Hey kiddies! No poker news, just got back from a trip to Washington D.C.. In case you care, it was incredible and I highly recommend that everyone makes this trip at least once in their life. I'll try to post more and have some pics for you once I get a little settled back in.
Me and the better looking one (my wife... to be clear, since so many are better looking ones that yours truly) got back on Thursday and on Saturday had a party at the homestead to celebrate my wife's graduating with a Masters and also a house warming since we finally finished the place (well at least as finished as a home ever is). The party was great fun. It was theme party (Come as your favorite childhood character... The lovely went as Cher... I went as generic Harlem Globetrotters guy). We also carried the theme over by mixing in bad 70s beer (Shlitz abd Pabst) and garrish food stuff (a lot of green jello and little debbies).
Now I remember drinking a fair share of Pabst in my youth (in high school you bought Red White Blue 12pk for 3.69... unless you had a date, in which case you spent the dollar extra for the Pabst... kuhlassy). As I matured, and really because waistlines grow so quickly, I started moving towards the light beers or drinking fewer good beers instead of drinking an ass load of deer piss. Now, I want to relate to you a story that happened over this last weekend, cause I'm wondering if they've added a new ingredient to Pabst or if I've gone full-on paranoid schizophrenic (people who've looked over my shoulder at the cards I play at the table always assume the latter, but you decide).
I had been drinking a little excessively for about a week in D.C. (not horrible but putting on a pretty sloppy buzz every night). For some reason at the party, the Pabst just seemed to taste so SO SO good. Not sure if I had simply forgotten the joy that a good cheap beer can bring... or if the fun of seeing old friends just put a little sparkle in my taste buds. Whichever the reason, I remember about halfway into the night, going into the cooler and thinking "Wow, I've already drank 13 of the beers and I just feel good." Needless to say I didn't count any after that, but I kept about the same pace going through the whole party, so I'd estimate I put down somewhere between 24 and 30 beers. I actually reached a point at about 4:00am where I started to vommit, and I thought, "I guess this means I'm not going to be able to drink much
more. And went to sleep.
Now as an aside, which will probably be abundantly clear soon enough, I should probably mention my late teens through my twenties. I can't say that I used drugs. That would imply that I was "having some fun" or "partying." No, kiddies, unfortunately, I abused
drugs. I don't know why. I can't say that I was ever really an "addict" of anything (definitely did a long stretch of always smoking pot) in particular... really I just had this very dangerous mentallity that If I could get my hands on it, I wanted to do enough to just "almost" overdose. Because I wanted to feel that "bleeding edge"... know the drug at its most extreme... I often was working well without a net. If a couple friends dropped two hits of acid... I'd take 8 hits... Do you know what its like to go on a 3 week coke bender? I do... however it only took me 40 hours, but I did the same amount as anyone has ever done in 3 weeks. I never touched a needle (thankfully too big a pussy) but if you could snort it, smoke it, eat it, drink it, drop it in your eye, or whatever else... I did it and I can probably tell you the warning signs to look for that will let you know you're about one more hit from dying. I actually envied those people who could eat one mushroom cap and end up naked sitting on top of the dome of the State Capital. I wanted to lose my mind that far, but even with ridiculously high dosages, my fat ass brain would kick in and "explain" everything that was going on around me. I mean c'mon... the walls weren't really moving, your over dilated and light sensitive eye were just twitching so fast that you could never get a real "fix" on the pattern. Neurons and receptors were either slowed down so you caught stuff late, or over excited so that the messages got jumbled... But, there was no true enlightenment down that road. There are some things I do consider benefits about this time, but mostly it was just training myself to see the ridiculousness around me. And, at least I always thought, I had escaped more or less unscathed. Sure I probably have a heart the size of a sperm whale's, a liver that looks like a dryed out luffa soaked in motor oil, and I sure as hell am not swimming the English Channel anytime soon with the .25 ounce lung capacity left from multiple nights of a 6 foot bong, but... I kept my precious brain for the most part. I have only one short-circuit (besides my continously playing losing poker) that I know happened during my binges. On one particularily heavy use night... I actually felt something "pop" right around the center of my brain. A little bit above the stem, and a little inside, between the lobes. When that happened, I instantly became overly
paranoid about fire. I can tell you childhood traumas that probably helped this particular paranoia choose its form, but it was almost like a forced hallucination that I couldn't "shake". Anywhere were light met shadow (under coffee tables.. between couch cushions... in closets... behind dressers..etc etc) It looked like the light was "flickering" and I swore I could "see" smoke. When it was at its worse I could even smell
the smoke. Now this particular bad side effect only seemed to happen when I did a certain drug... so I stopped doing that drug and thought it was all cured. However, I can tell you that to this day, if I "stress" my body too much... (think over-exercising or caught outside on a hot Texas day with no shade) this fucking gem will creep back into my consciousness. Usually never as stong as it once was when percipitated by drug abuse, but its the one permanent damage I did to my brain in all those years of abuse (or at least the one I KNOW of). Really, when it happens nowadays, I can usually get a handle on it. Its usually not that intense, and I can generally just tell myself, oops the little friend is back... try to ignore him. Which will take me back to my original story.
