Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Have we improved from 2007 to 2010? And the rebel thinker as alcoholic

As you can see from the above video Doc and I have an enjoyable time making some of our videos. Yesterday was no exception. But as usual I was a little impatient with Doc's slower pace of thinking due to his alcoholism. Doc is a brilliant guy who says he relies on alcohol to slow him down to other people's pace. I am afraid it has slowed him down just a little too much to satisfy me.
I told him this morning that I am casting my nets out to the world hoping to snag more and more readers who might be interested in my memoirs. That is what I am counting on to motivate me to write them. I am no longer expecting Utah people to support me because I am too critical of the culture for them to tolerate. I am after all writing the story of what happened to me up there as a child and what difficulties I encountered even trying to surface the story of childhood abuse years later.
I feel relieved now that I have turned my focus on the world for support rather than on Utah people who are too conflicted about what I am writing to give it to me. But I told Doc as I bought a People magazine with Susan Boyle on the front with her story of skyrocketing to fame almost over night, "What are you going to do when I get busier and busier with my sky rocketing career as a writer?" I worry about that.
I talked to Doc this morning about meeting so many alcoholics in this life who were smart talented men like he is who also became mired down into alcoholism. He admits that had drugs been as much a part of the scene when he was young as they are today he would probably have become a drug addict, too. I am sure my dad would have done, as he was a very addictive personality and became hooked on powerful sleeping pills two years before his death. He caused me a lot of problems as his caretaker because he forced me to be his go between in securing more prescriptions. He was rich enough he could well have found an illegal supplier, but he finally decided to kick the habit.
Drinking, smoking, and doing drugs so often become the young rebel's way of confounding his parents, but when I was young watching my dad and his brothers and some of my cousins destroy themselves with alcohol caused me to take a vow never to tamper with such substances. I just had too many rebellious thoughts about the culture I wanted to write about. I knew no one would pay any attention to me if I developed a substance abuse habit. My dad was one of the most brilliant students who ever went through his school system, but as soon as he became a bad alcoholic in his teens, people paid a lot less attention to what he thought. He went on the defensive and mostly fell silent when he was sober. He drank so many dangerous substances just trying to find something with alcohol in it, he was always deathly sick and hung over the first few days after a binge.
He soon had to worry more about staying alive than getting his thinking out to the world. I thought that was a hell of a waste of precious time and a brilliant brain, but he was hooked so badly it was going to take near death a number of times for him to sober up. He was lucky he survived his early forties. It was a miracle he actually lived to the age of 64 when his three brothers all died before they reached the age of 50.
I guess near death is what it is going to take for Doc to sober up. He tries to stay just this side of crisis to keep drinking. In the four years I have known him, he has yet to to have to seek emergency treatment which became a common occurrence with my dad. Rushing him off to the hospital became a way of life for my mother in her last years with him.
One of my dad's brothers and one of his nephews who had lived on one of my Grandfather's ranches many years died in their early twenties of alcohol related deaths. They paid a terrible price for early alcoholism. My Uncle Max was considered very brilliant and was intending to study law as my dad did. Another of my father's nephews joined the service and flew over 300 missions over Germany during World War II. He retired from the service with the rank of Lt. Colonel but as a terrible alcoholic. I told my dad he was considered so promising he would surely have been president of the United States if he had not drank!
So it went in the King family, but in Arizona where I finally settled, I was shocked to see how many bars flourished on every corner, and how many alcoholics had to be supporting all those bars with their ferocious habits of drinking. I learned to play pool just so I could study alcoholism, and I found an awful lot of men I was sure had been very promising once who were now on the ropes, DUIs on their records, repossessed cars, multiple divorces, estranged children, delinquent child support payments, and on and on. I met some bad women alcoholics, too, and tried to save one or two of them when I saw them dying.
I finally couldn't stand all the depressing things I saw in bars any more and gave them up, and felt a lot better. I always ran into a lot of flack over my refusal to drink alcohol, even when in a bar, anyway. Somehow bartenders just don't like that. In fact, they are quite prejudiced against teetotalers with the nerve to come in their bars and preach the need for sobriety to their best customers. That Rose, she was one of the meanest alcoholic bartenders I ever encountered. She just hated my guts. She also liked this one charismatic alcoholic I met in there I tried to influence. Rose. She is dead now. Died an alcohol related death when she was 42, leaving her only son, 12, to be raised by his dad who was also an alcoholic or his grandmother who was also an alcoholic... Beautiful girl, too. Rebel. She would stand up to anybody. Even someone who was packing. I can remember her confronting a crazy guy who walked in the bar armed with a powerful handgun who did not want to give it up while drinking. She demanded the gun and got it. She wasn't afraid of anybody. The best woman pool player I ever met. I tried my best to beat her but never could. Her dad died years before in an alcohol related death--he burned himself up in a hotel fire when she was 12 and he was 42, just her age when she passed. I am wondering. Her son is probably an alcoholic right now.
Pretty depressing facts keep emerging over and over in the worlds of alcoholism. There is so much work to be done to stem the endless tide of deaths and mayhem caused by drinking, well, today just has to be one of many posts I have written and will undoubtedly need to write on the subject.


Jeanie said...

I would say you and Doc are well matched Gerry. He is so good humoured even though he drinks. His paint brush fascinated me as I watched and waited for him to use it. I have no idea what he was going to do with it at the end of your
Maybe that part will be recorded for posterity? hahahaha!
I love to see you enjoying yourselves.
I bet that bathroom gleemed when you were done with it MEN! They never see muck.
Thanks for calling by my Blog today.
Take care...both of you.
Jeanie xxx

vooman's voice said...

You know, I am afraid to critize or I don't know how fragile your internet personality is...and don't want a sister fights.
From the outside looking in...I think that doctor's pictures need to be brought to the foreground so they can be read as...most of the humor is in what he says on the painting. Since you don't have a camera man you can't zoom in. You should have a new painting with each new sit down and read what he says aloud to start. He has a whole closet full of them you could show a new one with each video.This might inspire him to more paintings.
Your make up was much better. I am glad you took care of those dark circles. The most beautiful people are sent to the make-up room before camera. I know you have a lot to says and want to get to it, but Doc actually handles the camera better because he doesn't look directly into it as much... He trys to play with you and your are always swating him away. He actually comes across as more loving than you on camera and according to you he is not. You are the funniest when your a sparing with each other. Your wardrobe has been excellent. Alcoholics can be very charming...I know, I have had my share. Bukowski was a roaring alcoholic and so much more.
I do think your have improved a whole lot...and most of all just to have to guts to do it. Also I have to applaud your know how...which I don't have. I sometimes don't know if I should hide or brag to people that you are my sister. I do think doc handles you with his little comments as well as anyone one you have been with...I can see the smartness there. People don't like it when I say I'd have like to seen what a sober Bukowski could have done...but they act like the greatest writers were all drunks..substance abuser..etcs. etc. I guess it loosens them up, but they might get too loose. But his new books keep coming out...and he's been dead 15 years what can I say... said...

I enjoyed the video..the occasional paint brush. Your eyes do look a little less dark with whatever makeup you used.
I loved the idea of focas on a new picture..each time. Doc with a painting and paintbrush works!
Linda, that's a good suggestion. I also like the back and forth exchange. Doc should lean in to make his we get his eye contact!


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