NORMA JEAN: Up, Up and Away

It was two hours after I laid last week's "Very Personal" to disk when I discovered that "shit really does happen." Driving home the five blocks from a local pub, after two glasses of Chardonney, I find myself under arrest for a DWI after being stopped two blocks from my house. I was away from home approximately one hour and 15 minutes. Well ...my, my, how life imitates art. I sit handcuffed in a police vehicle and realize the immediate opportunity to put into practice the Zen state and control I speak about in "Do Not Pass Go... When life's calamities are right up in your face it's a mother...I sit on that cold slimy cell floor downtown looking at all the half-conscious people around me and have only time for reflection. I've seen friends leave bars, parties and restaurants on countless occassions totally buzzed. Most people are ignorant about DWI/DUI laws and usually find out the hard way when asked to blow into the tube downtown. Sophmorically, I admit to drinking two glasses of wine when asked by the officer, assuming this little alcohol is surely under the 'legal limit',..duh...not! Two drinks on an empty stomach in one hour can do it folks; do not pass go, do not collect your things, relinquish your drivers licence, and say goodbye to your car as it gets towed away. Got a lot of cash to spend on lawers, bail ($1,000), fines and impounded car? Hope so. You never want this to happen to you, I promise.A jolt like spending all night in jail reduced to an anonymous lump of flesh in a small dirty cell and then paying a thousand bucks just to get home really bends a few cells. Drinking casually with friends and driving is a lifestyle for many people who never consider the consequences of getting caught. Happily high and blind drunk are equal offenses under the law. Both states endanger lives. Drinking and driving, even if it's it's just a little, is a sin I am guilty of.Addiction is about denial and a lot of compulsion. Sex addiction is an equally dangerous game. To chase after women, or sex thrills as a major part of one's life usually eclipses any possibility for intimacy and long-lasting friendship with someone, and is a waste of time and energy. Many people need alcohol to have sex and feel uninhibited about getting naked with someone. A man I know confessed he had never had sex sober in his life! It takes one wrong unprotected encounter to contract aids or get pregnant, or both. Risking marriage and children for the thrill of a conquest or short romance is stupid. Ever think about severe bodily injury or death to yourself, a friend, or god forbid, a child, because of one glass of wine too many? What risks do you take for a moment of 'deux ex machina' away from responsibility and mundane tedium? We all gamble for more 'goof-off' time, a little discreet afternoon delight, one more bet at the black jack table, a drink for the road, the last pack of cigarettes... Scared straight.

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