On Sunday morning I woke up with what I would have called a "bad" hangover... not horrible, but pretty shaky. I didn't quite realize that what was saving me from this being a 4 alarm full blown comatose hangover was that I was probably still quite drunk. However, it was 10:00am and I sure as hell didn't want to help clean up after the party we had just had, and I had been begging my friend for a week to invite me on his boat for some wakeboarding and such. In the pantheon of bad ideas I've had in my life, thinking that a little sun and water (and maybe even hair of the dog) would help me crush the hangover that was slowly getting worse by the second is definitely in the top 4 (I'm always adjusting the list to reflect these "damn well old enough to know better" years. IE... when you're 8 years old, trying to jump a car with your bicycle just isn't as stupid considering an 8 year old's mental awareness of basic physics and brittleness of bones... when I did it again, stoned out of my gourd at age 23... well, that was just stupid). However, like a trooper I'm at the dock at 11:00, not really raring to go, but excited about the possibility of fun happening.
Fun did not happen. Fun wasn't even in town that week. There were 2 guys who were avid wakeboarders, my friend who had done it about 3 time in his life, and me who would have been puking upon stepping foot on the boat, but had absolutely nothing left in my stomache form the earlier episode. Of course the 2 pro wake boarders want crystal smooth water and preferably no other boat in sight. That translates to powering about 45 minutes up the ridiculously choppy lake to hind some hidden treasure of a cove. If you've ever seen any of the old vietnam films with the 4 guys riding a huey in bad weather to escape dinang or whatever current dmz they are in, it was a little worse than that. We finaly find a cove that meets everyone's needs (well, except mine, but I doubted even another 45 minutes would have found the cove that my bed and down comforter was in). When we finally do stop, I realize that my back molars are caked with mushy stuff... I'm thinking, maybe a little left over from puking before? or Perhaps I did actually puke again but not enough for it to come out. That's when I realize that the residue on my back molars is actually parts of the rest of my teeth. I had been clenching down on my jaw so hard to keep from puking on all the giant drops and bangs, I had pretty much pulverized a layer or two of enamel. I drop in to the water and pray to puke... nothing. I'm literally on empty. This fantasy cove they have found also has the nice environmental addition of not having a single tree anywhere with in 50 yards of the water. So the entire day consisted of me forcing myself not to puke while the boat was moving (like I could if I wanted to) and then me getting even sicker
anytime the boat would stop and the 2,000 degree Texas sun sat boring hole through my scalp down to my liver. By the time I finaly headed home... I was in about the roughest condition I've ever been in in my life. I knew this was going to be a rocky night, when I was about 1 block from my house and I farted... and all of sudden I got so light-headed and dizzy that I almost passed out right behind the wheel.
