The Captain and I (part 3 of 4)

19 Feb

(Part One)

(Part Two)

So yes, when I was suffering from a massive depression caused by a legitimate disaster that was (partially) my own fault, I drowned my anti-depressants in alcohol. At this point I was enamored with vanilla vodka and orange soda which, as I’ve surely told you if we’ve ever drank together, tastes exactly like an orange dream-cicle. “You know,” I’d have told you, “like when we were kids.” (Someone three years past the age of majority doesn’t really get to talk about childhood as some distant epoch, but they do it anyway). Needless to say, the anti-depressants didn’t do their job terribly well.

I struggled through another whole year of college, now an English major because: I’m a fairly talented writer and people like to read my things, artists are by-and-large intolerable and self-centered pricks, and I needed to change majors because art school had largely kicked me out. I did very well when I bothered to, once I understood the “culture” of the English department I got to writing quite well. I never bothered to do inconsequential stuff like reading the other student’s pieces, or the assigned reading, or anything the professors handed me. I would get out of school, spend a few hours brooding near my girlfriend, whose incredibly endurance with this behavior should have warranted some form of medal, then go home and drink.

Drinking helped my writing. I wrote some real masterpieces drunk. If you look back at some of the incoherent and emotional messages I sent my friends, family, and girlfriend you’d surely demand I was given a Pulitzer. My cryptic and impossible to decipher allegory in status messages (Michael Potter sure wishes someone would call him) will garner a Nobel (in Passive-Aggression) someday. None could hold back the tears evoked by my half-finished songs with no perceptible rhythm and the most tenuous of rhyme schemes. Finally, who couldn’t identify with the sad-twenty-something-male misunderstood by everyone who was the protagonist in so many no-where-near-finished half stories, and who was TOTALLY not a shitty doppelganger of myself.


To the incredible surprise of no-one, I did not pull my grades above the 2.0 needed to stay in school. And so in June I was told that I would not be returning to IUPUI for the Fall 2009 semester. This piece of news was just a fragment of the joy 2009 brought. Believe it or not I’m tired of going on about it. Suffice to say the girlfriend lost her patience, followed quickly by my job. One friend was in the grips of his own crumbling relationship, one was in Germany studying life, one was in Ohio being a productive member of society, and the other was fighting for said society in Iraq. Lacking anything to celebrate and anyone to celebrate with, I cut the shit and started taking drinking seriously.

Late 2009 and early 2010 are not fuzzy because drinking makes it hard to remember; that is one effect of alcohol I rarely ever deal with.  They are fuzzy because when you’re depressed, your mind doesn’t remember things well. Your short term memory goes to hell. It’s not just that you can’t remember happy things, you don’t remember the sad things either. I continued dutifully taking my medicine, washing it down with a Berringer Chardonnay or a Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. It was a wonderful time, I made a great show out of my “break-up beard” and churned out several emotionally-earnest if ridiculously unsophisticated stories. But mostly I drank, a lot. (The astute reader will realize the author has switched to wine. This is because the author was reading Hemmingway. Of note: don’t read Hemmingway if you’re depressed).

When not killing yourself is the excuse for your nightly celebration, you have begun to approach what experts refer to as “rock bottom.”

(To Be Continued)


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