"Livin' the dream, Bernie. Livin' the dream."
I think he even meant it.
Last night, I attended my cousin's viewing. I'm sorry to say I had not seen him for years. He was livin' a nightmare, and ended up taking his own life last week.
My cousin Eddie was an alcoholic. He did it all, including sniffing glue as a kid, but his drug of choice was always booze. Just like his Dad. And my Dad. And his brother. And me.
It cost me my license to practice law, but it cost Eddie his education. He started earlier, and it ruined any chance he had of getting any kind of degree.
It cost him a half-decent income. He was smart, and had a gift for taking things apart and putting them back together again. He found work in the HVAC biz, but lost job after job because of booze or because his DUIs prevented him from driving vans. Who's going to take a chance on a 50 year-old guy with multiple DUIs? Those that did take him on took advantage of him.
It cost him meaningful relationships. He never married. To my knowledge, he never even dated much. He was a loner.
Finally, it cost him his life. At his viewing last night, the two pictures his mom selected were of his cat. It was a small crowd.
At one point, the Jehovah's Witnesses did help him. Say what you will about this group, he did stop drinking and drugging for extended periods when he was with them. But the demons were always there.
He was recently arrested and charged with DUI again, and was facing a five-year sentence. He did not want to disappoint his Mom again. So he hung himself on his porch. I think that might be a worse sentence than five years in jail. The world had become too painful for him.
His Mom blames herself for being too judgmental. His brother blames himself for failing to reach out to him. Neither is at fault.
Of course, the real culprit is alcohol. Our family is one of many ravaged by that disease.
If you have a chance to put in a good word for Eddie today, it would be appreciated.