I'm sitting here under my most-fabulous earphones, the one's I use in the recording studio, listening to a jazz LP made in 1961 by a fellow Texan, Booker Telleferro Erwin; I'm chillin' on this jazz, otherwise I almost flipped out this morning and pinned instructions on my jammies to take me straight to the backside loony bin of Bellevue Hospital just up the street from me. I'm flippin' out because of the noise; the noise of progress going on suddenly in New York City--and I say suddenly since this has all happened so suddenly, within a span of 5 years. During that time I've seen 14 new 30+ (5 of them 55 stories) story luxury apartment buildings go up within the view out my windows. Now #15, a 2000-room hotel, is going up just two blocks out my little westside side window, and the noise from that site blows right through my windows and sits 10-ton wrecking bulldozers activated and angry right in the room with me; plus now I have the illegal South American immigrants over my head tearing the retaining wall off the top of my building, using a small hand-held jackhammer to hack those brick walls down, over me now but still on the west walls, though they are coming around to one day be tearing that wall down right above me. I went to my landlord and got it off my chest. He gave me the "no speakee Ingrish" treatment, though he's not Chinese but he is foreign and has foreign money behind him; he's either Israeli or he's a Indian or Paki; nobody knows except him and I don't really give a crap what he is; whatever part of the world he's from, he's now a New York City landlord, and that means his main goal is to rid this building of it's low-rent-paying bum tenants...ah shit; I don't want to even dwell on it.
Why do CDs slip and skip? I thought CDs were going to be the miracle storage facilities for 21st-century sounds. I thought you were suppose'ta be able to run a ten-penny nail across a CD surface and it would still play smooth--it's a laser, right? Maybe it's a factory defect. See how many different angles you have to consider to solve problems in today's getting-lousier-and-lousier world?
How much better off my parents were than I am. I mean by the time they were my age they were dead, of course, but until then they owned three cars, two houses, several pieces of land, had complete Blue Cross health coverage, life insurance policies--amazing--and then dying with a savings account with 1800 bucks in it and 800 bucks in their checking account.
I'm stuck in life with a cheap-ass rent-subsidized holy hell apartment in the belly of the whale that is Manhattan Island, no health insurance since I got fired and to continue my health coverage from the company I worked for would have cost me $5,000 a year and that for minimum coverage, you know, a thousand-buck deductible. Free checkups though; oh hell yeah, free checkups. Checkups are where doctors find the 1,000s of different horrors in your body--one at a time--"I'm worried about your blood pressure, it's pretty high for a white guy...I'm gonna script you some of this here Lipitor--hell, and while I'm at it, how 'bout some Geodon to take with that?" "What's Geodon?" "A schizophrenia drug." "Damn, am I schizophrenic? You're a GP, right? How do you know I'm schizophrenic?" "Didn't you check yourself into the loony bin at Bellevue a few summers back?" "You got me, Doc; OK, script me some Geodon. What else you got in that free drug drawer?" "How 'bout warfarin?" "What's that?" "A medicine for diabetes." "Why not? Everybody gets diabetes eventually, don't they?" "That's what I was taught at Harvard Med." "Ok, warfarin it is. How 'bout a NSAID, Doc?" "I got a drawer full of 'em here, you want a script for one of them, too?" "Why not? It's better to be prepared than to be sorry later. It's kind'a like fightin' the Iraqi insurgents--I'd'rather fight 'em overthere than overhere." "Excellent thinking. Here ya go, a handful of scripts; I gave you a couple'a scripts for some experimental pharmas a Pfizer rep sent me in that mix, too." "Great, Doc. I feel invigorated already and I haven't popped one pill yet." "That's the idea, my boy--you know the placebo sometimes works, too." "Hey, that's right, Doc, how 'bout a script for some sugar pills while you're in a writin' mood." "Good thinking. Sometimes the patient outwits the doctor. Heh-heh. Here'ya go, 1000 sugar pills, a placebo gold mine, and only 4 bucks a pill; amazing how Pfizer and the big pharmas keep their prices so low." "Thank God for the pharmas, Doc." "Amen to that, brother." "So, Doc, when's my next checkup." "How 'bout tomorrow at 3; that all right with you?" "Sounds good to me, Doc." "Eleanor will book you...take it easy, and thanks for helping me out with these scripts. I'll have several more handsful tomorrow; I think the Merck rep is comin' in later today and he'll certainly bring some goodies with him, like Vioxx, maybe?" "Hot damn, Doc, I can't wait, let's do another checkup NOW!" "Great thinking. I like you, my man. You ever tried codiene...like mainlining it?" "Sounds hip, Doc, here let me roll up my sleeve...shoot the juice to me, Bruce."
And my mother and father died on the highway in a brand new Mercury automobile on which my mother had taken out a travelling insurance and then had raised her automobile insurance to triple indemnity in case of a deadly accident. Isn't that great I had a mother who worried about every move she made every day?; "That looks dangerous to me, woe is me, that could kill me, so, woe, I better be prepared...." Thanks to my mother's sense of insecurity my brother and I split a big cash settlement from the insurance company, more money than all my family's properties sold far. It's amazing how my brother and I took that money freed ourselves--he quitting the newspaper business and becoming a writer and me marrying a Mexican-Choctaw-Welsh girl and boogy-ing off around the world looking for fame, fortune, and glory and instead loving the life we loved but that life not bringing in a sou and soon we were broke and in New York City living on Sutton Place, East Side, in an apartment with a dining room that overlooked the East River and the 59th Street Bridge (the bridge over troubled waters), and my wife had to get a job and damn if she didn't land an executive job--maybe she screwed the bosses, I don't know, though she was a brilliant and pragmatic girl with a woman's brain with which she had the ability to amazingly straighten out the affairs of fabulously rich men who in turn shot her up from a starting salary of 11,000 a year to where only 4 years later she was making 42 grand a year with shares in her company worth over 250,000 bucks; plus, her old boss left her several 1000 shares of Macmillan Oil Company stock, which was in my name and when we got divorced she sent her lawyer and a legbreaker with him to force me to sign away all those stocks. They forced me to sign 'em; if I'd'a stood me ground I'd be worth millions today. Instead, she died filthy rich and left all her money to her worthless relatives.
an essay by
for The Daily "Psychiatric" Growler