Suffice to say, I wasn't all that surprised that around 8:00 that night my little "fire" halucinations started. I still hadn't been able to eat a single thing. I managed to sort of swallow two spoonfuls of chicken noodle soup, but between the hangover, the heat stroke, and the lockjaw I had developed from clenching on the boat, my body just wasn't going to trust me to put anything
into it. What really sucked was that instead of forcing myself to ignore my hallucinations, I thought maybe they'd be shortlived, so I let em out to play for awhile. Once I had given them the go ahead, and I might add I was really too weak and tired to fight them anyways, they multiplied in intensity every 30 minutes. By the time I try to go to bed, I spend the next 2 or 3 hours waking up in fits of paranoia. In the years after I stopped my errant ways, I had gotten twinges of this before, but this was everybit as intense as the first time it ever happened. My wife, god bless her and really just the greatest person on earth, is doing everything she can to Wavy Gravy me back down to earth. I'm, half convincingly, apologizing and chiding myself at the same time. I keep repeating, I KNOW what I'm seeing is paranoid fantasy and not real. But, it just looks so damn real to me. At about the end of the 3 hours, I'm just completely exhausted and have beaten the hallucinations back down to a minor annoyance. I just about can fall asleep and really at this point... the whole damn house could REALLY be on fire for all I care, I need to sleep. Thats when it went off the deep edge for me.
I'm laying there, starting to calm down and repeating my mantra of "flashback... not real" over and over in my head. Its really starting to work. However, you know how you can tell what your brain is thinking even without the inner monologue sometimes? My brain is sitting there churning through this whole, "well, looks like you won this round, schmuck... guess I can't fuhreak you out with that fire stuff anymore...." I'm thinking, thats right, biatch... I've just prison-owned my subconscious... genius prevails. I was tempted to raise my hand in a fist triumphantly at this point, but then my subconscious I guess got pissed. I heard this voice way WAYYYyy deep down inside the recess of my brain say, "OK... no more fire.... how about... I dunno... the wicked witch of the east"... BOOOM!!! no more than 2 feet from me in full lifelike form the little green witch-bitch appears rubbing her slimy claws together and moving towards me. This is in a word terrifying
to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not particularly scared of the wicked witch. Part of me is actually proud and enthralled by the immense level of detail I've somehow conjured up. I mean I could see the flippin pores
on her face. The problem I have is that this is a complete mental snap. After years of hallucinigenic drug use I know what a "hallucination" should be and what it shouldn't be. A hallucination consists of you taking the physical around you, and in various ways, misreading it, or confusing it so badly that your mind fills in gaps to make the visuals happen. This was full-blown, straight jacket time, seeing in full wonderous detail an object that was not even remotely there. There was no trick of misread light or shadow. Eyes fully open and cognizant of the room around me, and some sick fucking character before me that as far as my mind was concerned, had I thrown something at it, it probably would have bounced off of it.
It takes me a good long moment to cope with this one. I finaly have to do some mental gymnastics around the whole issue so that I can get through to my brain, that no matter how damn real that looks, there just is no way that the fucking wicked witch of the east is glowering at me from 2 feet away. This slowly makes the witch just sort of dissapate away from the room. Kind of a cool effect... not sure If I had ever seen that in a movie somewhere or what, but slowly, then accelerating, the "vision" just started to lose detail until when I tried to remember all the detail I had seen before, I really couldn't and it was just gone. I quickly found out that getting rid of the witch was about the dumbest mistake I could have made. Hell, she wasn't hurting anybody, and really I probably could have slept peacefully 2 feet from her the whole night and not really cared. All I really did by using logic to overcome the hallucination was up the ante for my subconscious to really screw with me. The next clear vision was again preceded by a small inner voice. I couldn't quite make out the words, as it was in a whisper, but it was something to the effect of, "Witch doesn't scare you? Too surreal? how about creepy looking homeless guy hanging out in the hallway by the bedroom?
