“A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.” – Bruce Lee
“Make the lie big. Make the lie simple. Keep saying it. And eventually… they will believe it.” – Adolf Hitler
I love writing and comedy that push boundaries. I remember the first time I saw “The Book of Mormon” Broadway musical and laughed HYSTERICALLY. Having been a Mormon Missionary myself, I knew plenty of people who would shake their head in disapproval at what may have appeared as a childish lack of respect.
I don’t seek out humor that makes light of tragedy. I seek out humor that helps me laugh at myself and reminds me to not take myself too seriously.
Louis CK is the king of uncomfortable jokes. In this segment, he says of course we need to protect people with nut allergies, but then covers his eyes and says, “but maybe… maybe if we all do this for one year, we’re done with nut allergies forever. Maybe if touching a nut kills you, you’re supposed to die.”
Many people in America feel this way about the heroin epidemic. “Maybe, just maybe if we cover our eyes those people will just die off. It’s not our job to save them if they don’t want to save themselves.”
Some are more vehement with their hatred than others. There was a time that I made a point of going toe-to-toe with them on social media. What I’ve learned, however, is that addressing the seriousness of the situation doesn’t mean I have to be red-faced and spraying spittle from a soapbox. I think there’s another way…
“You must not hate those who do wrong or harmful things; but with compassion, you must do what you can to stop them — for they are harming themselves, as well as those who suffer from their actions.”
I’m so far from perfect. When I visited the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet and walked the corridors and staircases where the Dalai Lama lived from 1940 until 1959, I felt so far from any true enlightenment that it might as well have been a tour of Jupiter. Strangely, that immersion into Buddhism is one of the main reasons I decided to spend two years in Mexico wearing a tie and name tag for the Mormon church.
What does any of this have to do with Narcan and Epi-Pens??
We live in a world of horrible injustice. When the Dalai Lama was spreading hope and the clock ticked toward his exile from Tibet, Hitler was gaining a huge following in Europe by spreading hate. If social media had existed during the height of the Nazi regime, well… you can imagine the “likes.”
“The art of leadership. . . consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention. . . .” -Adolf Hitler
News anchors love to ask politicians if they could go back in time would they kill Hitler as a baby. It’s a cheap trick of ambush journalism:
No. “What?! With knowledge of the future, what decent person would allow someone to cause the deaths of millions?!”
Yes. “Baby murderer!!”
I’ve written so many different versions of this. I’ve tried to surprise you with statistics. I’ve tried using the “cost” of other life-saving measures to create perspective. I’ve tried using examples like Defibrillators, Jaws-of-Life, transplant surgeries, etc. I’ve even allowed my hurt to blossom into anger.
Today I’m not doing any of that. The truth is, when someone attacks addicts and tells them their life has less value, it stung because when I was using heroin I told myself I had no more value. It scared me that someday I would feel like that again.
Maybe if you “hate” addicts it stems from a vice of your own or a fear that someone you love might somehow be “contaminated” by this epidemic.
We aren’t so different. That jump from fear to anger can happen in the blink of an eye.
This is a lesson I’m constantly learning. I frequently read comments or messages and have to remind myself to breathe.
Just know this…
Even if you’ve sent me a death threat; I’d still dive into a river to pull you from a sinking car or run into a burning building to carry you out. If you were covered in filth and stunk of death, I’d still do CPR on you if you collapsed next to me on the street. If your kid was chocking on a chicken nugget while you were in the bathroom, I’d do the Heimlich Maneuver for you.
I wouldn’t do those things because I think I’m any kind of hero. I’m not. I’d do those things because standing idly by and watching a life end would change how I see the guy in the mirror.
I’m not in a position to tell anyone how to think or what to think. Just please THINK. That’s all. It seems like spending your life trying to place mental price tags on other people would be really exhausting and really depressing. Arguing is easy and requires muscle. Building bridges and removing wedges requires heart.
I believe strongly in Narcan because I would be dead without it. I’m done asking myself if I “deserve” my life because when I do that, I miss out on living. Narcan is just one of many life-saving measures in a world filled with life-threatening obstacles. It’s insanely simple to use and I like simple things. More than anything I like that when I administer it, it doesn’t pause to ask me if I did a background check, reviewed political or religious views, or consulted a crystal ball to find out what this fellow human being would do with their extended life.
It just saves lives.
Recovery is a second chance at life. What you do with that chance is up to you.