The Corner Booth in Hell

February 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm (The Easy Chair, Waxing Nostalgic)

I’ve always joked that when the time comes, I will be spending my eternity in hell, in a corner booth with Ozzy Osbourne, Wendy O Williams and Sam Kinison. (And Sharon. It is hell, after all, and someone needs to keep an eye on us.) I’ve just finished reading the autobiography of Ozzy, and I like the sound of that concept more than ever…

I’ve always been an Ozzy fan. Ever since I was given a “demonized” copy of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid (from a church elder, no less) I’ve embraced the darkness. While devil worship wasn’t really my thing, it made as much (or more) sense than the Jehovah’s Witness propaganda I was fed growing up. I read a few books, but felt the whole Prince of Darkness thing was more marketing that actual beliefs. Ozzy made the best drinking music, and it suited my rowdy nature.

After finishing the book, I was amazed at how much Ozzy and I have in common. Most of it is bad-habit related. Finally! Here’s someone (besides maybe Lemmy) who can drink like I can. I used to keep track of how much I drank, until it got too depressing. I’d hear about how much it took someone to get pukin’ drunk, and smile. That would be breakfast for me. I figured I needed to blow a .15 just to make it out the door in the morning. (The bus pass is your friend, mobile alkies.) When I added up how many beers, shots and other liquid supplements it took me to feel “normal”, the amount was literally staggering. Don’t know how I did it, but I did.

Probably the best decision we both made was to stay away from heroin. Those who know me well have always told me to stay away. The recurring phrase? “You’d love it too much.” I don’t always take other people’s advice, but for some reason this took. I’ll gobble a few happy pills on occasion, but I’ve managed to avoid developing an uncontrollable taste for the poppy. Maybe I’ll become a junkie in my 70s… Of course, I have to get there first.

Cocaine? It gave me issues from the get-go. Financial issues. I swore after trying it that I’d only do it if it’s free. Since the only people who give you free coke are trying to hook you or fuck you, I didn’t have much trouble avoiding temptation. If I’d had Ozzy’s finances, I’d probably have a nose in worse shape than Michael Jackson’s. The fact that I watched one friend burn up $125,000 in six months, and another one go mad and commit suicide?Think I’ll stick to the weed, thankyouverymuch…

That didn’t stop me from doing speed. Working man’s coke. I went on a couple runs in my time. The last one was in the mid-90s, and it cost me a tooth or two. It got to the point where it wasn’t working anymore, then the recipe changed. I didn’t feel energized anymore, just jittery and unable to sleep. I can do that naturally.

I haven’t done powders since 1996. I am very proud of that fact, and my nose is grateful.

Aside from bad habits, Ozzy and I share many philosophical similarities. His love of the guys in Black Sabbath, for example. Friends stay friends forever when you go back that far. I have buddies like that. We don’t see each other like we used to, but when we hook up? It’s like nary a day has gone by. We’ve grown, up, out and old, but we’re the same guys deep down. We’ve changed for the better. Who would ever have thought we’d eventually mature?

Regrets? Yeah, a bunch. But it’s over and done. What can you do? Learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

Lately the craving to drink has been popping up. I haven’t had much trouble tamping it down, and reading Ozzy’s book was like attending several AA meetings. I think of the horrible depression that follows, and reiterate: I can do that naturally.

So, it’s another quiet weekend. I could get hammerin’ drunk, and be soberish for work on Sunday, but why? There’s nothing there I haven’t encountered before, and nothing I want to revisit. I’m going, instead, to take a long walk in the sunshine and be damn grateful this winter hasn’t been a snow-slogged ice-bound trial of patience. Exercise, particularly walking, has become my new habit/release, and I am about to indulge myself.

If you see me collapsed breathless on the sidewalk? It’s just my addictive personality telling me I’ve gone too far again.

Don’t call detox, just help me to that bench over there. I’ll be all right. I just never seem to know when to say when…


  1. Kay Lynn said,

    I’m going, instead, to take a long walk in the sunshine and be damn grateful this winter hasn’t been a snow-slogged ice-bound trial of patience.
    That is, of course, unless you live in the Midwest like me, where the snow and ice storms have been likened to the beast in a horror movie that just won’t die. Just when you think you’ve got him beat, he rears his ugly head and comes back for more…

  2. beastard said,

    We had all that snow/ice ickiness last year. This winter has been like springtime. Of course, it’s still February, so we’ll have at least one more cold event. Probably in March.

    Best of luck to everyone back east. Have a snowball fight for me!

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