Musings arguments and gig reports from your favourite Goth lesbian transsexual vegan recovering alcoholic and drug addict sceptic rationalist atheist comedian chameleon and caricature.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Unnatural disasters

One of the signs that I may have a circle of friends that possibly wasn't the best for me came when I flat shared with a couple of pals of mine who weren't the cleanest and tidiest of people. On a scale of "Ikea show home" to "Sitting on the back of the sofa using an air rifle to shoot the rats that scurry around eating days old take aways from plastic bags", they were definitely towards the filth end of the scale.  

But one Saturday night we were having a party, so we cleaned and tidied, got rid of the beer cans and over flowing ashtrays that covered the table so that they could be replaced by fresh beer cans and overflowing ashtrays. We even got the Mr Sheen out to clean it down, such was the mental state of our flatmates that when we finished no one thought to tidy away the cleaning products.  So sat in the middle of the coffee table stood that  bottle of furniture polish.

This, however, was not the thing that let me know that my circle of friends was possibly not the best for me, no, the thing that clinched it, was that as each of the guests arrived they walked in to the lounge saw the Mr Sheen out and said "Are we having crack tonight?"  That being crack the cocaine derivative, not that I had a bunch of Irish friends going "are we having craic tonight or what"  No, a group of friends who walked in to a party saw some furniture polish out and knew that one of the easiest ways to freebase cocaine and make crack was to heat cocaine in a solvent like Mr Sheen until it makes a popping noise, that that was their first thought when they saw furniture polish at a party should have set alarm bells ringing.

From that night on we referred to Crack as "Charlie Sheen"  I don't know if The Charlie Sheen has ever partied with any of my friends but it would make his statement:  “I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body,”  make a lot more sense.

When I see all the internet stuff about Charlie Sheen, some people have laughed, some have made fun of him, some have got really angry.  Not me, I just feel sorry for him.

I'm a recovering addict and alcoholic, and I say "recovering" because that's what it is, I'm recovering from an illness that was there before I had my first drink and will be there until the day I die but an illness I manage by not having drugs and alcohol and by talking to other people about it and sharing our experiences with each other.

It was nearly 2 years ago that I got clean.  I'd realised I had a drinking problem about 15 years ago, but didn't stop drinking until 5 years ago.  I switched to drugs thinking that was somehow less of a problem, it wasn't it just meant I was still an insufferable prick, but now I was up all night either dancing or getting paranoid.

But here I am now clean and sober and taking care of my own shit.  Paying my bills roughly on time, able to post letters within a day or two of when I write them, and I'm no longer mental, I take responsibility for when things go wrong that are my fault and don't mope about them.

Some days are better than others but there's always that thing there that it's all just one drink or one line of coke away from crashing down around me, because unlike most people who can have one drink, or one line of coke and have fun and go "I'll leave it there." I can't do that it's not through a lack of moral fibre or will power  anyone who's met me will know I'm one of the most strong willed people they know, but when it comes to drugs and booze it's like trying to have one Pringle, and the advertisers of that product truly knew the nature of addicition, as they were all coke-heads.*

And so when I see someone who's got the self same illness as I do, and I see that they're still active in it, and doing themselves harm I don't think their acting out is funny, I feel sorry for them.  When I see someone walking down the street with a can of lager in their hand drunk and yellowing and knowing that there's a good chance they're not going to survive their next drinking binge, I feel sorry for them.

Addiction is a mental illness like depression, or OCD, and someone who's got a black depression and for whom all the future is is an endless black carpet of despair and loneliness which will eventually lead to their total non-existence and they don't know which is preferable to endure it or to end it, their live isn't made any better by the application of money, for all the money in the world doesn't make any difference when you can't get joy from anything at all.

The same is true of addiction, I can't think of anything worse if I was still high and drunk than earning $14m per year and being surrounded by people telling me I was the greatest person in the world.

I'm impressed that Charlie Sheen's managed to make it this far, but I can see that he's having a full on mental breakdown, and there's only a limited number of places that this can lead.

Addiction will kill you if left unmanaged, and if you're lucky it'll kill you quickly; a boozy night where you fall asleep on your back and choke on your own vomit, a heart attack from over doing it, falling asleep in a euphoric state and never waking up from a heroin overdose.  Those are the lucky ones.  for the vast majority it takes and it takes and it takes, money, relationships, jobs, freedom, and then your health starts to deteriorate, physical and mental and it becomes irreversible.

He's basically got three things that can happen, he could die, he could get sectioned and spend the rest of his life in a psychiatric institute or he could get into recovery and try a day at a time to manage his illness, like an insulin dependent diabetic.

So when I look at him on TV and the internet acting mad, my overriding emotion is pity, sadness, and hope he'll get help and get better soon.

