Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another Casualty

Shitty Dave1 died last night, The Abstract World (another Dave) told me. Dave was one of those hardcore street drunks, the kind who will pass out before 3:00 PM in painful-looking contortions on a set of concrete stairs around the corner of the local gas station. The kind of guy who had two (or was it three?) toes amputated a couple years ago because he passed out on aforementioned stairs before 3:00 PM on a snowy day without being properly dressed for the weather and without being with it enough to at least drag the sleeping bag off his shopping cart to cover himself. The kind of guy whose sleeping bags — and even the shopping cart he used to carry them — periodically got stolen. The kind of guy who hung out with jackass thieves, who for the past five months have waited for him to pass out so they could yank all the cash out of his wallet after he'd already paid for their beers; a $1600 a month disability check siphoned into a murky bog of douchebag addict opportunism. The kind of guy who could have used that money to get into housing, so he wouldn't have died on the street only fifty yards away from the hospital emergency room.

A somber reminder of how life on the streets can abruptly end. I don't drink like Dave did, but that doesn't preclude the possibility that I may one day mimic his disgraceful and tragic demise. Fortunately I've resumed participation in Central City Concern's various therapy modules: acupuncture, group therapy, one-on-ones with my counselor/case manager, and trying out things like yoga, art journaling, and whatever other classes and workshops pique my interest and strike me as being edifying. In a moment of an embarrassingly “Duh!” epiphany, it recently occurred to me that I haven't gotten anywhere because I haven't DONE ANYTHING! It's easy to be bored, bitter, and booze-saturated when all you're doing every day is canning and sitting at a local community center playing emulated MSX games while listening to Gwar. It's also an easy lifestyle to get used to, sitting around in between binges, scavenging for scraps and waiting for handouts. So, as I've said numerous times before it's time for me to fabricate some motivation and get serious about improving not only my health but the quality of my life. Which also means as soon as I get my food stamps on the first I'm going to start volunteering at both FreeGeek and Bike Farm, even if it's only to get out of the neighborhood and out of my head for a few hours a week. It's disheartening to realize that I'm going to have to psychologically ram a cattle prod up my ass to get started doing these things, let alone to sustain the effort; it's one thing to be too lazy to do one load of laundry at a time, it's another thing to be too lazy to do things that genuinely interest you and that enhance the quality of life.

As for Dave ... well, I'm honestly not the least bit choked up over his death. He kind of had it coming, and there's also the chilling but nonetheless valid argument that a life that wasn't all that worth living could hardly be tragically lost. It's too bad, though, because he was an okay guy, and if he'd have gotten into housing he probably would have lasted a while longer and died in relative comfort and dignity once his demise finally caught up with him. It's also a bit ironic, in that the jerks that took advantage of him and ripped him off are alive and well, and probably even eulogize the man they abused in drunken moments of skewed camaraderie and reminiscence. When in fact they can be considered partially, if only peripherally, responsible for his death.

  1. He was called this because he tended to crap his pants all the time. The Abstract World thinks it's because he used it as a repellent to cops and CHIERS, ensuring that he wouldn't get hauled off to the drunk tank or jail whenever he got busted for an open container.

1 comment:

  1. Really well written, unsentimental eulogy. (The best kind, in my opinion. Mythologizing the dead always comes across as false and does a disservice to their memory, IMO.) A sad cautionary tale, as well. Poor, ol' Dave.