Tag Archives: drug/alcohol abuse

Distressing Displacements

Was the summer heat so relentless in Southern Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert, as it is in a Las Vegas set amidst the Mojave? Just as likely. Possibly even more so. The Sonora sits at a lower altitude. Its desert classification aside, it’s also a less arid ecosystem than the Mojave.

Youth, accompanied by more involved living, frequent insobriety, and greater disregard of nuisances like heat and lack of sleep, probably registered those Arizona Augusts on some lower discomfort scale. The escapades immersed in then must’ve somewhat negated the arduous climate.

Almost five years living in Las Vegas and I’ve learned to evade a trap that snares too many willing natives and long-time residents. I’ve managed to look through the transients, deadbeats, and bums littering the street corners and raised medians.

The effects of environment, narcotics, and living without care so harsh, these street skeletons easily call to mind those mannequins seen gutted in Cold War Era nuclear test films. Yes, an appropriate comparison. Many of those tests occurred in the Mojave within view of Las Vegas. Except the long-ago explosions were filmed in black and white while the people among us today are quite colorless.

While temperate weather alone should suffice to draw down-and-outers to Las Vegas (better to beg in Las Vegas during the winter than Salt Lake), that so many of the targets are soft touches makes it an ideal hunting ground.

Who among us doesn’t believe we’re susceptible to debilitation through complete surrender to the right (wrong?) kinds of inhibitions? This is why most of us work like hell to distance ourselves from such ruinous compromises.

Invading Las Vegas intending to prey upon the weaknesses and decency of the presumably good and responsible citizens who’ve made this home, why not present the visage of some absolute devil who’s succumbed to Sin City temptations and lost him- or herself among them? In the back of countless residents’ minds exists the possibility that they too may career off the paths of moderation which allow us to gently indulge in the city’s amusements, but stops long before indulgence utterly devours and destroys us.

Even before moving here, I understood the power of the Big Mayberry’s temptations. Nonetheless having witnessed it the problem apparently resides in individuals who’ve succumbed.

The idea that Square John or Jane can suddenly be transformed into the same dirt-encrusted, hollowed out meth creature, skeavy street wreckage one wished invisible, though if must be acknowledged, prefers doing so from peripheral distance (the better to banish them from our sight and consciences) than nearness where the whimpers of “Got any spare change?” are more disturbing. To become that devolved a human being takes effort.

Such perilous descents don’t occur overnight or over a weekend. Numbing flights of stairs need stumbling down before one becomes a wretched and despised dreg. And until reaching a certain depth, there are still ways of turning around, climbing the same path, and rescuing one’s self.

One bender weekend, one dissolute incident, isn’t going to result in our living rough on unforgiving pavement and drawing sparse sustenance from begging alms. It takes dedication to become the sort of piece of shit who reviles somewhat sober, hardworking people into convincing themselves that, ‘hey, a few bad breaks and that could be me with filthy hair, mangy, hollow-eyed, barefoot, and bedraggled.’

Those viewed with disgust aren’t victims of misfortune. They’re living an extreme lifestyle.

Sun and drugs have untethered them completely from awareness, made them strangers among functioning society.

I’ve managed to ignore the wasted devils cluttering city pavement. When aren’t they among us with their ubiquitous cardboard placards beseeching “Homeless. Hungry. Anything Will Help. Please. God Bless”?

The destitute can afford marring their bodies with tattoos, care for mutts – one wonders as pets or “service animals” – yet seek handouts to scratch up meal money? Being entirely practical as well as heartless here, let’s recommend they forsake further ink and eat the dogs.

By the way, how does the Almighty invariably get dragged into these fallible human dilemmas? Surely it wasn’t in His plan that these poor specimens of revulsion appear and pollute our horizons?

Really? Do those of us already toiling hard to keep wolves away from our doors need further incentive? After all, imagination is the most effective terrorizing force of all. Why, if it weren’t for the abominations we conjure ourselves, we wouldn’t have any organized religions, would we?

Steps before yet seemingly approaching the fork in the road between salvage and abandonment in desultory limbo are people who’ve come to Las Vegas, were successful for a time, but then fell on true hard times or bad luck. Maybe they spent extravagantly and sunk in deep arrears. Likely they fell afoul by somehow losing their jobs and with that loss also their residences.

Or more probable, people still employed but whose rents have increased beyond their budgets.

When I relocated to Las Vegas almost five years ago, the Big Mayberry was still in the throes of deepest recession. Unemployment was high and costs of living were generally dirt-cheap. Since then the region has rebounded mightily. After a lengthy financially fallow period, what enterprise isn’t looking to recoup curtailed profits?

Therefore, adios poverty-level leases. Say hello to landlords charging higher rents an improved market can bear. The only problem with that is the wage lag. Incrementally rising costs might be borne easier. But sudden jolts are enough to jar the lives of those earning lower-middle and lower incomes. Those wages have yet to rise appreciably. Likely these never will.

And don’t let an emergency splat on the doorstep.

There is a study showing the disaster threshold for Americans is $400. Meaning a high percentage of us couldn’t draw into our pockets and yank out 400 bucks to cover an unexpected expense of that amount or less. Four-hundred dollars. Think about it. How narrow must one’s margins be if life demanded several sudden hundred dollars and we find it impossible to meet?

So, a familiar and stressing sight on Las Vegas sidewalks are unfortunates who’ve lost their addresses yet may still work. Their modern malady has them resorting to couchsurfing among relatives, friends, or co-workers. Good parts of their lives are folded and packed in rolling suitcases. Doubtlessly portions of these wanderers have placed the rest of their lives in storage.

Amazing. Worldly goods can still find protection because storage is cheap whereas housing body and soul is costly. Such are our values.

