• Travis Ryan

Thanks Nancy

The shell cracked and its viscous entrails landed, less than gracefully on the on the black and white metal surface and began to sizzle violently, the camera zooms in to show that Your brain is now a pan of badly prepared fried eggs…


“This is your brain on drugs…”


When that relic of the Reagan’s approach to how to handle a disease, just say no to cancer, just say know to AIDS, just say no to oppression, it always gave me a sick feeling. Not for the obvious reasons (struggle with chemical moderation) either, but more because I’ve always been able to hear an imaginary or actual feedback noise right on the inside of my inner ear, that sounds similar to eggs frying. I attribute it to an audio projection of stress or anxiety, because it gets more noticeable as the heat and pressure builds.


So, you can imagine my surprise when that crypt keeper of a woman explained to me in the most state-of-the-art medical terminology, that that sound was because my brain is breakfast food. The only problem with this, is at this juncture in my life, I was not on drugs. Never had been, actually I was stuck in the middle of the classic “He needs meds, no he doesn’t” tug of war that was prevalent in households where someone has suggested medication for ADD or whatever Letters best fit a stressed-out child that day. I just knew that I was already there, my brain was already “On drugs” according to the 30 second psych ward cooking show that some dumb fucker thought would cure addiction as they knew it.


“Just say No!”


My proclamations of No went unheard, because I had been saying now, but the eggs were frying and burning blacker and blacker on a daily basis. The bubbling noise of heated protein boomed in between my ears. I needed to say something different, before I ended up so burnt that I couldn’t say anything. I have, at times, been lumped into the category of “anti- government”, or having problems with “Authority”. That is a gross over simplification. I don’t dislike the government. I just don’t trust them, because I had tried it their way my whole life, consistently letting my personality cook harder and harder, as I tried to hide my fear behind my own burnt form in the metal of a steel incinerator. And really, the heat wasn’t turned down, and the cacophony of escaping steam never shut the fuck up, until I said “Yes”. It was the lesser of two evils, and the greater of two demons.


“Just say no! to suicide, to self-hatred, to a constant feeling of isolation, to stress”


The “Insanity” of what is now called substance abuse disorder (as its now known in the DSM), is that the disorder in my case is not insane. It’s actually the only effective treatment for deep seeded psychological problems, that are previously being ignored, or not dealt with. I have better coping skills, but that’s ONLY because I was able to stay alive long enough for society to shift its opinion on mental health and addiction. I waited it out, by riding a wave made of high proof alcohol infested with violent predators, codependent mermaids, and chemical jellyfish swinging trippy tentacles.


“Say No to society!”


This is why I’m considered some sort of debased anarchist. I don’t mean Society is a bad thing, All I’m saying is this: If “society” is telling you that you drink, drug, or otherwise cope with untreated issues, and public opinion is that you’re struggling based on some moral failing or weakness in character, and you can feel that’s not the case. Say NO to that shit! I didn’t take the “easy” way, I took the only way that didn’t involve me eating a bullet as a teenager. If that’s morally despicable, so be it, I never claimed to be a pillar for good choices or a saint. Its hard to understand, but the only options at this fork in the dull grey impasse I found myself at were live completely miserable, or die. I said NO and tore ass through a mine field in between the two choices, banking on the fact that eventually I’d come to a better set of options.

Like the super-rich hope that their bodies will be preserved by cryogenics (freezing their body) long enough that the disease that killed them will be cured in the future, and then they can be brought back to life. My eggs were frying, burning, and almost non- functional and just saying “NO” to my own mental illness wasn’t working, so I clenched the flame with alcohol. Bad idea? Probably, I came up with it when I was a high school kid, But, its not like any first lady’s were throwing out any better solutions.

“You got to work with what you got.”

“Degenerate” “Son” “Brother” “Uncle” “Writer”

Travis Ryan

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