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‘Altered mental state’ … with no thanks to Jack Daniels and his partner Jimmy Beam

No, that headline doesn’t pertain to me (although I most certainly have my moments).


Every once in a while in the course of picking up junk, I come across personal correspondence.

I can’t help but read some of it. Found a few years ago was a short, emotionless love letter (the corner of a $1 bill peeked out of the folded letter tucked inside an open envelope. What the dollar signified remains unknown although $10 or $20 might have been more effective or at least better for me). Not unusual to find are written attempts to collect a debt. Then there was the note from a mother imploring her daughter to keep her room clean. That the daughter pitched aside the handwritten plea apparently showed what she thought of the parental advice.

This morning (6:18 departure) revealed a different sort of message.

Sticking out like a sore thumb on the other side of car-free Fairview Road was a large white plastic bag. I crossed the six lanes and found, inside the Carolinas Healthcare System bag, a half empty Gatorade bottle – and discharge papers.

It seems a Mr. White had a difficult Friday night. He had been admitted as a patient to the emergency room, the front door of which wasn’t 75 feet from where I stood. How that bag and its contents ended up along the adjacent sidewalk remains a mystery. A quick scan revealed everything I needed to see. The unfortunate patient had apparently gone off the deep end with his good friends Jack Daniels and Jimmy Beam. img_3291.jpgYeah, that’s total guesswork on my part but at the instant of discovery as to the nature of the ER visit the familiar George Thorogood song (I drink alone) popped into my mind. We can only hope Mr. White’s morning is better than his evening bender.

What all of this signifies is that when it comes to the world of trash and litter, you come across a surprise now and then. I can only imagine the attending physician’s final words of advice: ‘Take a few Advil and sleep this one off.’

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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