Monday, April 9, 2007

walt, zack; zack, walt. part one: 1978

PDAP is where they sent people like me in the seventies in Brazoria County. Kids who were obviously in trouble but came from families with no resources for real drug rehabilitation. It was an A.A. model with a focus on all mind altering chemicals. They were sort of like a cult. Heavy, heavy focus on a "higher power". Or "turning it over to god." We met in churches and had meetings on the twelve steps. When people spoke at meetings they would say their names and all in the circle would repeat, in unison, "Hello......." Whatever their name was. Upon completion of their made to shock and awe story of alcohol or drug use, said person would close by saying, "Uh, that's all I got to say. I love y'all." Whereupon the whole group would, in unison, say, "I love you too...." Whatever their name was. Then someone would raise his or her hand and try to one-up the story just told.

I ended up there after getting busted for psilocyben muchrooms. A really funny story in its own right.

There was a really cool guy there named Doug. He was another druggy kid whose parents dumped him off every Tuesday and Thursday at the Methodist church hoping somebody would just fix him. He was this surfer type guy with a waspy waist and broad shoulders. Skinny well toned arms and legs. And long brown hair like James Taylor. Sigh.

In PDAP, like A.A., you get sponsors. After a couple of meetings I asked Doug to be my sponsor. Finally I could speak to someone close to me in age who understood a rough parental/child symbiosis. Plus the whole total honesty and baring your soul ideology of the program, usually meant to subvert and induct, actually had a freeing affect on me. I got it all out and moved on. To the extent an idiot adolescent can actually do that.

Doug and I became inseperable. I would be lying if I said I didn't harbor romantic feelings toward him. I certainly did. (Years later, I would find him again and find out whether he ever had those feelings for me.) But homosexuality was frowned upon in all aspects of my life back then and I denied it to myself until I believed it was a passing phase I had pretty much conquered.

At that age, at least for me, certain people influenced me more than others. If so and so liked hot dogs, so did I. If later they began to hate hot dogs and prefered frito pies, I had the same change of heart. Doug was my person of that age. I wore 501 jeans because he did. He hated ABBA, so did I. He had an Alfa Romeo, I wanted one.

One day as we were riding around talking about making amends to whomever we had hurt, as is stipulated in the 8th step, or what's stupider, people who still smoke pot, or people who listen to disco, he told me, "You don't look like a Walter, you look like a Zack."

Of course my dad would never go for that.

But some day.........

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