Full DisclosureFriday, November 23, 2012
For reasons that escape me my friends have always told me to relax and let go and have offered me and even forced me to try all forms of drugs. Most never worked proving how powerful a mind can be when it decides to be contrary. In Mexico I was given peyote and my friends watched as I retched without any hallucination. The best and most powerful hashish given to me in the early 89s on Wreck Beach by Maurice Depas, the lead singer of Maurice and the Clichés, did nothing for me except give me a terrible stutter.
I remember once having consumed half a bottle of my roommate’s Bourbon in Austin, Texas. It was 1960. I wanted to find out what it was like to be drunk. My roommate arrived and when he saw the empty bottle on the floor he kicked and kicked me and left me black and blue. I felt the pain then and even more in the morning. I never experimented again.
Until my migraines left me I was prescribed a drug called Gravegol. I was so afraid of addiction that I would ignore all the sings of an incoming migraine until it was too late. I would then swallow two capsules. After 30 minutes I could assert that had my mother-in-law entered the room I would have greeted here with all love and affection. If she were to have shouted in my ear I would have simply floated away. I was aware that I could have peddled my prescription on Granville and helped pay for my mortgage. I never did and I avoided when possible taking the pills that seemed to deaden the world around me.
While teaching in a private high school in Mexico City my students asked me a couple of times what my take on smoking weed was. My response, not based on any practical experience was this one:
You can eat a tomato in two ways. You can buy a pale imitation of a tomato at the supermarket and sprinkle it with MSG and a tad of salt. You can then enjoy it. Or you can patiently wait for your backyard tomatoes to ripen and then pull them out, one at a time and consume them with relish.
Most of my students caught on that the tomato in my story represented life.
A few years ago I was enjoying a rock show at Gary Taylor’s Rock Room. A chubby woman with a warm smile came up to me and asked, “Are you Alex Waterhouse-Hayward?” I nodded in the affirmative. She asked me to open the palm of my right hand and deposited a mound of white powder. I did not want to offend nor did I want to waste what looked to be a powder of some value so I did the obvious (my first and last time). She came back later and asked me, “How was it?” I felt like an actor in a movie after a one-night-stand being asked the same question while trying to get out of bed as silently as possible. All I could reply was, “It felt like walking up the stairs to the street from the New York City subway on a hot evening. I felt a rush of cold air.” She looked at me oddly and disappeared for the night.
From the above you now know that my father was an alcoholic and perhaps because of it I have avoided drugs and alcohol. My father was a burrero (he bet on the horses) and was excellent at cards especially the Argentine game of truco. I have never gambled. I have never purchased a lottery ticket.
By 1954 my mother had contracted a terrbile disease of the inner ear that began with a loud ringing and as the auditory nerve damage progressed she became deaf and lost her sense of balance. She had moments of nausea when her whole world was spinning and she would ask me to hold on to her bed so that it would not move The ringing went from one ear to the other. She had vertigo ménière's. Many who did not know her thought she was drunk most of the time because of the way she walked and talked. I knew that Dwight D. Eisenhower's wife Mamie had the same disease and since in those days privacy was still important most thought that she had an alcohol problem.
I will staunchly defend the fact that I am heterosexual without rejecting that I understand a female side of myself and that I have been prone to crying in films. One of my first cousins was one of the first in our family to die of AIDS and I have a few aunts (one was a horseman who was decorated by General MacArthur) and cousins who never liked men.
Sometime around 1983 I came down with the mumps while living in Burnaby. The doctor, upon examining me apologetically said, “You are my first case of male, adult mumps. I am going to have to read about it and I will get back to you.” I subsequently found out that had I gone for a laboratory sperm count I would have been told that my Rosemary’s cat (Casi-Casi her cat now) and I had our inability to procreate in common.
I swear that the above pretty well reveals to anybody still reading this, that it sums up most of my life’s embarrassments, lack of addictions and other personal indiscretions and trivia of no major importance.
A periodical art director I may have met 15 years ago in an email revealed to me, just a few weeks ago that the reason for not acknowledging the receipt of my duly delivered photographic files had to do with the uproar in a month were spouse had to be committed. I told my wife who said, “It has to be a joke.” Since my wife does not facebook I could not convince her that this was no joke.
We now live in an age of absolute disclosure. Can anybody forget the Prince of Wales telling his mistress, “I want to be reincarnated as your tampon.”? I never have and I will probably won’t be alive (and glad of it) when that man becomes king.
It was in Rachel Maddow’s program a few weeks ago on MSNBC where I first heard the term “professional narcissist”. This describes those folks who change their profile photograph in facebook daily and further compound the gazing upon themselves with more wide-angle distorted, red-eyed, mouth-opened, self portraits “improved” by the squaring of Instagram. These folks inform us that they are about to have a gluten-free slice at Papa John’s and then post a sunset overlooking English Bay.
These are the folks who are paranoid that facebook, other social media, the media, the Harper Government, the neo-conservatives, and Telus know everything that is to know about them and that privacy has to be protected.
Lastly when I was 15 I did not dare ask Ana María Ramos to be my girl. I would have died with an absolutely red face had I even approached that heavenly apparition.
Folks now at that age meet people they have never seen before. Text them and in a few hours or at most a day or to, the level of communication reaches one of extreme intimacy. In some cases (and I speak of ancillary experience) these texting partners dump each other without ever having held hands in three-dimensional space.
It was only last year, after 43 years of marriage that my Rosemary informed me that she did not like my cucumber sandwiches. Since then I have taken off the menu what I thought was my legendary gruyere cheese omelette. I have given up trying to disguise asparagus as something else. Had I known all this 43 years ago I might have not married her (my eldest daughter Ale has never discussed the curious fact that her birthday is very close to her parents’ wedding anniversary) or we would have had fights and a subsequent messy divorce.
If you know everything there is to know about someone before you become their life partner, what can possibly be left to a life of mystery discovered?
I must confess that in the old days when Rosemary used to fly east to visit her mother I would make it a point to fry up a large T-bone steak. After consuming it while reading a novel, or a newspaper at the table (such bliss!) I would pick up the plate and lick it from one side to the other. I am not embarrassed at all to disclose this here. I sleep with a night shirt. Sometimes I bring a tin (previously chilled in the fridge) of condensed milk and a spoon to bed and...