I earned my MBA in August 2018, but I didn’t walk for graduation. I can’t. Oh, they would let me, it’s nothing like that. I just couldn’t. My anxiety sometimes keeps me from participating in activities like that. I just can’t do it. It’s a combination of things really. It’s the large amount of people. It’s also all of the unknown elements such as where to park. Wait, did I lock my car? Where do I sit, where are the bathrooms, will there be a snack-bar or should I bring something? Are those chairs for someone else? Do I have my paperwork? I should check. It’s been 10 minutes since I checked. Was that my name that was called? I thought that it might have been. Oh, my degree plan stands here but in alphabetical order…wait are you sure? It just goes like that sometimes. I walked for my graduation when I received my Associate Degree from Houston Community College and it was an awful experience. I’m actually smiling and giggling a little under my breath now, when reminiscing, as one might do when remembering a slightly traumatic experience once it’s in the rear-view mirror. Other people seemed to handle it just fine, they were smiling, hugging each other, taking pictures with fellow classmates, family etc. Not me. I was sitting by myself having an anxiety attack just praying that no one sat next to me or asked me a question. I started to cry.
Oh, no…please not now. Please don’t start crying now. I may actually be having the heart attack that it always feels like. Oh, my God, I’m going to fucking die right here in… and then, after several minutes it starts to go away, slowly. It starts to feel better, but then the embarrassment, followed by the cover-up of the incident. The careful, strategic, wiping away of any tears that somehow made it through my clenched eyes, sometimes looking at my phone as if something was funny, so funny that I would have tears, or just trying to get to the bathroom, whatever the situation calls for at the time. I sure as fuck didn’t walk for my undergrad from the University of Houston. I couldn’t even watch a two-year old UH graduation video of motherfuckers on Youtube, that I don’t know, without starting to cry and feel an attack coming on. The mere thought of it terrifies me, but everyone says the same thing “Oh, you have to do it…for your parents.” Yeah, right…what’s going to happen? I’ll disappoint my parents? Ha ha ha ha ha ha there’s not enough memory in this MacBook Air to hold the amount of laugher….hahaha disappoint my parents. Oh, man that’s an opener and a closer for a comedy set right there. HBO fucking special: “Kendrick disappoints Everyone!” I did that for decades. It’s one of the only things that I was consistent with throughout my young adulthood it seemed. I don’t have to explain the feeling of letting down family members to fellow addicts.
But fuck that shit now. My parent’s disappointment has been replaced by their sense of pride. I made it all come around. It’s possible. I promise that it is. The degrees that I’ve earned are framed and live right on the walls of my parent’s house. They can look at those whenever they want. I ordered two copies of my MBA diploma. One for them and one for me.
God, I love education. I love school. “Hey, Steven really fucked up his life. I heard he was a crack head.” “Oh, yeah but did you hear that he got a Bachelor of Science? MBA?” See how powerful education is? It can turn a crack head into a motherfucking scholar. I may get a T-shirt with my degree on it and wear that shit around for a year! Believe me I’m happy, but that wasn’t even in my head back then. School? Are you fucking kidding me? I already tried that as a kid and flunked out. I’m stupid. I’m dumb as shit. Ask any former boss, just ask anyone. I even live right next to a community college while I’m living with John Rabon. I can see the fucking parking lot from my balcony. It never occurs to me to try school again. I’m just a drug addict that thinks he does comedy, but I’m really just kind of in this purgatory stage where I am trying to find a shitty job, but I’m very limited where I might be able to work. I got fired or I quit, or we both had a mutual understanding from the Lawnchem place, but I haven’t found anything since then and I can’t just work anywhere. I’m looking for a certain organizational culture, where management will see my potential…hahaha what the fuck ever playa, I need a fucking job without a drug test and where an occasional nosebleed won’t be a deal breaker.
Found it. I’m now bar-backing at The Ritz Lounge. Fuck yeah. I don’t have to be at work until late at night, so I can sleep in, and I can do drugs in the projector room as much as I want. Plus, I get to wear a Ritz Lounge Staff shirt. I liked working at The Ritz Lounge, it was just kind of a neat place and I was meeting people. I felt strangely at ease in that building. I could sit in the booths without having anxiety and I had made some cigarettes that had a little weed pocket in the middle of it. I made this little plastic thing that would allow me to unpack the contents of a cigarette, so that I could repack that same cigarette with tobacco and a little pocket of weed hidden in the cigarette. At the time you could smoke cigarettes in bars and it would be so funny to watch security run around a bar, looking for the person who was smoking weed and I’m just there smoking a Camel Red. “Hey, you guys looking for the dude smoking weed? I think he went that way guys!”
I had gone to a party at a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and this one guy tried to kick my ass for what I thought at the time was a stupid reason, but I see it a little different maybe now with the eyes of a much older man. I basically made a small joke and he was the punchline. Yeah, that shit can get you beat up. Why did I do that? I was an idiot. I was drunk, and I confused a party for a comedy club stage. I was trying too hard to be funny. That shit might work at a nice little get together, but this wasn’t that type of party. There were most likely guns under some jackets at this party, as one of the guys who was throwing the party had an affiliation with a large group of individuals that would be considered dangerous to fuck with. I was meeting a lot of people, but not substantial relationships, just actors rehearsing their lines so to speak haha. Lines of blow. I was starting to sell small bags of coke at parties and I actually was successful at that for a few months, maybe.
