On Monday night, I drove to a hospital some 30 miles away to visit my brother. He was unconscious and is unlikely to come out of it. There was a machine helping him breathe. It wasn't the Wuhan Flu, it was the byproduct of looking out for number one. Sex and drugs and rock and roll, if you will.
My brother is 6 years older than I am. Growing up, he always looked down on me in scorn for having been the conservative, little twerp. While he was banging chicks and dealing and using drugs, I was engaging in only the mildest forms of self-indulgence. Between 6th and 7th grade, he introduced me to regular marijuana use. I discovered I didn't like it as I noticed my ambition dissolving into nothingness, even when I wasn't high. I suppose I should thank him as I didn't pick up the habit after that.
Still, even while his own life was lurching from one disaster to another, I always felt he had a worldliness and a set of experiences that I lacked. I knew it didn't make sense, but I couldn't shake it until I saw him in that bed. I saw what living for today and ditching all the rules meant.
His feet stuck out of the sheets. They had been bandaged at the heels, but his toes weren't covered, except from sores and infections. His knees were scabbed as well. The human body can take a good deal of damage before it quits, but it eventually will quit.
When our mom died and I was the executor of the will, he sued wife kitteh and me. We ended up settling out of court, as described here. He got quite a bit of money and I wondered where it had all gone. He must have worked pretty hard to blow it in such a short period of time. Oh well.
I don't hate him. I never did. I'm not even sure how much of what he did was genetically predisposed. Our maternal grandfather was the stereotypical Irish drunk and our oldest brother died from drugs. Addiction is a common theme among the men in our family, at least on my mother's side. Was it something he could have successfully fought? Who knows?
Whenever I hear people advocate for legalizing drugs, I wonder how many drug addicts they've known.
In any case, he was the textbook example of someone who followed his passions, followed his dreams, took care of himself and lived for today.