Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Human Wrecks

Sometimes I'm startled by the mugshots on KTVZ.

Human Wrecks. 35 year old men and women who look 50 years old. Beady tweeker eyes.

I was showing one particularly alarming picture to a balding friend, and his comment was: "But look how much hair that guy has!"

"Yeah, he's wasting that hair, dammit!" I said.

I don't know. You'd think these pictures would be a warning to young people of the dangers of drugs.

They are starting to show that commercial of the woman who is smoking through her tracheotomy again. Linda commented, "Is that supposed to keep kids from smoking?"

"You'd think it would work. But I'm not sure anything works."

I know that no amount of warning stopped me from smoking as a teenager. I smoked 2 packs a day from the time I was 17 until I was 27. I can't remember what my thinking process was -- actually, I'm not sure there was a thinking process. My friends started smoking, so I did too.

Then there are the human wrecks in the making. Young skinheads with huge neck tattoo's.
Girls with decaying teeth. (None of these people seem to have normal hair -- either it's shaved or wildly out of control-- like their lives.)

I've begun to think we have a permanent class, here. People who have simply given up on life in the straight and narrow, and slam against society's walls, and become human wrecks.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I started chewing Copenhagen at age 15 while at Pilot Butte Junior High. I chewed for 25 years, a can a day, didn't spit. That woman with the trach hole, smoking, and another of a chewer with half his face gone, made me quit! It'll be 10 years this spring. I'll never chew or smoke again. So at least it worked for someone. As for kids (25 and younger?), they think they're immortal.

Let me tell ya, I still miss the Copenhagen. You watch those R.J. Reynolds guys at some Senate hearing saying that tobacco isn't addictive... they're lying.

Jack Goodman said...

And I think it is just indicative of something that is much larger. The truth I think many would be surprised that this group isn't just a small minority in this community either. When you have a growing number of youth that don't want to leave here but an economy that leaves them with little support but service jobs, they start looking out for something to break the monotony of life. I've been sober off hard drugs for some time but my experience has allowed me a way in to the lives of a lot of these people you see today. Maybe not the criminals but those with that potential. I think some grow out of it. Life aligns, they move away, or a plan works out and all is good. But for some Bend is a millstone weighing them down and this sad reality...these "human wrecks"...is what you get as a result. Welcome to generation emo.

Matthew Funk said...

Unfortunately, I've found that Bend has a disproportionate rate of drug/tobacco/alcohol abuse. Granted, I haven't spent tons of time in other cities other than Phoenix,but it just seems like there is way too much crap for a town of our size. Go up and walk around COCC for a bit. You literally can not avoid breathing someone's smoke sometimes. It seems like almost 50% of the people smoke. I never met my grandparents on my mom's side due to their having heart problems from years of smoking. I don't understand what people are thinking.

H. Bruce Miller said...

I smoked from age 16 until age 28. At that point I was up to three packs a day. (In the newspaper business at that time EVERYBODY smoked.) I had an anxiety attack at 28 and thought I was having a heart attack, and that scared me into quitting. Why did I start? To be cool, and because everybody else was doing it. I can't say I ever really enjoyed it.

"But for some Bend is a millstone weighing them down"

I don't understand kids who say bitterly, "I'm stuck in this damn town." Jeez, kid, get in your car or get on the bus or thumb a ride, but GET OUT if you feel that you have no opportunity here. Maybe things won't be better in the next town, but the "stuck in Bend" excuse doesn't fly. There isn't any barbed wire fence around this place.

Anonymous said...

Greetings : )
Why do men and women (society generally) still pre-judge people who have tattoos. women commonly?
I am a 26 year old F, have got 9 tattoos, most of which can't be seen on my every day travels. Five To Six during the summer are pretty much constantly on display. I do not struggle for notice and I have a loving boyfriend Without TATTOOS .I get the impression that a lot of people believe that tattooed people are blind, once we get stared at, even when we return a glance many people carry on looking. When will society improve?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Miller. Just leave! The "stuck in Bend" excuse doesn't fly. It's kinda like people that complain over, and over, and over, that Bend Sux, yet choose to live here and complain loudly and often about it. Hmmmm...?

Anonymous said...

The teenage brain responds powerfully and favorably to all kinds of "risk" behavior. The negatives can actually be an attractant. Add to that the depressive "who gives a shit anyway?" mentality, and the chemical comforts of nicotine, booze, etc. it's only natural that some teenagers are gonna get hooked.

As far as tats go, I always default to something I read in an interview with Brian Setzer. He said his dad told him never to get a tattoo where you couldn't cover it up in front of a judge.

Now that's practical advice.

Copenhagen is damn near as addictive as crack. Way harder to quit than the smoke and the booze.

