CHAPTER 73 Dog Fights At Dinner

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copyright 2015 Chris Smith All rights reserved.

"Male veterans in the general U.S. population are twice as likely as their civilian peers to die by suicide."

Kaplan, Huguet, McFarland, Newsom

It was almost nine O'clock by the time we sat down for dinner. We were all hungry and tired. I was exhausted, having washed myself three more times after the skunk episode.

My Parents started into one of their Episodes, over the big topic of guacamole. The air was an ocean of negative energy.

I wanted to run for the hills. I hated being here with them! I wanted to peel my skin off. I want to peel all the breaths right off my soul. I hated everything about this life.

They were consumed and overflowing with self-hatred. They were suffocating in it so much so that it overtook what little light they had still burning. Mom was drinking alcohol every damn night, which wasn't helping with her moods.

I'd talked to her about her drinking a few times. But she didn't want to hear it. As long as she had only a couple of drinks a night, she didn't think there was a problem. The truth was, she didn't always have one drink. She was in total denial.

And what constitutes one drink?

Should we measure by fluid ounce?

Mom changed the glass she drank her booze in. So the measuring thing went right out the window. And really, she never drank just two drinks. Some nights, she'd open a bottle of wine, and drink three quarters of it by herself.

Dad stopped drinking over twenty years ago. I used to drink a little but I hadn't had a drink in months though because I made it a point not to drink when I was sick. Alcohol turns into sugar, and sugar feeds microorganisms, which wasn't going to help my healing. I wanted to get rid of the bad microorganisms I already had. The last thing I needed was more of them.

All the stress and mounting pressure and Mom's answer was to turn to the booze. But it wasn't helping her. The booze was making it worse. And Dad hated everything about alcohol, too many memories from his past. It wasn't helping Mom's brain and her existing memory issues.


Drinking didn't make problems go away. If it did, it would have solved Mom's by now. The only thing it was good for was small windows were life felt good. But those were just illusions. It made Mom's mood swings worse and more unpredictable. She'd also have to keep feeding the sugar demon cravings nipping at her ankles with the higher alcohol consumption.

The booze was also making Mom more depressed. I could see that fact staring me right in the face. And forget about talking to her and reasoning on any kind of level when Mom was spun up in a booze Episode. Booze Episodes were like the ultimate Mom throw down.

I knew Mom was upset about the upcoming Lock-Out day. The idea of leaving her Farm was like the end of my Mom's world...the end of days. She felt the Farm was her whole life, and without it, she had nothing. It seemed like the Farm was more important than we were to her.

Mom grew up in a family where there was a lot of importance on monetary wealth. It was great if you were in business. But your business better be turning a regular profit. And you better be towing the line because there were consequences if you didn't.

My Grandmother's only lesson to me about money was to "live off your interest and never spend your capital." Okay. Good tip. But she had no words of wisdom to give about making money. She wasn't an entrepreneur.

In fact my Grandmother's side was littered with inheritances. I bet the ancestors who had built things could have given me an education on money. But inheritances alone don't educate. They don't tell you how to build from scratch. They don't teach you how to create a product from nothing and have it generate money.

So what did Mom have to show for herself if she didn't have money or her Farm?

Nothing. She was nothing without the money. Apparently.

Poor Dad, the fearless leader, was prime target for Mom's foul mood. The poor guy was beat the fuck up. Between how he already felt about himself and how Mom was going after him, it was a shock he even got out of bed every day.

I had never been to an actual dog fight but it felt like I was watching one tonight. They put on quite the show. The fur was flying and there was a lot of yelling and crying. All it was missing were the growls and the blood. I could have sold tickets and made a nice profit if I wasn't so fucked about it.

I couldn't handle them when they went into a Red Zone Episode. There was no backing them down. They needed someone strong enough to separate them from each other. I was barely hanging onto my own sanity.

Neither one of them was right. There was no right or wrong, just two people verbally attacking the very person they professed to love. It made no sense to me.

Dr. Phil would say, "Someone needs to be the Hero."

But I didn't see a Hero in this room. In fact, as messed up as I was, I was the closest thing to one. I was the one trying my best to play referee with the grown-ups. I was the one putting myself in harm's way trying to break up their fights.

I didn't put food into my mouth until 9:30 p.m. But I'd lost my appetite again. I hadn't the stomach for the food. Their self-absorbed fight had robbed me of my desire to eat...again.

Mom's big dinner consisted of chips, salsa, guacamole, and oh yeah, two beers. No, no drinking problem there.

"Stressed people drink more alcohol, smoke more, and eat less nutritious foods than non-stressed individuals. Many people report drinking alcohol in response to various types of stress, and the amount of drinking in response to stress is related to the severity of the life stressors and the individuals' lack of social support networks."

Melissa Conrad Stoppler M.D.

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