Acid Heroes

May 11, 2016

The therapy group


Back in the late 70s, early 80s this little old lady friend of mine named Mikal lived on the second floor of this apartment building, the two windows on the right. I met her through my pal Duncan who was in the same therapy group as Mikal.
The first therapy group Duncan was in, two of the members committed suicide, a third member got up on the roof of a building and started shooting people, and Duncan, the fourth member, had to find a new therapy group.
Mikal was small, she looked like an aging elf with a short Napolean haircut. Mikal was typical of a certain kind of person you meet on the fringe of society. They can’t really plug into anything. They just sort of drift through life pointlessly until they finally die. Mikal spent most of her time alone in her apartment drinking tall cans of Budweiser and bottles of Nyquil cough syrup and chain smoking cigarettes while she stared aimlessly at her television.

After the group therapy session the whole group would often hang out at Mikal’s apartment drinking coffee and beer and smoking cigarettes. There were five of them.  Aside from Mikal and Duncan there was Virgil, this bald and portly guy in his 30s who lived with his mother and kinda’ reminded me of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Virgil was always smiling and making these witticisms that were supposed to be funny and/or insightful but never were. Whenever he passed an attractive woman on the street he’d make some leering comment like, “Boy I’d like to suck on her oranges!!” Which was odd since everyone knew he was gay. Occasionally Virgil would try to come across as a tough guy: “If I had a machine gun, why, I’d blow that bastard Reagan away!!”

Then there was Scott, this young Jewish guy from New York who despised Virgil. “Would you shut the fuck up, you idiot Virgil,” was his response to just about everything Virgil said. But they always sat right next to each other, so it was sort of like a Laurel & Hardy routine. Scott was another one who couldn’t muster much interest in anything, aside from smoking marijuana and an obsession with his Jewish identity and despising Virgil which he found great meaning in.

Then there was Wendy, the drama queen. She always brought plenty of hankies for her latest sob-fest. And the group would rush to hug her and comfort her. Wendy was one of those people who their personal problems was their only real interest in life. She was constantly regaling the group with her latest hardships and tragedies, while somehow finding the strength to carry on. Every day was dark, cold and stormy in Wendy’s universe. She was around 40 and you could tell she had been attractive as a young woman but was just on the verge of falling apart. She was drawn to the world of prostitution and heroin, probably because it offered her ample opportunities for the misery she craved. Last I heard she was living in a flophouse drug-and-welfare hotel in a rough part of Oakland. And then you didn’t hear any more about Wendy.

The weird thing, from my perspective, was to be hanging with a group of people that had even more problems than me.









1 Comment »

  1. I finally came to the conclusion that the world IS flat, and people do fall off of it and are never seen or heard from again. This can include family members.

    Comment by Deborah K Jamil — May 12, 2016 @ 4:29 am | Reply

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