Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Sunday, September 28, 2014

You're Still Young, You Should Quit

Early Saturday morning the authorities admitted me to a hospital essentially to sleep off my black-out drunkenness.  The city took my clothes but let me keep my cell phone, took a blood sample and a urine sample, gave me a bowl of cereal, a muffin, some apple sauce, a vitamin B pill, and a folate pill.  When I had sobered up and the tests were done, my clothes were returned in a clear plastic bag and I was sent on my way without payment.  (I couldn’t have paid in any event, my wallet having been a victim of the previous night.)  I was treated humanely and wasn’t lectured, except for a brief word of advice from a nurse:   I am still young, I should quit.

I think she's right.  The word is right there on my discharge form: “alcoholism.”  A small part of me resisted that conclusion, but I found that I wasn’t in a position to argue with the diagnosis.  And a bigger part of me felt a sense of relief.  Surrounded by pleasant, efficient working-class people, not expected to be anything but a fuckup, I felt at home.  Walking to my apartment (remember, no wallet) with matted hair, holding a plastic bag with my shirt in it, as the stores got more and more expensive, I felt my anxiety returning, although I could at least be confident that no one would be attracted to me.   [So, just like any other day, then. - ed.]  I feel that I’ve risen above my station in life; in those circumstances, I briefly didn't feel like an impostor.

But I don't hold the view that someone is worthless merely because he can't handle ingesting a particular chemical.  First, all people are imbued with prevenient grace, which is not contingent on anything.  By its nature grace does not have to be earned and can't be lost.

Second, as Jesus said:

You will know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
In other words, you can't judge a person's worth by his intrinsic characteristics.  People are to be judged by their outputs, not their inputs.  There is no such thing as a nice guy who treats other people like shit; there is no such thing as a worthless person who does something productive with his life.  Your status is within your control.  Alcoholism doesn't mean anything by itself.  No one is worthless because of his genetics or anything else about him.

My wallet was returned by a retired MTA worker who found it on a subway platform.

[Update:  I sometimes write some fictional things on this blog—part of me thinks Sarang was basically just cashing in with Sarang's Big Book of Sick Burns, for instance—but this blog post is true.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For someone balck out drunk on Saturday moornign you were in remarkeably good condition Saturday night [sic]

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Cass Sunstein said...

Sounds like a typical Friday night for me.

4:30 PM  

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