Heroin Addicts: Powerless to a Flower

Poppy-flowerAn old drinking buddy of mine overdosed on heroin recently. He moved out to the Pacific Northwest to skate or die, and wound up doing both, joining a hundred other Americans who go out that way every day. I hadn’t seen or thought about him in years, but by coincidence, I was in town when he passed. A mutual friend told me there would be a memorial at a local skate park. I stopped by to pay my respects.

I found a bundle of droopy balloons hovering over beer can tabs, a condom wrapper, and a melted candle. Mourners had written dedications all over the squeaky balloon skins. One was signed in Runes. It read (with no corrections):

They will except
you in the Hall of Valla
you died during battle
I shal try to avenge you!


I can only assume that by “Hall of Valla,” this grammatically challenged Viking meant Valhalla: the otherworldly Nordic kingdom reserved for warriors who die fighting. As my sadness subsided, the irony hit me like a dwarf wielding a war-hammer. No misspelled romanticism could change the fact that the deceased—like so many other people in my life—had died on the battlefield of the soul, where he surrendered to his own weakness…

Read the rest at disinformation