Jumping Darkness Parade

JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL PONDERS IF IT’S BETTER TO DIE OR BECOME A SHELL OF A HUMAN BEING

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JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL PONDERS IF IT’S BETTER TO DIE OR BECOME A SHELL OF A HUMAN BEING

There’s a certain look that some people who have made some very fucked-up choices tend to take on, and it really creeps me the fuck out. (Disclaimer – I KNOW THERE’S EXCEPTIONS OUT THERE.) Specifically, I’m talking about that look that ex-meth heads get when they “find God.” Raise your hand if you either know somebody who died of drug-induced stupidity, or know someone who’s death won’t surprise you when they kick the bucket via O.D. or a bad combination of drugs. (Raises hand). You know how when someone is deep into a drug addiction their personality, not to mention their physical appearance, changes for the worse? The substances take a firm grasp of their brain and physiology. Their priorities turn completely upside down. I don’t like being around to witness that because, honestly, I don’t trust the people going through it. Again, their priorities turn completely upside down. How many people here have known those who got so bad into it that they were at the point of ruining their lives? I mean wives or girlfriends leaving, family leaving, friends leaving, job loss, home loss, teeth loss, extreme weight loss, etc. Kind of like this example we all know and love –

JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL PONDERS IF IT’S BETTER TO DIE OR BECOME A SHELL OF A HUMAN BEING

(Raises hand). Have you noticed how it seems like they either die, end up in jail, lose their mind, or become a ridiculous “God” freak? My unprofessional theory is that when someone develops an addiction, they are literally answering to a higher power, which has control over their brain and body chemistry. When they kick the drug habit, on comes “the God habit.” They tend to go for the gold with the “God” thing about as hard as they did with drugs. I guess that could count as having gone insane, too. Despite being clean, they usually don’t get their lives back. Usually they have to rebuild with some like-minded people. I typically don’t like what they become, but then the question is – well, what’s worse? Actually dying, or becoming a shell of a human being? I know the real answer is dying. Obviously. But for the sake of discussion, let’s polarize the issue and compare which one is worse. So don’t slag me for being insensitive.

This whole question comes to mind because of the death of a very close friend of mine last August. With this friend, a good amount of what I mentioned above went down. We last spoke five years before his death. The guy was like my evil twin all through college, and while we had a very fiery and fucked-up friendship ,we had a genuine kinship. After college I started to get super-serious about making something of the music thing, and while he seemed to want the same, the only thing he got serious about was making something out of the rock’n’roll lifestyle thing. Everyone who knows me, knows that I party and I make no secret of it. I’m pro-everything. That said, he got me worried; it was pretty extreme. I tried to help. We had a falling out. Five years later, dude is dead due to a bad combination of drugs and alcohol. In the end, he accomplished none of his goals besides the fulfillment of a death wish. Waste of a life.

Now for the question: Had he “found God” and become a living zombie, would it be the equivalent of his death? Obviously not in the finite sense, but in the sense of him “as we knew him.” Maybe the better question is, had he “found God,” would it have been the equivalent of his drug habit? For his mind at least.

Thinking about this brings up so many other memories of people in my past. One guitar player I used to know. Luminary. Was making a living by 24 just burning his way across town. He was a spectacle of guitar power and skill. He also had a bad coke problem. I guess it got so bad that in the interest of staying alive he did a 180 and “found God.” Long story short, he cut contact with a lot of his friends and also lost that edge in his professional ambitions. By 26 he was telemarketing and playing some side gigs for extra cash. He can still shred your face, but the badass person I once knew is now just a strange shadow of himself.

Or take this guy I went to high school with. He was always a bit nuts, but back in the day he was coherent and a definite type “A.” If I remember correctly, he was even straight-edge. Skip forward ten or so years. We haven’t spoken, my band is now touring, and we meet up in LA. Somehow we end up staying at his apartment because we had nowhere else to go. The dude is doing coke all night, has a loaded 9mm hanging out, is acting paranoid as fuck, and then proceeds to take a combination of vicodin, ambient, xanax, clonopin, prozac, and percocet. Then he went to sleep and snored like a train. Didn’t die, but his mind isn’t there anymore. He is starting to look like the photos above.

Back to my original thought: that look and vibe that people get when they’re fresh off drugs and have found a new higher power makes me uncomfortable, and I want to have nothing to do with it. However, the alternatives are worse. Jail, death, insanity. No-win situation. I guess that’s why, despite the fact that I enjoy partying, I’ve thankfully never been addicted to anything. I don’t want to have to stop because I might die.

Thoughts?

-EL

Levi/Werstler’s debut album, Avalanche of Worms, comes out April 20 on Magna Carta. You can listen to a track and pre-order the release here. You can also follow the project on MySpace and Facebook.

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