The other feeling I get is frustration with people, the same people who I got angry at over Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, the people who were watching that and tweeting on twitter as if to say "OH MY GOD IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE THEY'RE SCUM!!!"  the same people who I'd had conversations with about racism, and rise of the far right who'd said that discrimination and bigotry was wrong still found time to be racist and think it's acceptable.  If the people on that were in another country, you know maybe a poor one with lots of brown people in it would it be OK for us to laugh and point and talk about them as if they weren't even human?

I doubt it.  I doubt channel four would commission a series of "My Big Fat Forced Wedding" and invite it's audiences to laugh as English women of Asian origin are told that they're going on holiday only to have their passport taken off them at arrival and then get married off to a cousin.  I can see the Twitter comments now "OH MY GOD IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE THEY TALK FUNNY AND ARE A DIFFERENT COLOUR TO US!"

It's not just stuff like that though.  Japan this week has had the most horrific natural disaster in recent memory, and the news is full of scare stories about nuclear reactors.  I was surprised yesterday to find out that there hasn't been a single nuclear explosion in Japan.  Not one.  And there was me terrified thinking that we're all going to die, and looking out over an endless black blanket of depression about the whole thing.

Nope, turns out the explosions have been simple chemical explosions at nuclear reactors.  The sort of press I don't trust not to cook a story to make it scarier is saying that the fallout will drift across the entire planet, the sort of press I do trust is saying that although they're at high levels of alert everything is under control, and fortunately one of the reactors that's been worst affected was due to be decommissioned in the next fortnight.

It's pretty much as I expected when I first heard the news, I thought "Japan, well at least it happened there where they've planned for dealing with this sort of thing and their stuff works, their society works, they know how to quickly mend broken stuff with minimum inconvenience."  and then the people on twitter and in the news started building the story like it was an official sign of the apocalypse.

I was thinking about a story a friend told me about how he'd met up with a friend who was originally from Newcastle, but who'd lived in Japan for 15 years.  When he came to visit they went into central London and one of the tube stations was closed for engineering works on broken escalators.  My friend's friend saw that and said "Oh, should we go and sit in a cafĂ© and get a coffee and wait for them to mend it and re-open?" my friend laughed and said "It'll be closed for the rest of the day." and his friend couldn't believe it "Won't they be ashamed if it takes them that long?"  I don't think shame comes into the mind of the average British worker, or if it does it's a long way behind "How can we drag this out long enough to get paid a full day"

But on twitter by the time the news was filtering through to the UK about the quake "Hurricane Katrina" was trending, and within 48 hours "Pearl Harbor" was trending.

Some people were saying "They didn't give a shit when Katrina happened, why should we give a shit now?"  These were people who hadn't done their research, Japan donated loads for Katrina.  But I can forgive some of them some ignorance, I mean if someone's dying and needs a blood transfusion and you're the only person available your immediate thought would be "Well I've got no evidence that they've given blood at any time in the past, so I think maybe I won't help them out." wouldn't you?  I mean it's the obvious human reaction.  And still it's not like if you have a baseless assumption of that nature like you don't have the most wonderful source of information ever devised by humans where billions of people are connected to everyone else and able to share information, is it?  I mean it's not like a simple Google search would yield something like this.

But then it started to happen, "it's payback for Pearl Harbor" or Pearl Harbour if you can actually spell.  thousands of people saying that the Earthquake, Tsunami and explosions at Nuclear Power Plants were all kharmic payback for Pearl Harbor, forgetting of course that the execrable film of the same name was surely payback enough?  But even so, is it really payback for that?  Really?  Really?  No, Really?

To think that takes out the last 60 years of geopolitics and everything that went on, forgetting that the US did drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on a pure death toll count, the 2,350 who died at Pearl Harbor is definitely less than the 200,000 who died as a direct result of bombs dropped on those cities, (mostly civilians)

But if they believe it's payback by some supernatural deity that's just fucking mental, and shows a stupid level of escalation, They bomb Pearl Harbor, the US Bombs Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what do they think happened then?  The Japanese Meditated for 50 years until Buddha got of his fat arse and decided that not hurting another living thing wasn't the true path to enlighenment but sending a hurricane to a place where the Federal Government had decided too many poor people who don't vote for them anyway lived, which was followed by the US praying to Yahweh until he decided as he was helping out the US that he'd continue with a massively over the top reaction to Katrina by sending a massive earthquake, a tsunami, and then for good measure a couple of explosions at a nuclear plant?

I know some people have some strange views about Gods, but really to think that they're behaving like they've been written for a Tex Avery Cartoon is properly mental.

Besides which, it turned out that the Military brass in the US knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor in advance, so unless they were taking a guided tour round the nuclear plant at Fukushima last week it's pretty far off the mark.

Though it does make me think, there are plenty of people who seem to think that an all powerful being  can send fire from it's fists and destroy planets, judge people for their choices and decide who lives and dies.  Who's to say what Charlie Sheen believes is any more strange, he's just built himself in God's image.

*they may not have all been coke-heads.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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