What exactly does it take to recognize that you may have hit rock bottom? Is it when the only things on your grocery list are cold medicine and cat food? Is it when the people working the counter at the liquor store and the drive-thru at McDonald’s suddenly know you by name? Or is it when you catch yourself saying “that sloppy joe was less than stellar” after dinner?
It’s hard to gauge precisely when one bottoms out. I mean, just the other day I helped a tweaked-out junkie at the library apply online for a part-time job at the Dollar General. Surely to God I’m in better shape than she is, right?
Dollar General: the place where dreams are made
They say that it’s always darkest before the dawn, but things have been so awfully dark for so long now that I’m worried I haven’t even hit rock bottom yet and I’m even more concerned that there isn’t going to be a dawn. I simply can’t see anything good coming my way anymore. Even Charlie Brown had enough optimism to believe he would one day get to kick that ball, or fly that kite, or win that baseball game, or receive just one goddamn valentine in his mailbox. I don’t share the same optimism as that hapless loser, and yet, I continue to carry on. But why? I’ll have to think on that and get back to you.
Perhaps the biggest indicator that I may have hit bottom is that it seems like one of the few things I look forward to nowadays is falling asleep. I don’t know why, as none of my dreams are pleasant–all I ever seem to have are nightmares. For instance, the other night I dreamt that I was stuck in a sea of people at the world’s largest outdoor mall on a sweltering day, wearing a sleeveless shirt and covered in second degree sunburns. When I awoke, rather than feel relief at having been delivered from that godawful nightmare, I sighed at the prospect of having to face the day. Nightmares are still less painful than the waking life for the simple fact that dreams aren’t real and reality most certainly is–it’s cold and concrete and certain. The phrase “pinch me, I must dreaming” implies that pain is what separates dreams from reality, and I reckon that’s true. Dreams, as painful as they might seem sometimes, are ultimately harmless–life is quite the opposite.
Sometimes I find myself hoping that the last few years have just been a bad dream–that I’ll wake up and have it be two or three or even ten years ago so that I can do absolutely everything differently. Or maybe I could wake up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette like Bob Newhart did in the finale of his 80s sitcom–that would be okay, too. (Actually, that would be fucking awesome.)
single greatest sitcom finale ever
But unfortunately, there are no do-overs–life doesn’t hand you any mulligans. When we rear back and take a swing, we are stuck with whatever lie we receive, and for some reason I keep on shanking my ball into the damned rough. Sooner or later I’m bound to make it onto the fairway, right? Or is that just Charlie Brown talking?