On the job today I went to a possible 11-44. Someone reported a man down near some bushes adjacent to a drug store. The reporting party thought the man might be dead.
I arrived not really wanting to see the dead guy. A group of firefighters stood in a semi-circle around the body. There was nothing they could do.
I got the rundown from the police officer and headed back to the office. As I drove away the firefighters and the police officer stood looking at the dead man. They were keeping watch over him. Not talking. I took a look as I drove past. A short man with dark black hair neatly dressed in a warm flannel shirt and jeans sat slumped over a bag or a backpack. Beside him was an empty bottle of mouthwash.
That’s what he chose for his last drink. It was deadly.
I guess when we grow older, if we grow older, we bear in mind an accumulation of experiences and associations. We form opinions, negative or positive, about things based on our past.
When I was young I did my share of drinking. Over the years the negative associations with alcohol multiplied to the point where now, when I walk down a liquor aisle in the grocery store I can hear the ghosts, the potential car crashes, bodies being maimed, lives being damaged, families being torn apart.
It seems like a major mistake to have alcohol use be so accepted a part of our culture but people will always find some way to alter their consciousness. William James wrote about it’s being something we crave, but there are surely gentler ways.