As a former drug addict, I am familiar with both sides of addiction. On one side you have normal people, who hate addicts and wish they’d all hurry up and die. On the other side you have the addicts themselves, who wish exactly the same thing. That’s the one thing we all have in common: We all think junkies are pieces of shit.
Alcoholics are just as bad as druggies, if not worse. For one thing, drug addicts know that their poison of choice is illegal and thus are forced into darkened corners when they want to use. Sure, they’ll stumble around and beg for change to get what they want, but once they’ve scrounged enough cash together for a fix, they generally have the decency to destroy themselves in private.
Drunks beg for change far less, as their favored intoxicant is much cheaper than most illicit substances. But drunks have the annoying tendency to hang out in public because theirs is a sociable drug. There’s nothing worse than a disgusting loser who wants to be friends with everybody, or, as is far more common, takes a perverse pleasure in trying to intimidate passersby because daddy didn’t hug them enough as a child. I couldn’t give a fuck about the latter group and when I see them passed out on the sidewalk, it takes every bit of resolve I have not to cave in their miserable heads with my size thirteens. The saddest part is that they’d probably thank me as I did it.
I get into so many arguments with belligerent drunks and junkies that I’m beginning to lose count. They harass everyone in my locality—few of them are above trying to guilt-trip or scare mothers walking with their children into handing over change—but the difference with me is that I refuse to simply ignore them or to feign any degree of respect. When some degenerate staggers up to me and says, “’scuse me man, you got any—” I immediately cut them off with a quick “nah” and look at them like the pathetic wastes of space that they truly are. They don’t like that.
They’ve felt so entitled and defensive for so long that whenever someone deviates from their version of how the whole exchange should go down, they don’t know how to handle it, and all those years of nihilistic self-loathing explode outwards into a humiliating display of rage. Sometimes it’s not even about money; the other week I nearly came to blows because some porky drunkard put his hand on my shoulder and asked me my name, and I told him not to touch me. He immediately began flipping out. He couldn’t conceive of why anybody wouldn’t want some bloated bottom-feeder touching them while trying to make friendly conversation.
All I could do was start laughing at him. How do you reason with a person so profoundly stupid and confused? The only reason he didn’t punch me is because he was too tanked-up to coordinate an assault, and the only reason I didn’t punch him is because if I hit every volatile reject who crossed my path I would be locked up for a very long time. I wish I had the authority to sterilize these people, to put them down like dogs, and to pump them full of liquor and drugs until their hearts exploded. They don’t want to live, but they’re too gutless to kill themselves, so they drag out their tawdry existences while begging for the universe to send some benevolent force to do it for them. Sometimes I think that I might be that force, but then I remember that’s how Travis Bickle got started, so I take a step back and do some breathing exercises.
With all of this said, I am actually working toward a career in helping these miserable clowns because I used to be one of them (sans the street begging and harassment part), and somebody had the kindness to reach out and help me. Much like many religious fundamentalists I would rather convert than kill them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t fantasize about it a little. I love and care for these people as I find them, but experience has taught me that they’re almost impossible to like—that is, unless you’re loaded on the same stuff they’re doing. I’m sure after a tall boy and some Valium, they’re a gas.