One night at the Ritz Lounge I saw the guy that was wanting to kick my ass at the party and I said hi. He asked if I knew of anyone holding. He was asking if I knew anyone therethat had blow on them currently for sale. I told him that I might, but I wasn’t sure. The truth was that I had some on me at the time, but I wanted him to think that I was having to go through someone else. I wanted some space between him and I. I’m not sure why. It just felt right to do that. Well, some time goes by, I start getting in trouble at The Ritz Lounge occasionally because I’m getting a little too fucked up. I’m breaking too many glasses while I’m washing them. I just kind of fuck everything up. It just doesn’t surprise me at all that I suck at this too. Why the fuck would I be good at it or at anything else? I’m steven Kendrick and I suck.
That same dude who wanted to kick my ass at the party starts to become a regular at the Ritz Lounge and I’m working there now on a regular basis, even though I still get into trouble for being too fucked up while working. I can’t separate the party from the job it seems. Oh, well. Don’t get a job that you’re not willing to quit.” That guy becomes a regular and he always wants coke. Always. He’s getting a decent habit and it’s obvious that I’m not the only guy he’s getting coke from. One night he’s there all night and his friends all leave, but he’s coked up and looking for more. I’m way too drunk to drive and I’m currently out of coke but, I think that Jason is awake, and he offers to give me a ride home. One of the bartenders at the Ritz Lounge actually drives my car to his place so that my ‘82 Tercel doesn’t get towed. Perfect.
Well, we get to my place and I see the lights on at Jason’s apartment. Man, I can just feel the dopamine receptors getting all ancy, not really of course, but every former coke head knows exactly what I’m talking about. That feeling when you think of it too much. There seems to be a slight “coke” like rush. It’s the weirdest fucking thing. We park and go up to my apartment. I tell homie to just wait at my place and I run down the back stairs, loud so that he hears me go down the stairs, and then I walk quietly up the other stairs and knock quietly on Jason’s door. I’m so smooth. CIA like moves, a crack head ninja. Jason opens the door and I pay him what I made that night plus some more that I had saved from the other shifts that week. We are squared away and he fronts me more coke, but even more coke this time than usual, because my buddy wants some.
I get back and we start doing some lines and drinking some shitty beer that we had in the refrigerator. My buddy starts to talk about how his friends sometimes cook it up, but he’s only done it a few times. He asks if I know how to cook up cocaine. I hardly ever get to host a fellow crack head so I’m actually kind of excited. Wow, this is kind of special. I put on some Alice and Chains and I get some chips and dip. I throw a frozen pizza in the oven. I begin to get out my big stainless-steel spoon that I found at Goodwill, while I was looking for a bowling shirt. Shut up. It was the late 90s. Go watch that movie Swingers. You’ll understand what was going on with bowling shirts at the time. Well, I noticed that my buddy was watching me intently as I was cooking up the coke. It felt really good to be asked questions regarding the process. I liked the feeling of sharing the knowledge, and just the general respect that I was receiving as a teacher, as a guide, on how to cook up cocaine. As I type this as a 47-year-old man, I’m ashamed that I taught another human being how to destroy themselves. I’m just so ashamed by that indiscretion and I really wish that I would have been able to understand the possible issues with that, but it’s important to have regrets I believe. My past failures might just help keep my present and future success grounded. You know, keep me in check.
We smoke a couple of rocks after the rocks dry, which is the longest 10 minutes or so ever recorded as it feels like a 10-minute eternity, and then it hits me. My bong. This is a special event, my first crack party around my own coffee table and I’m the cook. I go to grab my bong of the devil. I’m not going to describe the bong again. It’s described just fine in two other posts, but it’s a bad motherfucker and I eventually smashed it into many pieces. It’s dead like Zed, baby, but this night I go to grab it out of the back of my closet where it has just sat hidden inside of some paper bags from HEB, and then those were tucked into a duffel bag. It didn’t have any water of course. You dry-bong crack, when using a bong to smoke crack. Duh. I load up the bowl of the bong with kind of a small hit and hand it to my buddy. When his smoke clears, he is back on the couch almost twitching, but not in a painful or unpleasant way, there is a smile on his face after that first initial shock, that he has just experienced for the first time dissipates. “Dude, what the fuck?” I hear as I’m holding in my hit from the bong. Now, I exhale and fall back.
I’m 28 and I’m going to overdose tonight.
“Dude! Dude! Hey! Hey! Wake-up man! Hey!”
