It's commonly said that the pressures of the presidency cause the occupants of the office to age prematurely. For example Bill Clinton entered the White House at the peak of a boyish middle-age and left needing heart by-pass surgery. A similar aging has occurred to President Bush. Here is the official photo of Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.
This picture was taken last month.
Last night a small snowstorm crept through the Valley. Around dawn the temperature rose and turned the snow into rain. The result was pretty to the eye but treacherous to the foot, as I discovered as I walked to the bus stop in Northampton.
The situation was no better when I arrived in downtown Amherst.
Along the sidewalk I spotted this Valentine someone had lost which had been trampled in the snow and ice.
There's a metaphor of my love life in their somewhere, but I don't want to think about it.
I thought I might drop in on Miss Emily to photograph how the icestorm had transformed her gravesite, but found that the gate had been blocked by the snow plows.
It was just as well that I did not do too much walking, as my classic Conz with their rubber soles were slip sliding all over the place.
However, I made it safely to UMass and have survived to blog again. Today my topic is my latest raid on the public treasury in the form of some expensive dental work that will soon be done. It looks like I'm going to lose the last of my real teeth and finally go fully to dentures. Since the taxpayers will be paying for this, I want the dentures molded out of white gold.
Just kidding. Actually I am very grateful for all the welfare benefits I am receiving and will try to repay them someway, at the very least through becoming a productive member of society again and paying taxes. I used to frown on all welfare, arrogantly thinking that it was something that I would never need, but God has rightly slapped me down to teach me a needed lesson in humility.
Anyway, dental work always means pain, and as a recovering drug addict this presents special issues for me. For example, it may be dangerous for me to take common pain medications.
Years ago I was addicted to Percocet (above) as a result of pain arising from one of the car accidents I had on my way to losing my license to drive. At first it had little effect on me except to relieve the pain.
and one pill makes you small,
but the ones that mother gives you
don't do anything at all.
Over time however I found that the little white pills would erupt in my consciousness like softly exploding pillows whose beautiful feathers would settle to calm and conceal all that concerned me. I became very mellow and wanted to sit around all day. Everything seemed interesting no matter how banal. William Burroughs once claimed to have spent an entire day staring at the toe of his shoe. Anyone who has had experience with opiates understands perfectly why he did that.
Real trouble developed when my prescriptions ran out and I had to get more. Thank God I have a fear of needles or I might have slipped into the horror show world of the blood rituals. Still I wanted more opiates, and became quite desperate for it, unwilling to listen to those who were advising me to just endure the withdrawals and be done with it.
And they say you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking character
has given you
He called Alice, when she was quite small.
The pills were available on the black market but were very expensive. This was in the 1980's and I was living in Northampton. As part of trying to score the illegal pills I became aware of a weird scene that surrounded the parking lot of the bus station. There were men, all older guys, who used to sit there in the cars and just wait. What they were waiting for was for young guys like me to go up to them and get in their cars. If you let them go down on you, they would pay you. You didn't have to do anything else, just sit there, let them suck you off, take their money and leave. It was possible to make a lot of money that way.
Strangely enough the guys who got paid that way did not consider themselves gay. In fact they had nothing but contempt for the guys who paid them, they just considered it part of what you had to do to get the drugs you need. The whole thing struck me as totally pathetic, and I refused to have anything to do with it. But just the fact that my affair with Percocet was leading me to come into contact with such a scene was the warning I needed to get out of that addiction before I found myself trapped into selling myself in the bus station parking lot. After a miserable few days of withdrawal, I was free of the Percocets.
Since then I've gotten painkillers for various things, mostly dental work, and never again did I become endangered with getting hooked. But my recent misfortunes make me more wary and distrustful of my own addictive tendencies, and my inability to control them, so I've made up my mind.
When the time comes during my dental work for the dentist to write me up a script, I'm gonna say, "No thanks Doc, just make mine Tylenol."