Acid Heroes: the Legends of LSD

October 5, 2015

One of my favorite Charles Bukowski stories

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Bukowski was friends with the famous actor Sean Penn at this point.  For most of his life Bukowksi had been a skid row alcoholic bum.  But at this point, Bukowski was the Famous Writer.  So he’s hob-nobbing with the likes of Sean Penn.  So Sean recommends that Bukowski sees his personal doctor — this great Beverly Hills doctor.  The doc runs all these sophisticated tests — blood tests, x-rays, charts and graphs.  The whole deal.  But they still can’t figure out what’s wrong with Bukowksi.

So one day, Bukowksi is taking one of his cats to the vet.  Bukowski was a cat lover.  Always a good sign.  The vet had his office in a seedy part of town.  And he dealt with a lot of poor people.  He took one look at Bukowski and said:  “You have tuberculosis.”  He didn’t need any charts and graphs to recognize it.  Tuberculosis is a poor man’s disease.  Which is why all the rich Beverly Hills doctors didn’t recognize it.   They had never even seen a case of tuberculosis.

Of course the Beverly Hills doctor was embarrassed when he realized the vet was right.  So the doc prescribed  some meds to deal with the TB.  And in a couple of months Bukowski was feeling fine.

The moral?  Doctors are cool.  But even the “experts” get it wrong.  ALWAYS get a second opinion.

Or, maybe the moral, as Adam Parfrey suggested, is:  Don’t hang out with Sean Penn.  And only see a vet as your personal physician . . .  Who knows.  I’m sure there’s a moral in there somewhere.

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