I was just figuratively hit by a donut truck and am pretty miserable about it. My prayers to Demeter, goddess of the harvest and my higher power du jour, were not loud enough, so I ate and ate.
I’m trying to get out of my unhappy head so I’m recalling last night’s AA meeting. A guy qualified; he was tough looking, but well put together, and was eloquent as one can be with such a heavy Brooklyn accent. I forgot his name, so I’ll just call him “Jimmy.” Jimmy’s are like a species around here, so it’s a safe assumption.
Jimmy opened with a recap of his heroin use. His medically unsupervised detox in his basement was less than pleasant, so he begged his then-wife to get him a jug of vodka, thus beginning his plunge into the filthy swamp of alcoholism. “Drugs took a whole lot from me,” he said. “But alcohol came around and made damn sure it took all the rest.”
After his wife left with their two daughters and shut the door to their home, Jimmy picked a park in Astoria, intending to spend the night there. The one night became two years. It was a perfect dwelling because it was right next to a subway station; people on their way to and from work would give him money with which he could get booze from the conveniently located liquor store and maintain perpetual oblivion.
Jimmy said that a lot of the fellow “bums” would try to clean up a little in the park fountain. He would watch them indifferently; it was too much trouble to use anything other than his own clothing as a toilet.
Eventually he developed a condition which made it impossible for fluid to leave his body. Off he went to the hospital and on the road to his life today.
I’ll insert a gap in Jimmy’s story here, not because there WAS one, but because I had drifted for a moment, marveling that this gentleman standing before me was the same person being described.
When I brought my attention back, he was talking about being rejected by the Bowery Mission, a men’s rescue center in lower Manhattan, because he was too sick and then about a guy who let him sleep on his floor tiles with a blanket, fed him one daily meal and squeezed out 12 hours labor from Jimmy in return. The guy was a lousy bastard, but he saved Jimmy’s life.
Jimmy’s kids call him “Daddy,” the most beautiful word he has ever heard. He ended with, “I had to lose everything to be grateful for absolutely anything.”
I am going back to Demeter on my knees and ask her to harvest donuts elsewhere.