A wasted life?
I just learned that an old friend is near death from AIDS. I'm stunned, but not surprised. His life was all risk-taking, and over the last decade, he had maintained a level of drug use and irresponsible sex that nearly guaranteed his death sentence. Still the news hits me hard. He had helped me through a critical part of my life in the early 1980s at a point when he was supposedly in recovery. He became a junkie while as grunt in Vietnam, and returned to the states to become something of a rogue throughout the 1970s. My oldest friends (from kindergarten) fell in love with him and later married him, hoping to help him change his ways. They eventually moved to Tulsa where they hoped to avoid temptation. For a while it worked. But she became a big shot in the Christian music business, and he eventually became road manager for a host of huge bands like Pink Floyd and Metalica, leading him back into his old habits.
As his drug use became more obvious, my oldest friend put distance between them -- at about the time doctor's say he contracted the disease. He seems to have become a one-man epidemic, spreading his filth where ever the band went. The Tulsa health department tried to trace his relationships and found the numbers and locations so overwhelming, they gave up -- groupies from coast to coast in the United States and throughout Europe.
How monstrously irresponsible. I'll never be able to listen to a Metalica song again without thinking of his thousands of victims. Yet I can't think of him without also realizing how he helped save me.
I got the call last night that he's about to die of a inoperable brain tumor -- a variety of cancer he apparently acquired along with his drug habit in Vietnam, but which had laid dormant until AIDS weakened his defenses.
How scary life is with its perverted sense of justice. The place that helped ruin him with drugs also eventually helped kill him.
It's so fucking sad!