From across the restaurant, “I hear Jerry Blackstock was arrested for sodomy!”
“You got me pregnant ya bastard, I had to have an abortion because of your herpes!” I yelled back
Lunch with a poet…
Murdock Burnett and I met at poor kids summer camp, we were age 6. His Dad was a drunk and his Mom a codependent abandoning her 11 or so kids for a life in AA. The kids were entirely fucked by their parents narcissism. Murd’s oldest brother became my dearest friend, we had keys to each others homes, shared a place a few times, consoled each other through the repeated loss of our mothers that we kept finding for girlfriends. Addicted to the sun (kids of alcoholics are always cold) and cigarettes, 2 packs a day of comfort for anxiety, he died of skin cancer, living in my camper, my guest room, till he moved to the hospice where he lived without skin, on morphine for months.
Murdock and I shared the Edinburgh abandoned street kid sense of outrageous sexual imagery humour, learned on the streets of Calgary, it was still a Scottish immigrant working class town while we were growing up. ‘Cunt’ wasn’t a negative word describing a female body part, it was everything from a term of endearment to a password of inclusion and acceptance on the street.
Murd lived off various women, using the narcissists charm, and writing really awful poetry, for which his various women got him gigs in the Calgary art scene.
When he got throat cancer from his 2 pack a day habit, he married his publishers daughter. His publisher was a former high school teacher at my school, who got punted for sleeping with his students. He started a book store and imported The Georgia Straight from Vancouver, which I sold on the streets of Calgary, for food, while living alone in a boarding house, trying to complete high school. His publishers daughter inherited, then moved them to the Caribbean, so he’d be warm, where he died.
He was a lot of fun.
In 1988 we had the Olympics in Calgary, my personal Olympics started the following New Years eve, I quietly had my last drink and toke of booze and pot.
I started to search for other ways to manage lifelong over-anxiety to be able to learn to be alone in comfort without mind freezing shame and embarrassment of over-worry.
I tried yoga, meditation, living ‘in community’ aka an ashram cult in the Kootenays, Taoist Tai Chi.. even living with a woman and lots of great sex and though all were nice distractions, nothing was a cure until I went to the hospital, where it took them 10 minutes to diagnose and treat me.
Very common condition.
A lot and I mean a lot of kids are emotionally abandoned,
essentially orphans, used like
bargaining chips in a business deal, in order to get welfare money or hang on
to a partner, or generate self esteem, conservative family values, whatever, for
parents who are no more than dependant life long children themselves.
The hospital suggested cognitive therapy, now I use the original form REBT. Relief from life long over-worry is like being given a million dollars, simply knowing the evidence of ‘I’ll figure it out, whatever it is, eventually’.
19 years ago I quit cigarettes.
10 years ago I quit sugar.
8 years ago I quit grains and over use of carbs.
All are self comfort strategies with negative consequences that are so self defeating they cause slow miserable squalid death.
So I tolerated short term pain for long term gain.
That’s what adults do.
They do this in order to care for children, by caring for themselves, staying strong and healthy and keep the species going.
It’s an evolutionary imperative.
It takes a lot of over-indulgence in feel good behaviors to suppress an evolutionary imperative.
An incredible force of will, to kill yourself slowly.
Or the same force of will to tolerate short term pain for long term gain…