goes, I'm still on my hitchhiker, which is appropriate since I just want someone to get me the hell out of here.

             At least I'm not insane.
             At least not insane in a schizophrenic kind of way, like I was afraid the doctor was going to tell me. He could have provided a worse diagnosis than he gave me.
             What's else do I have going for me?             
             At least I'm not dead.
             Wow. I am truly blessed. I'm not in prison, I'm not a schizophrenic, and I'm not dead. Maybe I can use that as a title on a dating profile. Now that my fuck off finger is extended, I should really just put the first two down.

             The more I consider this minor blessing of being alive, I realize that it is a blessing. It's the first time in a long time that I am glad to be alive. I'm glad that I never fell asleep one night not to wake up in the morning. Dying in your sleep is almost impossible when you never sleep. Despite this minor detail, today I can honestly say that I don't wish that I had never been born. But, who knows how I will feel when I get released on Monday.
            Monday worries me.
            I have to admit that I am scared of what will happen.
            They'll be waiting for me.
            On Monday, all those things that put me here will drop the hammer as soon as I'm released. There is no defending myself from such an onslaught. I'm too weak. I'm no match for this wicked world that I have created.
            A lost sheep amongst werewolves under a full moon.
            No shepherd packing silver bullets.
            It's going to be a slaughter.
 
            Maybe I shouldn't hope to get released on Monday. At least here, I know I'm going to get fed 3 times a day. Even if they have to drug my ass, at least I know I will be able to sleep. Depending on the drugs I'm administered, it may not be so bad. Insanity could be better. Madness could be an excuse and an answer. The crazier they think I am, the less I have to worry about things like not having anything to eat, not being able to sleep, not having a driver's license so I can drive to a bunch of shitty job interviews, not having a shitty job so I can purchase luxury goods like food and water that does not come from a tap. It would be nice to have a few extra bucks left over after my shopping spree at Everything's A Dollar so that I can cross out "shelter" on my short list of basic necessities of survival. High ticket items like cable, electricity, and Arizona Iced Tea will be afterthoughts if I don't even have a tap to drink water from or a kitchen where I can keep frozen and nuke my beef burrito that comes from a plastic package simply labeled "Beef Burrito". Its a good thing I live on the intracoastal. I'll only have a few hundred yards to push my shopping cart full of unread books, Unlucky Jeans, and unworn shoes because I'll be living on the beach. Like, literally. As impressive as "living on the beach" may sound to the ladies, my lack of hygiene would negate the possibility of even getting passed my best opening line, "Hey, lady, you gonna finish that?" which is usually immediately followed by my closing line,"Hey, fuck you, lady, you're on my beach!"
             After she immediately packs up her grandchildren's beach blankets and buckets, I'll still be sitting there, on my  beach, eating the leftover crust of her  sandwich, and smoking crack with her  empty can of Coke Zero. For a few minutes, I'll sit there, cracked out, waiting for the sun to set off the east coast of Florida, just like it never does at this same time every day. Maybe somewhere between my dual diagnoses, I'll have a moment of unwanted clarity. Maybe I'll realize that somewhere, the sun does set in the west. That exotic place could be right behind me, but I wouldn't know. I never look back. Whenever I'm plagued by a disturbing moment of clarity such as this, I'll do my own little daily affirmation. "Life's a beach" is what I will tell myself, and then, no matter what, I will make myself start laughing. Some days, I may even have to say my daily affirmation more than once. Eventually, the day will come when I try to say my hourly affirmation, but the wrong words will roll off of my tongue. "Life's a bitch" is what I will tell myself, and then, no matter what, I won't be able to make myself stop crying.
         

            Back to the movie.
            Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. There is nothing I can do to change it while I'm in here. I decide to try to get into the movie instead of messing with my mind.
             That's when I remember that I never called my dad back after I saw the doctor.
             I walk over to a tech and ask him if I can make a phone call. He tells me I can use the phone on the wall by the table. I pick up the phone and sit in the seat underneath it.
             "Dad. Hey, it's me. I saw the doctor and they got me admitted".
             He asks me what the doctor told me. I can tell that he is worried about what my answer may be.
             "He said that the detox, the depression, and the stress obviously didn't help things, but he said the hallucinating was most likely from just going so long without sleeping".
             He double checks with me to make sure that it was not something that would happen again. I can hear in his voice that he is relieved that the doctor didn't tell me something much worse.
             "No," I tell him."All those things combined to cause the insomnia, but besides that, he said he didn't think anything was wrong with me."
            I don't think either of us totally buy the fact that there's nothing wrong with me, but we both pretend the psychiatrist knew what he was talking about.