Oh.... good show brain. Kudos. I said bring it, and my subconcious got me right at my worst. Broughted!!! My Friends... Broughted!!! Again, no trick of the light or anything like that. Just a full on hallucination so real that there was no way I could just sit there and "hope" that this was another trick of my brain. I shoot out of bed like a madman. I was screaming something like, "What the HELL is this." but as soon as I took 2 steps towards it, it recoiled backwards and then just disappeared right before my eyes no more than 6 inches from the hand I had outstretched to grab it. All I can do is curl up in a ball on my wife's lap and weep, "I'm sorry... I have gone insane." A small condolence that she really deserves better than to be married to a completely commitable lunatic. I don't mind admitting that I was really flippin scared. I powered through my earlier years with a reckless abandon that had this night occured 7 years ago, I would have lit some candles and started a band with my new freakshow friends that only live in my head. Now, I have a wife I care the world about, a good paying job... a fucking
mortgage... I can't afford to go insane.
I realize that there is no shutting this off tonight. So, I lay back down as still as I can make myself, whisper just slightly audibly, "There is nothing in the darkness, just my own insanity..." I make two clenched fists, and I just let go. For the next 4 or 5 hours I am treated to a symphony of the most whacked up crap my brain can come up with. Sometimes its enough to make me sit up or push on a corner of the pillow that has now taken the form of some Barnum-esqe mummified mermaid baby... For the most part, the visions aren't particularly scary. Except those that are the form of otherwise normal looking people walking around in my house. I don't know why, but when the greyish-bat-winged-half skelton-monkey came rushing towards my head at full speed with teeth glaring, I mostly had to just sit there and be impressed by how truly gory a vision it was, but when it looks like a normal 8 year old girl curled up in a ball in the corner of the room and just staring at me with a quizical look on her face... now that shit shook me to the core. For the most part, the hallucinations are almost comically grotesque... Like if you combined Dr. Suess characters with things Tim Burton has done. Oh... reminds me... personal favorite: Circuitry Face man. Picture a well built mexican wrestler dressed head to toe in a black body suit and instead of a head... or a mask... there is this Tron-ish 3d wireframe of circuits glowing that really bright LCD green. He stayed around the longest... just kind of hung out in the middle of the room doing a really slow, expressive ballet dance while all the other hallucinations came and went.
I really thought it was byebye time for me. The intensity and number of the hallucinations just kept growing exponentially until they filled the bedroom. The thought that these may be with me from here on out started to pass my mind. Then around the crack of the new morning glinting through the curtains, I decided I needed to get rid of some of the more "really sick" ones. Hell, I can always "pretend" not to see the other ones when I'm out in public... This should work fine. At first it was damn near impossible to do, unless I got out of bed walked over and took a physical swipe at it. That worked really well, but like I said, the bedroom was freak ghosts from my mind in spades. Not to mention, I thought if Shannon wakes up to see me taking blind haymakers in the dark, this is no longer a problem just in my head... this might be the first sign she should start sleeping someplace "safe". So in the end I worked on just staring at them and "wishing them away. I'd look at them, wish they were gone, close my eyes tight and reopen them. The first couple took 4 or 5 attempts at closing my eyes, wishing then opening. But after dispatching 2 or 3 of them in this fashion, I could vanish them to dust with one blink. A couple of them could tell, and looked frightened when they realized my gaze had fallen upon them.
I got them all gone and finally got about 4 hours of real sleep that I desperately needed. I don't know where this all came from. I don't know why I'm even telling anyone else about it. All I can say is that I'm positive it was a result of hangover and heatstroke and probably will never happen again. I do now that during a decade of drug abuse, I never saw anything even approaching this level of insanity. I don't know if this was a product of that or what. Perhaps the cherry from the last smoked joint, or a particularily bad soup of LSD trapped in some spinal tissue that waited for the lake sun to sweat it back out into my system. More than likely it was the raging fever and stomache ache I was nursing and my mind just could deal better with the freaks, clowns, and aparitions than with the pain I was in.
Definitely going to be early tonight. Hopefully, directly and only with Shannon... Of course, I've never asked... You guys who've met Shannon... she's real right? I haven't just been saving an empty seat next to me at the poker table and you guys humor me? Nothing seems totally impossible after all that.