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Better Living through Drug Addiction

November 18, 2016

I’m hopelessly addicted to drugs. You name a pill, syrup, lotion, cream, antacid, vitamin, tranquilizer, hormone, douche or suppository and I’ve not only taken it, but I’ve abused it. Largely because I have an addictive personality. Anything worth taking is worth taking a lot.

In all fairness, I can’t take the blame for my wayward behavior. It began the day I popped out of my mother’s womb when the pediatric nurses started basting me with petroleum jelly and baby lotion like I was a Thanksgiving turkey. In those days, babies were always covered with something. Pediatricians were convinced by the drug companies that it was dangerous for a baby’s skin to come in direct contact with the air or sunlight without a protective layer of gook. Then came the decongestant drops and saline nasal sprays they shot up my nose – which would come in handy years later when I got addicted to cocaine.

Expectant mothers today are lucky if they spend 24 hours in the maternity ward. Doctors almost recommend that new dads just leave the engine running. Thanks to  new insurance guidelines, babies are delivered faster than you can lance a boil. When I was born, new mothers were allowed to wile away a week or more in the hospital after giving birth before they were sent home. That gave newborns plenty of opportunities to get strung out on all sorts of drugs and be exposed to leprosy from the guy down the hall. There wasn’t much to do in the pediatric ward as a child, so I started smoking cigarettes and hanging out with a rough bunch of newborns in “The Cribs.” We were constantly in trouble with the staff for soiling our diapers, spitting up our breakfast and peeing on people whenever they picked us up. By the time I left the hospital, I was hopelessly strung out on the Pedialyte they gave me to counter the dehydration from a week of projectile vomiting and diarrhea. read more

All Entries Family Health Life and Death

Is There an Alcoholic in Your Family?

March 23, 2016

The scene opens with a small, emotional group of family and friends huddling around the struggling alcoholic to perform an intervention – a showdown of sorts – aimed at helping the afflicted change their ways. After an hour, the tears flow, everyone hugs and the alcoholic makes a miraculous recovery. On television, there’s always a happy ending. Ah, if it were only that way in real life.

To the uninitiated, the portrait of the alcoholic or drug addict is unmistakable: the scruffy, unemployed middle-age man sleeping under a bridge with his bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 in a brown, paper sack or the gangly teenager with matted hair, begging for money in front of a crack house.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Addicts tend to be bright, resourceful individuals, often with advanced degrees and positions of power and responsibility, who often come from good homes and families. For some reason – call it fate, if you will – their life took a left turn with the disease of substance abuse. To be sure, medicine now considers addiction a bonafide chronic, medical disease, along with diabetes and cancer. read more

All Entries Home Life Humor


February 11, 2016

Buying a case of beer always seemed to be a problem. Leading the sheltered life of a 16-year-old from the San Fernando Valley, I hadn’t yet heard of heroin, uppers, downers, roofies, opium, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, steroids, crack cocaine, PCP or even pot. I wasn’t even interested in vodka, whiskey or tequila. All I wanted was a case of beer.

The way I usually found it started with putting the word out to all my friends to check with their connections. A couple of days later, I’d discover an anonymous note in the bottom of my school locker from the dealer.

I spent the next three hours following directions that put the Lindbergh kidnapping case to shame. I tossed the beer into the trunk of my car, where it stayed until Friday night, warming up to the temperature of the engine compartment, tasting like a certain kidney byproduct from an equestrian animal. There had to be an easier way to get a cold beer. As it turned out, there was. His name was Stan.

Stan was a huge guy for only being a junior in high school. He was 6 foot 4, weighed 235 and wore size 17 Converse high-tops. Because of his size, he was able to get a job working the counter at his uncle’s liquor store in an affluent part of town. I could buy whatever I wanted from Stan and it was easier than the black market. The down side was that I had to include him in all my activities. But, that turned out to be advantageous. I’d dress Stan in a black suit, tell everyone that he was my bodyguard. read more

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