Bug Problem

"Bug Problem." 8/11/13. Colored pencil and ink on newsprint paper. 3¼x9¾”.
“Bug Problem.” 8/11/13. Colored pencil and ink on newsprint paper. 3¼x9¾”.

There have been a bunch of big, mean-looking ants, trolling around my front porch like they own the place. And they’re biters. Yesterday, I sprayed some poison around. I went outside this morning: not a bug in sight! I don’t have to be hyper-vigilant when I got outside anymore; I can sit outside and relax.

I thought about how nice that is. And how simple. I’m all fucked up right now. I’m supposed to be celebrating one year clean this week and I’m not. Money makes no sense to me. The future scares the shit out of me sometimes. Life without heroin… it sometimes reminds me of why for so long I chose life with heroin. I needed a little victory today. A problem I could act on and resolve without years of uncertainty. Like I said: simple.

But then I started thinking about how the poison might effect the lizards that hang out on my porch. Are they gonna be poisoned by it too? Am I destroying their food supply? What other environmental consequences does this spray have? Is this really all that simple?

But ultimately, I’ve got too many real problems to let myself get caught up in shit like that. Sure, it’d be nice if I could save all the trees and the lizards and we could all live happily ever after, but – first – I think I’ll just work on saving myself. Not from bugs. That’s not what I mean. From the stress and anxiety that comes with taking on problems that I don’t need to. (“Precious on the Edge” by Drunken Boat is one of my favorite songs: He knows he’s gotta save the world somehow, but first he’s gotta save himself and that’s the hardest trick of all).

I’m also reminded of a Riverboat Gamblers lyric: It seems we’ve been conditioned to think it’s unreasonable not to be miserable. That was definitely one of my core beliefs for a long time and something I had to work on a lot in treatment. If I felt good, I felt like an idiot. Like, “Hey, dumbass! Look around you! What the fuck is there to be happy about??” I try not to think that way anymore. It hasn’t been easy to shed a lot of those old ideas. I held on to them for at least two decades.

I’m glad that I have the capacity to be thoughtful—reflective. But sometimes I need to tell my inner-critic to just shut the fuck up already.

Here are both songs (and the full lyrics to “Precious on the Edge”).

Precious on the Edge lyrics


This cartoon is available as an 8×10″ print.

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