Daniel the Old Roommate

Death PenaltyYou used to be so easy to hang out with, man.  I remember in college we would get back from class like 5, 6pm, grab some burritos, and just chill till 2am – drinking, playing Halo, getting into those philosophical mind fucks you were always so prone to.  Remember that time you got to talking about Camus and the death penalty for seven hours and you and Tom ending up screaming so loudly about the pros of solitary confinement vs. death row in terms of killing a prisoner’s soul that the lady in the row house next door – you know, the one with that yappy dog – called the cops?  And then when they got here, you managed to charm them into having a beer with us and getting into the debate too and we started all started yelling at each other again?  I think about that night all the time – how even though you were absolutely hammered, you could weave a more coherent and logical argument than I could even if I’d studied the topic for days.  You’re a smart ass guy – I thought that extended to your drinking, too.  But now I look at you – your hair starting to come back in, but gray instead of brown, your skin all sallow, your fingers yellow from the cigarettes – and even though I know you’re getting better and it’s the right thing for you to do, going through the program, it just kills me to see you so low key, so meek.  Maybe it was just the alcohol, but a piece of me always believed that the bombastic speeches and the pontificating and wild metaphors were just who you were, a part of you that rock bottom and recovery couldn’t take away.  We would just get rid of the binges and the debt and joblessness, get you back on your feet, and all those other parts of you would be able to shine through again.  But maybe you went through all your energy and wit and charm in college and the years after and the booze helped you keep it going a bit longer, kept you free, animated, open – but without it, you’re just not sure of yourself anymore.  I guess it’s hard to keep arguing with absolute certainty that you think the death penalty should be in existence when you seem like a dead man walking yourself.

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