A Final Thought on Bad Medicine

When Friendships Are Bad

So here we are on the final day of September about to roll into the witching month of October. I figure one last observation concerning bad medicine is in order before I shift to all things horror and Halloween. Been giving some thought to friendships of late and how they can be connected to bad medicine.

I wonder if picking bad friends can be habit forming? Bad friends come with bad advice, and bad advice is a lot like bad medicine. We often take both medicine and advice without thinking about possible side effects or if either is bad for us in the long run. Once we start taking that bad medicine and bad advice it may be hard to stop, even if we start to notice it’s bad for us. Bad medicine and bad friends have a way of making us feel good in the short run and that is the beginning of a habit.

So what’s the take away? Maybe I’ve just had a few more bad friendships than others (or maybe fewer, don’t really know you), but I do believe that if you aren’t careful you can find yourself with some bad friends that will leave you with some long term negative side effects.

-K-

Wisdom of William S. Burroughs

Selected Quotes from Junky

• “Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.”

• “Well, you have to expect to take some chances when you’re using junk.”

• “You’re bound to get some good breaks if you stick around long enough.”

• “I don’t spot junk neighborhoods by the way they look, but by the feel….”

Junky by William S. Burroughs

• “A sick junkie has no escape from external time, no place to go.”

• “No one knows what junk is until he is junk sick.”

• “A junky spends half his life waiting.”

• “Junk is an inoculation of death that keeps the body in a condition of emergency.”

-K-

The Cost of Being a Cowboy

Drugstore Cowboy and the Junkie Lifestyle

There is no shortage of movies that feature drugs and drug use. Most have an agenda regarding their portrayal of drugs and those who use drugs. Most movies either attempt to glamorize drugs or intend to demonize them. I usually find that these movies try too hard with their message or loose the through line somewhere in the second act, but there are a few movies out there that don’t romanticize, idealize, or patronize when it comes to drugs and drug use. Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy is one of these few movies.

Drugstore Cowboy

There are a couple concessions I want to make before I recommend this movie. First, the movie is set in 1971, and it was released in 1989 so it does feel dated at points. Second, there are a few moments early in the movie when Matt Dillon’s character, Bob, waxes poetic about drug use. I don’t view this as romanticizing drug use especially when we hear what Bob has to say later in the movie (hope that isn’t too much of a spoiler for you). With these too minor points aside this is a sound movie that takes an honest look at drugs and drug use (as honest as you can get in the weird world of Hollywood). Drugstore Cowboy is an insight into the world and daily lives of four junkies, but Van Sant does not pass any sort of explicit judgement on their lifestyles (he leaves judgement to the viewer).

If you are in the mood for a well written movie with sound acting and solid directing that features drugs and drug use in a realistic sense then Drugstore Cowboy is worth a watch. Hell, you may want to watch it just to see William S. Burroughs acting.

-K-

Drugstore Cowboy (1989) with Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, and Heather Graham. Directed by Gus Van Sant.

Bad medicine is for good times, and good medicine is for bad times. It’s important to know the difference.

-K-

Self Help as Bad Medicine

or The Value of Self-Help Books?

Is bad medicine the result of poor intentions, or good intentions that end poorly? A person may not start with the idea that he/she is using (or taking) bad medicine, it may just end up that way. But I don’t want to discuss medicine in the traditional sense of the word today. I want to scribble a few lines about advice as medicine and how bad advice can be just as harmful as bad medicine.

I noticed a co-worker with a self-help book the other day, and I thought of George Carlin’s bit regarding self-help books. I can’t do the bit justice so I suggest you open up another window on your interwebs and give it watch to get some context (I’ll be here when you’re done). … You’re still reading so I’ll assume you watched it. Funny stuff, yeah? Carlin’s idea is self-help books aren’t self-help because you are listening to and following the advice of somebody else. Carlin says this isn’t self-help, it’s just help. In think this insight can be tied to bad medicine (or how we use/misuse medicine). We buy, read, and study self-help books with the intentions of bettering ourselves. Like my co-worker, we have the best of intentions when we begin, but what of the advice these books provide? These self-help books are written by people we do not know and more importantly do not know us. These authors may have experiences similar to ours but their experiences are not our experiences. Although we may get useful information from a self-help book we must remember these books are only offering advice and not all advice is good advice, especially if that advice can’t be applied to our lives. Good intentions can have poor consequences if we try too hard to live a life based solely on somebody else’s advice

I’m not saying you should avoid self-help books (Hell, that would make me just another person giving out advice). I am saying that bad advice can be just as dangerous as bad medicine, and like bad medicine bad advice can be given (and taken) with the best of intentions.

-K-

Bad Medicine: Self-Medication Mix Tape

  1. “Cocaine”–Eric Clapton

2. “Hurt “–Johnny Cash

3. “Methamphetamine”–Old Crow Medicine Show

4. “Junker”–Hugh Laurie

5. “Old Fashioned Morphine”–Jolie Holland

“Picking Tunes”

6. “Snowblind Friend”–Steppenwolf

7. “Heroin Addict Sister”–Elizabeth Cook

8. “Hotel California”–Eagles

9. “My Morphine”–Gillian Welch

10. “Nothin'”–Townes Van Zandt

-K-

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