Introduction

Introduction

 

It has been claimed that members of the crew of Christopher Columbus’ three ships were responsible for introducing Syphilis to the native and indigenous peoples of what was soon to be called The New World. It would later be called America. They would soon be called Indians, but contrary to popular myth, not because Columbus thought that he was in India, since at that time, India was referred to as Hindustan. He had, however, referred to them as “Una gente en Dios (a people of God) because he was impressed by their profoundly spiritual nature.

 

Also, it should be noted that “Injun” is not a slang term for “Indian” but rather a phonetic corruption of a word used by the Lakota Sioux to mean Human Being. And, it was in fact a New World only to the self-centered peoples of Europe, but I digress….

 

I mention this because it is not without a certain degree of trepidation that I find myself writing this introduction. There is a high degree of certainty that many people will find themselves highly offended by any number of remarks, statements, or even casual references made within the following story. Some might even consider it Dangerous….

 

There was a time when we had a much better sense of humor about ourselves, and even giving offense was much better tolerated than it is now. Then again, like the difference between inference and implication, if those of us who find ourselves so easily offended in the first place would take responsibility for our own actions and regard the process as taking offense, then we might more easily shed this mantle of self-righteousness that is causing us to lose our sense of humor, as well as our capacity for tolerance.

 

While the United States was seriously considering the boycott of Venezuelan Oil, simply because their presidente referred to our president as “El Diablo” I realized that we were in fact in dangerous waters indeed.

 

At least at the time of this writing, there is no universal rating system for books. At least not yet, but the current state of affairs will undoubtedly get much worse before it gets any better. No one with whom I would seek rational discourse pays much attention to Religious Warnings.

 

On a certain level, I would be a little disappointed if this book was NOT banned in Boston. Regardless, I would suggest that this introduction be also considered either a warning, or disclaimer, if you will, for the thin-skinned, the narrow-minded, and the weak of heart, (and sadly) of humor.

 

Regard this writing in the same way that you would one of cable TV’s darkest, most profane, sexually provocative, and dangerously controversial episodes imaginable. This story is only for mature adults with a broad-minded sense of humor. If you believe yourself to be one of these increasingly rare individuals, then you will probably enjoy this story, but it is by no means any guarantee that you won’t still find yourself either uncomfortable, offended, abraded, or provoked at one point or another. Fritz Pearls frequently said that there is no growth without pain, and I believe that if you really are a mature, broad-minded adult, then you will have nothing to fear, because it is fear that has so empowered the manipulators of our culture who are the self-proclaimed protectors of the weak. There is no reason that a story cannot be both entertaining and culturally significant at the same time, but if all else fails, just consider it as entertainment.

 

The first drafts of this book began about seven years ago. Three years into the venture, Jeff, the protagonist, and mentor/technical advisor as regards Emergency Medical Services, as well as War Stories in general, took his life, after suffering profound depression for years. His widow no longer speaks to me.

 

Sometime thereafter I suffered a nervous breakdown, and was forced to “rely upon the Charity of friends” before I could get a grip again. All during that period of time, I wrote profusely, but very little of it was coherent enough to be of any use at all. Nonetheless, I do believe that those rantings helped me find my way back out.

 

Most of the writing (as well as the drowning) took place in real time, insofar as I often had no idea how any individual writing session would begin or end until it was already being written. That is not really as surprising as it may seem.

 

The story, i.e. The Narrative in terms of physical action is relatively straightforward. The dramatic action has a lot more twists and turns to it, but it is still on that level, largely plot-driven. As reader/viewers, it is very easy to become jaded as to how one might regard the real effects that most of those experiences would have on real people’s minds. I wanted to expose the reader to experiences and states of mind that would more easily explain how a once-normal person makes decisions that lead to choices that a normal person would probably not want to imagine, let alone choose. That has everything to do with state of mind. And because I believe that each of us can empathize with momentary states, or potentials for unhappier sorts of results, than you could have experienced yourself, I also believe that you will be drawn into just such a preposterous series of described events as easily as I was, and but by the grace of God…any of us might go.

 

 I also know that there are many of us still out there, regardless of social privilege or economic station, who still are haunted by those vagabond impulses of humor, and sexuality, like St. Elmo’s Fire, or the Aurora Borealis, just zapping from here to there like aberrant radio waves of Music You Never Heard Before but were instantly So Damn Glad That You Just Did. The Music of the Survivors. The Symphonies of the Post-Neo Dharma Bums.

 

With a decade and a half of dangerous living culminating in twenty years of EMS experiences, the picture is still incomplete without realizing how it is that of those worlds either can be alternately foreground or background to the even larger picture of One’s Own Life.

 

In my case, this represents the chronicle of my quest to discover if there really is Life after 911. Although my experiences may have been extreme, they are far from as isolated as they should be. Keep in mind, EMS providers are masters of denial, as well as disguise as regards hiding their symptoms and signs.

 

This is a story of crisis, of disappointments, of Loss, and Confusion. Huge Critical Stress Incidents overlaid on a backdrop of debilitating, Chronic Stress.

 

Out of my delirium grew a realization, an elusive and undefined feeling that somehow, I had been given a gift, even if it was only the ability to recognize the third lifeboat, in spite of the fact that I had no idea where the lifeboat would take me, or what was waiting for me there. (Reference to the drowning man who prays for God to save him, all the while turning away three rescuers while awaiting the arrival of the Almighty in Person)

 

As time passed, and situations deteriorated further, my zeal waned. Answers were replaced by questions without answers, but since all I wanted was to finish the book, I failed to recognize how that which passes for truth usually only answers improper questions that were no use at all in the first place. It had become just another story about something. I thought that the disintegration of my so-called Life had no real bearing on anything but my own misery. I did not realize that in order to find the answers I sought to my questions, I would have to open Pandora’s Box, and in the process face a Cure more debilitating than the Disease. (Anyone who has listened to, or read the potential side effects, Benefits vs. Risks, and general precautions listed for most prescription medications knows this is not as uncommon as it sounds. It just all depends on how you feel about trading Halitosis for alopecia, neutropenia and ‘certain’ (unspecified)’…sexual effects’…. Don’t worry, if those effects included hypertrophy, Priapism, or gave you the stamina of a satyr, IT WOULD SAY SO IN VERY LARGE LETTERS, IN NON-LATIN WORDS AND COST MORE MONEY THAN YOU COULD AFFORD, BECAUSE YOUR
INSURANCE WOULDN’T COVER IT.)

 

This is a story about my search for The Cure, as well as how to survive it.

 

The book was floundering in shoal waters, largely because I had at that time begun to believe that this was indeed, a dangerous book, at least to me. Inadvertently, I had asked myself questions for which I could find no answers. Although I frequently read the more comical sections of those drafts to my children, either to amuse them, or tell EMS War Stories in the great American tradition of the Tall Tale, many sections were never introduced to them at that time. I was very much concerned about the effect of the entire book upon them. I am not sure anyone less than eighteen years of age should read it. Some days I still think of it as a dangerous book.

 

In truth, there are no real dangers. Lies are dangerous. Denial is dangerous. Fear is dangerous.

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