            "Listen, Jimmy." he says. "You're a grown man, and you can do what you want, but ever since Michelle left and Mitch died, you've been depressed and all by yourself. I really don't think there's anything there for you anymore. I can't tell you what to do, it's your life, but your mom and I think you should move back here. We need to start putting this family back together again."
             Usually in life, it's only in retrospect when we realize a decision we made changed the course of our lives. I knew right then that whatever decision I made was going to change everything. I think of how after twenty two years, everything and everyone I know is here. Considering this, it should have been a difficult decision to make. It wasn't. It was still difficult to say it though.
             I took a deep breath before I surrendered.
             "I think you're right". I look around the room. "Yeah, I'm done. It's over."
             That was the part in the parable when the prodigal son decides it's time to go home.



            The movie continues.
            Not all movies can be classics like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
            This movie does not star Jack Nicholson.
            It is a new version with a new actor.
            With the weight of the world off of my shoulders, I decide to let myself enjoy it this time. Maybe my expectations were just too unrealistic. After a few minutes, I realize that even if it's not a great movie, there are still some good parts. Those are the parts I'm going to focus on this time.

             As great an actor that Nicholson is, his 1994 version of the wolfman story sucked. This is the recently released 2010 version with Benicio Del Toro as an actor who turns into a werewolf and Anthony Hopkins, excuse me, Sir Anthony Hopkins as his father. This was just at the theater. I know this is a bootleg version, but you would never know by the quality.
             In this version, the wolfman leaves his theater tour to return to his family's estate and has an uneasy reunion with his estranged father. I can't help but think about how there is no resemblance between the father and the son in question. It doesn't matter because they are both great in their own way. The uneasiness is a result of the father having his son put in an insane asylum for suffering delusions about his parents. After a few weeks, the son had completely recovered.
              That's the backstory. What I'm seeing now is the son back in the same asylum. He is enduring ice-water and electrotherapy treatments. A sadistic doctor tells him that people have witnessed him change into a monster. The doctor says that the first step in his recovery is admitting his delusions.
              As I watch this cruel treatment, I wonder who the genius was that thought this was a good movie to show to people in a mental facility. I don't know, maybe I'm crazy, but if I am, that just proves my point even more. Maybe it's a way of the techs saying, "You see this? Things could be worse, so keep your mouths shut or we'll take you to the torture room." If that was their intention, it seems to be working.
              Unfortunately, keeping my mouth shut is going to take a lot more medication, if not a lobotomy. Even though the shrink didn't say I was bipolar, now that I know I won't be living on the beach anytime soon, I'm feeling a bit manic. All the depression and all of the physical uneasiness of withdrawal is finally gone. It's the first time I've felt "normal" in a long time. I'm happy to not be in jail. I'm happy to be alive. I'm so happy to know that I am not insane that I want to jump out of my chair and moonwalk across the room while singing Smooth Criminal, even though I don't know if MJ's asking Annie or Eddy if they're okay. Come to think of it, I don't know any of the lyrics besides something about some bloodstains on the carpet. Maybe I should choose a song with easier lyrics, like"It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)". That won't seem too psychotic.

             I decide to try to hide my mania by settling to get a laugh out of one of the techs to show him I'm not sick like the rest of these sickos. It's a good way to introduce myself to Herb. He is standing a few feet away from me writing something on his clipboard. On the tv, the wolfman has totally lost his shit. He's running around and jumping from roof to roof while occasionally stopping to howl at the moon.
             "That was me last weekend," I announce to Herb.
             By the time he stops writing and looks up at the movie, the wolfman is ripping the internal organs out of some unlucky villager's torso.
            Herb gives me a confused look and asks."What? Like tearing guts up and stuff?"
            "No," I say." Just like...running around, being all crazy...and stuff."
            Herb begins writing some new notes on his clipboard.
    
            I decide it's best that I shut up and not try to be funny just so I can keep myself entertained. I don't say anything for the rest of the movie. When it's over, a tech throws in a bootleg dvd of Salt. I just saw this one too. After months of insomnia, I decide a nap would not be a bad idea. It's the only way I'm going to keep my mouth shut. After months of not being able to sleep in my own bed, I close my eyes and fade out in my chair.

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