Legacies’ Laments

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” The preceding originates from the drama Julius Caesar. Cassius’ line impels what follows.

Our Trump Error presents Americans a litany of such failings they would’ve bowed the backs of ancient Greek dramatists as well as William Shakespeare’s. Nearly half of us have become comfortable with weakness and shame thanks to the disgraceful real estate fraud now soiling the Oval Office. Continue reading Legacies’ Laments

Sauce for the Goose

One of the Las Vegas newspapers has an editorial page which lurches right. So far right readers should ask why columns and letters to the editor aren’t printed in Fraktur.

Given the harmful effect of Twitter on political debate, the city’s broadsheet, an at times schizophrenic news source – news remains objectively presented while opinions often harken back to those of Der Stürmer and Völkischer Beobachter – offers American reactionaries a forum through which they can mock tweets veering from their less enlightened view of our society. Thanks to Donald Trump’s current soiling the Oval Office, malcontents once rightly embarrassed to publicly demonstrate their various intellectual deficiencies may now further poison open discourse with them.

Say this about the short-fingered vulgarian he sure has tipped over a lot of rocks. Continue reading Sauce for the Goose

Thoroughly Anonymous

My last image of Perdu was a mundane one. The drug-addled, alcoholic, brain-dead swine we worked for had just admitted the company was flat-broke.

For an enterprise best known through word of mouth, throughout the industry its new name became “mud.” So many bridges were burned, including ones on drawing boards, no hope existed of any lifelines.

Solvent on Friday, tapped out on Monday. Continue reading Thoroughly Anonymous

Untimely Torquemada

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has gotten pilloried for past statements spoken during the appropriate era. In accordance to these semantically correct times, she’s walked them back. Okay. She’s apologized for uttering them. There was absolutely zero need for her to have done so.

Dredged up from the 1990s, and haunting her in 2016, Clinton referred to a subset of criminals as “superpredators.” What was then so accurate now offends the ignorant and sensitive.

Actually by having called them “superpredators,” Clinton raised the lowest of low-slouching beasts on the evolutionary ladder. Continue reading Untimely Torquemada

Shoulder to the Wheel

Three Augusts ago I resided at ease in suburban splendor. So much so I took several vacation days to visit Kewpie in Miami. She’d been laboring on film shoot. Warren joined us.

When she wasn’t eye-rolling on-set shenanigans or prima dona outbursts, we treacherous three gamboled along South Beach. Had I known my carefree days were short, I would’ve behaved way more carelessly.

Hmmm. Just might suggest that as my epitaph.

Two years ago, Quarropas, the old hometown, remained somewhat recognizable. That was if a long-time resident squinted. By this time last year, it was less splendiferous since every soul making that loaded word “home” a desirable refuge had died away.

August 2014 marks my first year in Las Vegas. Continue reading Shoulder to the Wheel

Phony Gold


    This is a piece of what shall become a lengthier whole. The language and characterizations below reflect the times, places, and people.

    Were the Debutante a proper mother throughout the 1970s into 80s, our family would’ve suffered milder disruption. Surely being present in her daughter Boopy’s life, instructing the girl, might’ve made the child impervious to Dim.

    While I blame Richard for his premature avoidable 1990 demise, Boopy was the one who pulled down our home in 2005. She performed this by marrying Dim, a rancid example of puerile white trash. Then she let him willingly lead her disastrously astray. Who could’ve foreseen their nuptial the lowlight of 1993?

     Had Junior, heir to Richard’s spare, not succumbed to emphysema in 1999 our family presence in Quarropas does not dissolve. It would’ve helped us had he taken a woman better than the Debutante as his bride. That alone should’ve improved the likelihood of his leaving a worthwhile successor.

     The Debutante didn’t necessarily need to remain Junior’s wife. Even from afar some maternal instinct alone ought’ve sufficed for her to guide Boopy and deflect catastrophe.

     Wife? Nope! Mother? Pah! Continue reading Phony Gold

Dig A Grave. Lay Down. Bury Yourself.

    What was foretold came to pass. Ideally the doors to Mugwump, my former employer, would’ve closed in January 2012. Yet during the summer of 2011 I saw it barely surviving into October. The place staggered and face-planted one week before November.

    Awash in cocaine and/or drowning in vodka or THC fogging the remnants of their minds, Loca and Fea lost Mugwump, their patrimony.

    Wait. “Lost” isn’t the right word. “Frittered.” Nope. Still doesn’t convey the squander.

    “Squatted down and pissed away.” Much better.

    Coked out when not blind drunk, the Mugwump sisters squatted down and pissed away their company. In doing so they destroyed in five years what their father Blowhard established after 27. Before carelessly tossing the reins to his flibbertigibbet daughters, Blowhard built Mugwump into a company renown for dependability, reliability and accuracy. Continue reading Dig A Grave. Lay Down. Bury Yourself.

Green Venom


 

 

(Names changed to protect the innocent. And me. Others in this post enjoy the courtesy because they’re too stupid to be embarrassed.)

 

    *Ruta died the next to last day of August 2011. Her illness was short but the final phase was acute. Whether deserved or not she suffered at the very end. Instead of palliative hospice care, she died at home surrounded by her things.

    On the cusp of 80, Ruta is survived by a husband and my boss *Blowhard, their son *Skip, and two daughters, *Loca and *Fea. Another son and daughter, *Speedball and *Borracha, predecease her.

    One imagines Ruta’s family will miss her.

    Here respect for the dead and the bereaved ends. It’s more they would’ve extended and will extend themselves. In reality Ruta leaves behind the shell she married, their issue who either chose alienation or became pieces of human wreckage, while she herself wasted life experiences to promote positive contributions.

    Like Palestinians, the Mugwump family never missed a chance to miss a chance. Continue reading Green Venom