Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Desparado under the Eaves

Don't you feel like desparados under the eaves/ heaven help the one who leaves
[Newsland, under the eaves of the Yale Park mall]
Like a character from a song by his beloved Warren Zevon, Craig was, from the very beginning of our friendship mad, bad, and dangerous to know. He was also an drinker. Increasingly he made adaptions in how he lived to better accommodate this part of his lifestyle. He switched, for example, from driving a car to driving a motorcycle.

He was frank with me about this change. While he vowed not to drive intoxicated, he theorized that if, heaven forbid, he should operate a vehicle under the influence, being on a motorcycle would increase the likelihood that the only fatality would be himself.

This strategy proved to be more than a macabre fancy. Shortly after I moved out of our shared mobile home, Craig called me from UNM hospital. He had wrecked on his bike. Fortunately he suffered little more than a dramatic road rash. Unreceptive to any suggestion he should seek treatment, he checked himself out of the hospital AMA. And it being NM in the early 80s, official mechanisms for dealing with DWIs were few and the courts permissive. Despite the dramatic nature of his accident, this was his first offense (in NM) and I think he walked away with probation and no requirement for counseling.

His addiction also created some dissonance between his own lifestyle and his formal function as a counselor at Hogares. In time he left and took a job at Newsland, a magazine shop on Central Ave. across from UNM. It was, in all honesty, a job where he didn't have to worry about being responsible for anyone but himself. And it was there that Craig developed another addiction: comic books. Craig worked there for quite a number of years.

While I still lived in Town, I would frequently visit him at Newsland and at my place. But it wasn't until I moved away from Albuquerque that I discovered the true scope of his obsession. Staying over at his condo the first time when I returned from Jerusalem in 1992, we spent the first hour of my visit shifting mountains of comics and comic figurines around so there would be a large enough space on the floor for me to sleep. As for Craig, his mattress literally rested upon a block of bank boxes stacked three high.

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