the rise and fall of the roman republic, a memoir

I finally came clean to my mom. It was after a friend and I spent the afternoon tripping out on mushrooms. I’m not going to pretend I had any sort of revelation that hadn’t already been simmering in my guts for years, but it was just time to say it. “I’m suicidal.”

She said what moms all over the world would say, the good ones anyway. “Oh, honey.”

There is nothing wrong with mental illness. But it does have to be dealt with. For quite some time I went to a doctor in NY, and he gave me benzos and an SSRI. I never took the latter, but I used to former to mask alcoholism. If you’ve gotta take a customer out to dinner, it’s generally not great if you have the shakes. Benzos were the solution.

Last year, a friend came to stay with me at my apartment in NY. He and I had always spoken really candidly about our various problems. We toured Vancouver Island together, after all, so there was plenty of time to chat. He’s a great guy, even though he, too, is an asshole.

When he was my guest last year, though, I said, “I’m quitting drinking when I’m out of benzos.” I was unemployed and uninsured by then, so I was on my last scrip. I pointed to the pills, probably 20-25 or so, on my desk. There are three left now. There have been three left for a long time.

Yesterday I went to Gloucester, and a friend and I walked along the beach and sat on logs and watched the colors change as the mushrooms set in. I carried a bag with my lunch the whole time, and it became a running joke that I was just a normal dude with a plastic bag, because things are funny when you’re on mushrooms. It was a beautiful windy day, so we decided to lay down on the rocks, and because there were bugs everywhere that was funny, too. When we started to come down, we walked along a ridge of stones, plowed there by the city to protect against the storm-surge from the previous day’s Nor’easter. We slid and fell a lot. I gave my friend’s dog my sandwich, and the apple I’d brought along was too mealy to enjoy so I threw it into the sea.

There are a whole lot of things that are really beautiful in the world. You included.


2 responses to “the rise and fall of the roman republic, a memoir

  1. Dearest Tommy,
    Please don’t leave us here on this mortal coil without you. I love you. Call me. Aunt Mary Ann

  2. Tom…be here

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