Monday, January 05, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 87:
tippin the balance

by june 11, 1979, i had purty much finished everthang i needed to git dun ifn i wuz to graduwait. i still had about ten pages to rite on my novel, crap notes, but i had dun all my class wurk. ye mite could say i lacked skool purty well. i ended up with near 240 credits despite the fack that i needed only bout 160 or so to graduwait. but ifn ida dun that, i woodnt have finished ritin my novel, n that wuz my main concern.

i had won a few awards fer how i played the grade game: (1) a chancellors sightayshun fer academick achievment, (2) Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache frum the Goethe Institut, (3) the Gerti Wunderlich award for excellence in German, thanks to the kind wurk of one of my germun perfessers, witch we jes called him dr. f n main reason he hepped me thataway wuz on a counta how he knew i wuz a'gonna need the grant money of $800 moren i knew whenever i gut over to west germany, (4) phi kappa phi, (5) phi beta kappa, (6) d-a-a-d, n (7) summa cum laude. fack is, i coulda gut em to git rid of the 'b' i gut in my furst quarter in golf n ifn i hadda dun that, i wooda graduwaited with the highest gpa of innybidy graduwaitin then. but i figgerd i wuznt as good as my record indicated. so my final gpa wuz 3.99999 ferever jes about, tho they put it at 4.0 since twuz close a nuff.

ye mite be thankin how i shoulda been purty happy bout the way thangs wuz a'goin. i wuz about to git marrd to a wonderful woman. i wuz about to go to west germany fer a year of studies n i dint have to brang nuthin much back frum it besides the eggsperients. i had about ten pages to write on my novel to git it dun. i owned a piece of land n had my payments down to practically nuthin on a counta rentin my room to maisie.

but thays always a nuther side to thangs, n durin this time, i wuz forced to look upon it moren i mite could have wonted to. thang wuz, thay wuz a lil lag time tween when i wuz dun with skool, witch that wuz early in june of 1979, n when i wuz a'gone fly over to west germany, witch that wuz skeduled fer the furst of august.

i figgerd i wood git me my job over at the deathtrap back. witch that mint i had to apply all over agin. i did, n fer that, they made me take a polly graf test. i dint wurry much bout it on a counta i had dun had one the year befor n they wuz mosly innerested in whuther ye wuz honest. i drove over to west knoxvull agin to take the test, but this time, the fella conductin it dint ast nary a questchun bout whuther i wuz honest. onliest thang he needed to know wuz whuther i had ever dun inny drugs, witch ye all know the anser to that is a big yes, accordin to witchns ye mite be astin bout. as it happend, this fella knew all thar names n he ast me bout each of these: (1) theevil weed, (2) lsd, (3) mescaline, (4) peyote, (5) psylocibin, (5) cocaine, (6) opium, (7) thc, (8) morphine, and (9) heroin. i add mitted that i had tried all but the las two, morphine n heroin. he ast how many times had i dun em, n fer the mos, twuz only once. i wuz ast when i had last used each.

long story short, i went to wurk my furst nite n put in a good 3 hours till my old boss cum in. he wuz glad to have me back n tole me i wuz one of the best hed ever had. i thanked him. he tole me he had to make a call before finishin the process. he called the guy n purty soon he tole me he wuz sorry but couldnt use me. why? on a counta my recent problems.

whut a thang! i wuz a honor student. i had wurked well fer em. but all i wuz by the time that mornin gut thar wuz a drug user.

so i gut the summer off n twuz a bit on the long side on a counta emily n me had dun moved out of 1300 clinch n i had to move back into mamas house fer the summer. i had plenty of time to thank thangs over. truth wuz, i wuz tired of drugs n dint really wonta do em much innymore, but the worl i wuz livin in had jes too much temptayshun. furst mornin after i larnt i woodnt have the job, eli cum over with a new bag of theevil weed he had scored n we started the day by runnin thru his routine, witch he lacked to take a drive, listen to punk rock music as loud as ye could stand it, n smoke joint after joint.

by the time we gut home frum that, i wuz disgusted with myself. i tride to wurk thangs over in my mind to make me feel better. i reminded myself of all my achievments, buyin of land, the 4.0 gpa, the d-a-a-d, the novel, the awards, the impending marrg to an honor student. all of em wuz notable accomlishments. but underneath of everthang, i wuz still jes a drug user in the eyes of pantry. wuz drugs really that bad? bad a nuff to prevent me frum wurkin at the deathtrap? shouldnt my performunts frum the year befor have counted fer sumthin? hadnt i proved myself responsibull a nuff thru wurk n skool?

but facks is facks, witch theys amung the mos stubborn thangs thay is. i jumpt to my own defense. shore nuff im a drug user, i would gladly say. look at me, worl: im a doper. i lack to trip. i smoke theevil weed mos ever day. yet i gut straight a marks in collidge, wuz a collidge skolar, wrote a novel, won outstanding performunts increases at carbide, dated a injuneer, divorced one, am about to marr a history honors student whose also a literary eggspurt --  won awards -- yew name it. many of my friends at utk wuz perfessors, witch i could name em but whut diffents duz it make? underneath it all, thonly thang that mattered wuz how i wuz jedged to be a drug fiend. lease thats whut they wonted me to thank.

fack is, i did thank it. i wished i could stop. i planned to stop, made resolushuns bout quittin, the hole thang, but seemed lack ever time i turnt round, thay wuz a nuther joint bein passed my way n i dint seem capabull of passin it on along without tokin on it. to be fare, i wood half to add mitt that i dun got a lot frum smokin n trippin, mainly the latter. durin mos ever trip, i eggzamine my life n directshuns n try to affirm whuts good. i git a lot of energy frum concentratin on whut needs to be dun. i git eggcited bout the positive half of my bein -- the half that rites n goes to skool n takes thangs serious; i am wurried bout the negative half -- how easily it could git out of hand n ruin my life along with emilys.

dont misunderstan me. i dint feel i had life figgerd out, dint know whut i should be doin in the best of all possibull worls. i lack to say how i bleeved that ye cant git to any unnerstandin of life without god. but i dint -- n dont to this day -- unnerstan god atall. i felt my bleef in god wuz necessary for a happy life, that god wuz thonly concep that gives life necessary n lastin meanin. but all of that wuz a bunch of hopes more than ackshul bleefs. i dun whut i dun on a counta it seemed the best corse availabull to me, tho i wuz always hopin twood hep me unnerstand god a lil better.

but i couldnt proov nuthin, even ifn i trotted out all my proofs. am i cunvintsed by proofs? is innybidy? i dont reckon folks is cunvintsed by argumints. they need eggsperients, vague eggsperients taken as a hole n not broke down into particlar eggsperientses. frum vague eggsperients i gut my noshuns bout god.

as i prepared fer ritin the last wurds on my novel, fer gittin marrd, fer goin to west germany, i wood pray ever day that these noshuns wood hep me tip the balance in favor of the good half of my bein. i figgerd i wood have a good chants for this on a counta in west germany, i dint speck nobidy to give me no drugs. n i figgerd i wood git the balance tipped fer good once n fer all.

but i had a lot more to larn bout that balance. turns out ye gut to keep tippin it yer hole life n it kin swang back on ye purty good jest when ye thank ye gut it tipped fer good fer good. thang is, ye cant trip it fer good fer good, but only fer good fer now. n ye gut to keep at it. fer good.

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