In the Alley-Part 2

rich kidThis is a contrasting voice to the one in Part 1. Does it work?


Dad founded his own tech company. So I’m kind of an offspring of Silicon Valley. But I never really lived up to it. I was more into partying than sitting in front of computer screens. Mom and Dad took my brother, sister, and me on family trips every year. I liked France and Italy the most. They’ve both got great hotels, great beaches, and great wine. Every winter we all skied at Aspen or Vail or Breckenridge.

The day I got my license Dad took me straight out and bought me a new car. A BMW. He promised me that when I got a college degree, I’d get an upgrade. He was partial to Jaguars. With a bigger allowance in a week than most kids get in a year, I kind of did whatever I wanted. As you might suspect, I was popular with the chicks. I knew they were mostly after what they could get by hanging around me, but I didn’t care. I used them just as much.

In high school I started with booze and marijuana, mostly at the beach or at one of Dad’s rental properties. I had access to the keys, and there was always an empty unit somewhere. I’d bring my friends or sometimes girls. The groups of girls watched out for each other. When they came alone, they usually let me do anything I wanted.

I graduated to cocaine. It’s almost a natural progression, like taking Algebra 1 and 2 then progressing to Calculus. But I never did take Calculus, much to my dad’s disappointment. Yet I watched what really went on in his life—and in the lives of people all around him, even in the corporations that contracted with him. And I observed the nature of the whole corporate/political/media world. I saw a lot of money, sex, and power. So I concluded that if life is about making money, having sex, and grabbing power—and generally doing what’s necessary to get what you want—I might as well get lots of experience early on.

No matter how much cocaine or whatever else I did, it was easy for me. I had access to all the money I wanted. If I ran low, I’d just tell my parents I wanted to take my friends out. I think they thought that if they kept being nice to me, I’d eventually come around. It seemed to work with my brother, but he liked computer screens, and my sister went gonzo on art and interior design. The only dealers I knew were on the street corners. They seemed to look for me as much as I looked for them. I don’t know why I snorted and shot up so much except I didn’t have a good reason not to. I was an okay surfer, but nothing else interested me much.

Every time I looked at the existential issues of life, like why we’re here, I always came up empty. That’s what always got me, the sense of emptiness. It seemed to hover around me like a cloud that never went away. I felt hollow inside, like an empty beer can. I could fill myself up as much as I wanted, but I’d just pee it all out.

College was up and down for me. Besides the parties I learned all the sophisticated reasons why the natural world formed and runs itself, and why there’s no higher authority than human reason—which is relative and always changes. I learned inspiring things, like the most logical thing a person can do is commit suicide, or how unfortunate it is that humans are related to boring chimps as opposed to another class of monkey that engages in frequent orgies.

So I’d just shoot up. And one day I tried heroin. Wasn’t long before I couldn’t go to classes anymore, and I got kicked out. That was one of the worst days of my life, except I still found myself more interested in getting my next fix than in the fact that my life was crashing. In my more lucid moments, I was too ashamed to see my parents, so I went south, where it was warmer, to Venice Beach in LA. Drugs were easy enough to get there, but I had no more money, and the residents didn’t like having addicts lying around in front of their picket fences. Cops didn’t either. Skid row had a lot more of everything, except beach. Shelters, showers, meals, medical and dental treatment, you name it—and drugs, whenever the LAPD wasn’t cruising by every other minute.

Since I no longer had my mom-and-dad-vending-machine, I sold myself. Mostly to rich gay guys in cars like I used to drive. They’d slow down enough to make eye contact, and things would happen rather ?quickly.

I . . . I tried to tell myself I was free and doing what I wanted. I tried to tell myself what I was doing was fun. In reality I dragged myself into a living hell. And the more I prostituted myself and shot up whatever I could get, the deeper I went.

I was a wreck of a human being. But I didn’t really care anymore. I had become incapable of caring. I only wanted my next fix. Nothing else mattered. I didn’t even ask the existential questions anymore. Everything I wanted was in that white powder, and I would do anything—anything—for another hit.

So I started to wonder if I were already dead and living in hell. The fact that I was still breathing didn’t seem to matter.

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