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Twisting all the bad things into good

Mar 8, 2012


"But when Fate destines one to ruin,
 it begins by blinding the eyes of his understanding."
 James Baillie Fraser,
 Short History of the Hindostan Emperors of the Moghol Race

THURSDAY. 9/10/10

            It was almost 4 o'clock.
            Our group therapy would be starting soon.
            Group was held at the same table where we had just played Pictionary, so Sparky and I just stayed at the table talking. I told him about the porn thing. He told me about how he would walk around a waterpark in West Palm Beach and would eat leftover pieces of fried chicken from other people's lunch.

            Mostly, we talked about crack.
           "You ever smoked crack, James?"
           "Man, I've never even seen crack."
            Sparky loved smoking crack.
            He said that I would love it too.
           "I'm sure I would," I admit. "Probably a good reason not to try it."
           "Ya know, James, when we get out of here, you need to come up to West Palm so we can hang out."
           "Yeah, right. You'll have me smoking crack and eating left over fried chicken."
           "No. We can hang out without getting jimmy."
           "What the hell is "jimmy"?"
           "It's crack."
           "You call crack "jimmy"?"
           "Great. My parents and closest friends call me Jimmy."
           "Your name's not James?"
           "Yeah, my name's James, but I've always introduced myself as Jim, but for some reason my best friends and girlfriends always end up calling me Jimmy. I kind of take it as a term of endearment. I don't know, to me, Jimmy sounds like a little kid's name."
           "So, should I call you Jim?"
           "Call me whatever you want."
           "I like "Jimmy"."
           "I know you like jimmy. But Jimmy's fine. We're friends."
           "So then we should hang out. We'll go get some drinks. I won't try to get Jimmy to smoke jimmy."
            I laugh. "Yeah. You say that now."

            Our crack conversation stops when a pretty Hispanic woman approaches the table. After she walks by, me and Sparky look at each other and grin.
            She puts her clipboard down at the head of the table. She turns to the white board and picks up the eraser. As she's about to erase the green image left over from the last round of our movie Pictionary game, she pauses when she realizes what it is. It's basically a stick figure with a huge dick that Loretta drew. The movie was Boogie Nights. Sparky and I laugh.
            I say,"We were playing..."
           "I don't wanna know", she interrupts, then erases.
            Dirk Diggler will not be sitting in on group today.

            The white board has "Maria" written across it.
            After the entire group is at the table, Maria introduces herself. She also works at the hospital.
            Today, we are talking about our addictions. She said that her addiction was food. You would never know by looking at her body. She used to eat to not only fill her belly, but also the void that she felt inside.
            Sparky speaks up. "Hard to believe that you had an eating disorder. You're hot."
           "Thanks. What's your name?"
           "I'm Brian. We should hang out some time. You ever smoke crack?"
            Me and Mikale look at each other across the table and try not to laugh. 
           "No, Brian. I've never smoked crack, and I never would."
           "Aw, you'd love it", he tells her.
           "What is it that you love about smoking crack?"
           "Crack saved my life."
            Maria can't believe what she's hearing. Neither can I.
           "How did crack save your life?", she wants to know. So do I.
           "It got me to quit drinking."
            Sparky's awesome.
            He tries to explain to her how just because he smokes crack, that doesn't mean he's not maintaining a good lifestyle.
           "My life's good", he says. He's being completely serious. "I got my own tent, I own it." He says it like he's paid off his mortgage. "Technically, I'm squatting on the land where I'm staying, but we don't need to get into that."
            This reminds me of a river that starts in the Sudan.
            Maria asks if anyone is there involuntarily. I'm the only one with their hand raised.
            I give her a Cliff's Notes version of my story.
            She asks me what I am going to do when I get released on Monday.
           "Well, the first thing I have to do is deal with a bunch of ants that have probably taken over my room by now." That's when I realize something. "Actually, I don't think there were any ants. Wow. Now that I think about it, I think that was my first hallucination. Thank God I don't have to deal with that. I guess the first thing I have to do is my laundry. Then I have to start packing up my apartment for my move."
           "Do you think it will be a struggle to stay clean?", she asks.
           "Honestly, not really. The last year or so, I've just been eating pills mostly to try to keep myself from getting sick. Yesterday was the first time in years that I felt fine physically without the painkillers. Once I got some sleep and stopped trembling from the xanax, I was all good. As soon as I decided to move back with my family, I was able to let go of all the things that had been stressing me out. I'm actually feeling surprisingly good."

           I'm thinking that I'm the only one at the table who feels this way.
           I'm also thinking of a river that ends in Egypt.


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