The dentist prescribed ibuprofen 800s and, for me to take at night if the toothache became severe, Hydrocodon-Acetaminoph 7.5-325. This is a narcotic. “Pain pills.”
I have a large zipper bag with four compartments. There is a main compartment, which I can lock; a front compartment; a left side compartment; and a right side compartment.
Every afternoon when I sit on my bunk, I empty my pockets and put my phone, debit card, and cash in the main compartment. I take my afternoon meds, which are already in there, and lock it all back up.
Related: Giving it all away
In the lefthand side compartment, I have scarves, gloves, cap, extra smokes and church keys. I put all the meds the dentist had prescribed in there, because I’d be taking them at odd times and didn’t want to have to unlock the main compartment.
In the righthand side compartment, I have razors, pens, lighters, and my inhaler.
I don’t know what’s in the front compartment. It hasn’t been open in months. When the toothache first came, I tried to check in there for ibuprofen, but the zipper slider wouldn’t budge. So I gave up on whatever’s in there.
Wednesday, the morning after the “bullshit” incident, at Dunkin’ Donuts I noticed that the zipper of the left side compartment was in an unusual state. It looked as if it had been forced open. The slider was in the completely “closed” position. I didn’t think anything of it.
My brothers have been in touch with me about the dental work. Francis teaches at a dental school in San Antonio. Thursday I wanted to e-mail him a question about the “pain pills,” so I got that bottle out so I could tell him exactly what they were. About an hour later, I went to put the bottle away, and noticed something wrong. I looked inside.
The dentist had prescribed 16. One night when I was in a lot of pain, I took one. Now I had three.
Someone had forced his way into the bag and taken twelve. He’d not opened the zipper; he’d torn the bag wide open, like a bear. How and why he took the time to just take twelve and put the bottle back, is anybody’s guess.
I was at church when I found this out, and I had to make a run to the pharmacy immediately after. On the walk back, I looked around me, at the ‘hood and the people, and reflected.
I’m going to be OK. I actually don’t need those pain pills.
But I’m a poor man. What if I did?
This is the creation of poverty.
If the question ever comes up again as to whether the Bible is “bullshit,” I mean to ask that guy to explain to me why Jesus hung out with the junkies and the whores, instead of the nice people (Matthew 9:10-12). What was he doing with them? What did he say to them? All my life, I’ve wanted to find out. That search plays a big role in how I got in my current state.
I propose that the answer is revolutionary; enough that all the leaders hated him, enough that Pilate murdered him; and that the same answer accounts also for the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Ghandi, and Malcolm X. They all died for the same principle.
Paradoxically, it has nothing to do with an unjust or injust, oppressive “system.”
That’s what I saw as I walked, looking at the ‘hood and at its people. No “system” inflicts damage on us like that which we poor inflict upon each other.
Originally posted 2016-02-17.