I wasn’t sure where I was. I had the strangest sensation of having someone yelling at me through some type of dense fog and I seemed to of had no sense of self for just a little bit. It wasn’t bad necessarily, but it wasn’t a high either. I don’t know if you’ve ever been shrooming and then did a huge line of coke, where you are tripping, but then when you do a huge line of coke it kind of brings you out of the shroom trip for just a bit. It felt a lot like that, but with another layer of just random disorientation and confusion. I got up from the floor, because for some reason I was on the floor, but I can’t really get up. My friend tells me to just sit down and relax. I then pass out. I wake up hours later and I’m on the floor with a blanket on me and that dude has gone through most of our coke. He’s gone. I have no idea where the fuck he is, so I take some Vicodin and some over the counter sleeping pills, go grab a beer, and guzzle all of that before passing out again. I woke up later and I had no idea if it had been two hours, two weeks, two months, or two years. I was just kind of as close to a zombie as you can be without eating brains. It took me a few days to get back and going but I would do a line or two every few hours, and that was really just so that I wouldn’t feel so lethargic. No, I didn’t go to the doctor, but that is what I call my overdose. Something happened during that binge that really knocked me the fuck out.
I feel pretty bad about that binge, not just because of my overdose, but because I ran into one of the roommates of that one guy who partied with me later on and supposedly he had become really strung out on crack. I always felt really bad about my contribution to his addiction. I was having so many issues of my own that I was just in a cloud most of the time, but I’m still doing open mics, even though I’m cracked out. Matter of fact, I smoked crack one night at the Velveeta Room just to see if I could get away with it. I did. I even went onstage one night and blew out a crack hit just before I went out. I just stood there and kind of mumbled shit. I actually got some laughs that night and I remember thinking that would be a funny act. Man, I really went overboard that night and I smoked too much coke with homie. It took me a while to feel regular again.
I’m now having an issue with work because I cut my hand bad, while washing glasses at the Ritz Lounge. Yes, I was drunk and broke a glass, which then cut my glass-washing hand. Fuck. It’s a bad time to be broke because when I ran through all of that coke with homie, he left before chipping in his money for it. I know, always get the money first. I made another rookie mistake. Fuck, that keeps happening.
Remember the other neighbors that I met at Jason’s that one day? The ones that are into the rave party scene in Austin. One of the guys has this laser for raves, it projects shit on the walls basically, but this laser was really expensive for some reason. We get all fucked up one night and we’re using the laser to post some designs literally miles away on the side of an IBM building. Holy shit, they are about to start doing rave parties with this laser and their DJ buddy. Now, they have a lot of Special K on hand and I’ve never done Special K, but it sounds like a pretty good time and I’m told that it’s just a cat tranquilizer. Well, then I want some right meow! I bought just a little bit from them and went back to my apartment. I actually really liked it, but there was a point where I was so fucked up that I really couldn’t move. I was just frozen on the big, blue, dual recliner couch for a while, and for the first and last time that I can remember, I really didn’t care about much. I remember thinking that I couldn’t really move, but I didn’t give a shit. Matter of fact if I did need to poop, I would just poop right there on the couch. Fuck it.
I’m actually starting to get some gigs in the comedy world, but mostly just headliners that either don’t have a car or they are looking for someone to get them high all night. That’s fine with me. It’s show-business. So far drugs have helped get me friends, women, and now comedy gigs. Yay drugs! You are helping me out a lot and I really appreciate it.
I hook up with Jason by giving him some money, but he extends me a larger line of credit. I promise him that I will pay him back after I go to this party and unload some coke to people that I know. The party is at a bartender’s house from 6thstreet and he’s got a bunch of people there. His friends, plus he has several roommates, and they have music blaring, people are in the pool, the grill is going, young adults are doing keg-stands, the smell of marijuana spills out from the room that was designated to be “the smoking room”, where anyone that smokes weed on 6th street is crammed in this small room that has the smell Mexican weed and an incense burner on the window sill of the window that is just slightly opened.
The Black Crowes Amorica album plays in the background and I get up from the smoke session and stumble my way outside to find my buddy that wanted a ¼ ounce of cocaine just for him, which since my guy was out of baggies, the cocaine is contained in 4 cigarette cellophane packs and closed with a twist-ties. I see him on the other side of the party across from me, by the BBQ pit, and just past the swimming pool. I’m making my way to my buddy, dodging people, just trying to be careful and then a girl stumbles while drunk and her huge boyfriend tries to save her, but she actually ends up bringing him down crashing into me and sending me right into the swimming pool. Oh, man. Everyone looks at me and there is a second of silence followed by the biggest group laugh per capita that I’ve ever heard outside of a comedy club. Holy shit everyone thought it was a riot. Everyone except for me. I was trying to get the fuck out of the pool. I had someone’s cocaine in my pocket and my brain was already picturing its inescapable demise. I could just imagine the water beginning to penetrate the loose twist-tie bond that wasn’t designed for this particular application. The water mixing with the big chunks of cocaine, just slowly rinsing the cocaine out of the packages, not all of it, but that sale is now done. I get out of the pool and I give my buddy such a look that he already knows that his coke was in my drenched pockets, but he thinks that they are in little Ziplocs, not cigarette cellophane. When he hears the news, he doesn’t really care. He just went and got it from someone else. I’m now fucked unless I jump back in the swimming pool and someone drives a dump-truck full of baking soda in there with me.
I’m 28 years old and I’m about to get evicted.