As for the dead-end kids, they're everywhere, dreaming of getting out and not doing it. Bend ain't no different than anywhere else.

"I got a 67 Chevy she's low and sleek and black/Someday I'll put it on the interstate and never look back..." — Steve Earle

Duncan McGeary said...

Interesting article on the great crime writer, James Ellroy -- I know he's great, because he says so (Heh -- actually I think he's great, too) and he talks about being one of these young adrift losers and then he says,

"You can't have these adventures anymore. There's too many guns out there and the drugs will kill (you)in six months. I grew up in a more innocent time. Young men like me could screw up with relative impunity."

H. Bruce Miller said...

"It's kinda like people that complain over, and over, and over, that Bend Sux, yet choose to live here and complain loudly and often about it. Hmmmm...?"

Sigh. I knew I'd be hearing that.

No, it's nothing like that, kid. When you're 64 you're likely to have encumbrances, such as a home you can't unload and a job you can't afford to leave, that you don't have when you're 19 or 20 and your biggest possession is a skateboard. These encumbrances make it a bit harder for you to simply pick up and leave. I'm working on getting outta Bend, believe me. But I can't just drop everything and go. Capisce?

"I got a 67 Chevy she's low and sleek and black/Someday I'll put it on the interstate and never look back..." — Steve Earle

Hell yeah. I wish I was in a position to do that. And I don't understand the kids who ARE in a position to do it, but don't.

Anonymous said...

Listen, Bruce, you've been using that encubrances line for a couple of years now. It's getting old. And if you are 64 and have a job that you can't afford to leave, you sure as hell got some poor financial advice over the years.

Now the house thing I can understand. I'll bet you $50, however, that your house isn't even for sale.

Oh, and I do capisce. I capisce an old Paizan like you that can spew out negative crap about Bend until he's blue in the face, yet doesn't have the balls to do anything about it.

Your just saying, "I'm stuck in this damn town." Well you know what? "There isn't any barbed wire fence around this place."

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Listen, Bruce, you've been using that encubrances [sic] line for a couple of years now. It's getting old."

Yes, it's getting old for me too, but it's still true; the situation hasn't changed. If it had I would've been outta here, like, yesterday.

"And if you are 64 and have a job that you can't afford to leave, you sure as hell got some poor financial advice over the years."

I'm retired, but my wife is younger than I am and does not plan to retire for another year and a half.

No, you do not "capisce" at all, sonny. But I guess I shouldn't expect a 20-something minimum-wage slacker whose biggest concern is scraping together enough money to pay for next year's season pass at Bachelor to understand grownup problems.

BTW "paisan" is not spelled with a "z." If any of my goombah friends back in Jersey caught you spelling it that way they'd break-a you face. ;^)

H. Bruce Miller said...

"I get the impression that a lot of people believe that tattooed people are blind, once we get stared at, even when we return a glance many people carry on looking. When will society improve?"

I presume you got the tattoos voluntarily; it's not like they're congenital birthmarks. People will always look at unusual things. If you don't want people to look at you, don't make yourself conspicuous.

And how do you know they're not admiring your tattoos?

Anonymous said...

50+ years old, three kids and a wife, thank you very much.

Have to live off what your wife makes, huh? Kinda humbling, isn't it?

And who besides some pompous Princeton ass gives a rip on how the hell you spell Paizan? (I know, it strokes your ego.) If you spent half as much time working on your grand relocation scheme as you do correcting others' grammar, you might just be half way to Hawaii by now.... Nah.

Duncan McGeary said...

What, it's love or leave it time?

I see no inconsistency in living in a place and seeing it's faults.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"50+ years old, three kids and a wife, thank you very much."

No need to thank me; I had nothing to do with it.

But I had no way of knowing your age and family status, since you don't have the balls to identify yourself.

Come to think of it, I still have no way of knowing it. You could claim to be Warren Buffett and I couldn't disprove it.

"Have to live off what your wife makes, huh? Kinda humbling, isn't it?"

Well, she lived off what I made for plenty of years. And only a man who has antiquated ideas about gender roles and is insecure about his own masculinity would be bothered by his wife temporarily making more money than he does.

"And who besides some pompous Princeton ass gives a rip on how the hell you spell Paizan? (I know, it strokes your ego.)"

You exposed your ignorance and now you're trying to salve your own ego by sneering at me for having an education. Typical.

You're one of those arsewholes who used to hang out on the Bend Bubble blog. Still harping on the same themes, I see -- and still haven't grown a big enough pair to post under your own name.

"What, it's love or leave it time? I see no inconsistency in living in a place and seeing it's faults."

Thank you, Dunc. A lot of Bendites are hypersensitive to any hint of criticism of their little "paradise." I'm thinking if it was half as glorious as they make it out to be they wouldn't be so touchy about it.