It Is Better to Be Remembered

At nineteen I lived for three months as a relatively earnest cocaine addict, in a shitty apartment with nothing but a card table, a TV on the floor, and a framed photo of Timothy Leary I’d torn out of Spin magazine. Before this I’d been a college student and shoe salesman, and before that a dork with long Seattle hair and thrift-store clothes, from a tiny town called Meeker. I’m not sure how one thing led to another.

A girl lived with me off and on during this time. I am not kidding you when I say that I have forgotten her name, and maybe it would help you understand this circumstance if you knew that most everyone I knew at the time had some form of nickname. This girl had a nickname, which I also don’t remember, and she kept her dark hair long, in a hippie sort of braid, and she wore big JNCO pants and tennis shoes and cute T-shirts with glitter on them. We would get ludicrously fucked up and then cling to one another on my mattress on the floor, sexless, sniffling and shaking, and then falling asleep near dawn. In the late afternoons we would wake and by about sundown—this was in the winter—we would be at a fast-food restaurant eating our one meal of the day. Then she would either go back to wherever else she stayed or stick around, and I would make some money moving product around for a greasy-faced dude who never changed out of his robe and lived in a cramped, dark apartment behind a gay club and listened religiously to Bob Dylan.

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