August 02, 2008


By Brad Willis © 2008

I can't swallow food. I don't know why. It could be cancer of the esophagus. It could be acid reflux. It could be that I've eaten as much as I should in one lifetime. Either way, I'm probably going to die. I haven't bothered going to a doctor, because he will only tell me if I'm living or dying. If I'm dying, as I suspect, I might as well go on living while I go about the dying. If the doctor says I'm living, he obviously is lying or seriously misguided. If he tells me I'm living, I'm going to laugh and tell him he better get busy dying for me, because somebody fucking has to.

Because I can't eat, I'm drinking. It will kill me too, but I won't feel it so pointedly. It's a smooth death. Like dry downing in a wet county, and certainly better than wet drowning in a dry county. If I went to a doctor, he would tell me that the drinking isn't going to do anything to help the dying. He'd try to get me to drink more water. I'd say something about my body and the earth being made up of 80% water and how they are already both shot straight to hell. He'd give me a doctor look and ask me again if I wanted some antidepressants. I'd take the script, fill it, and leave the full bottle in my cabinet until it expired. Just like last time.

There is no getting around the downer of having your throat closed up. It's just another version of writer's block. When you want to eat and can't, it feels like when you want to write and can't. Nothing sounds good--the words suck, the food smells like a Pulitzer, and the booze is just a way to pass the time until you finally call it a day. No matter, though, because anti-depressants are worse than booze. At least after six or twelve good drinks, I can feel how much it sucks to be completely fucking void of focused talent and think about how I'm wasting what little amount of skill I have. Anti-depressants are a quick trip to feeling nothing all the time. I'd rather hate myself than feel okay with everything.

So, fuck going to the doctor. Last time I saw him, it was because I thought my brains were trying to eat through my skull. I laid awake in a fetal position until I nearly cried. I went to the doctor and he told me he couldn't find anything wrong. I must be crazy, he thought. He didn't say as much. "Have you been stressed?" he asked, wrote on a pad, and gave me pills. Even the trip to the emergency room got me stoned and made me think I was in love with a chubby nurse who shot my ass full of hard core narcotics. An Indian doctor with a sigh in his eyes and a ready prescription pad was never going to win my love, no matter how many times he stuck his finger in my ass.

Brad Willis is a writer from Greenville, South Carolina.

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