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Grey Monday

Warsaw: What’s worse than a blue Monday? A grey Monday… But it is good to be alive, especially compared to the alternative, which is more than I can say for some. I mean the dead. We lost…I lost a number of pals in the last year: J, R, LM, LW, M & P. That’s six. Some of them I had known for a very long time– if twenty plus years is a long time. If you are a Millennial, it is. of course. I’m not. I’m being paid to write a book about one of them. I ought to write about them all. Two, LW and M, died of cancer at ages (ripe for the Reaper) of 50 and 39. Two of my other friends beat the Big C during this time. At least for now. R, a legendary musician who received the highest state award for art, was murdered on his doorstep, beaten into a coma by a deranged fan. He died virtually broke. So few do the starving artist any more these days. A great man, but not because of that. LM smoked himself to death after smoking two packs a day for fifty years. He got pneumonia and died in hospital. And J. What to say about him? He disappeared into a bottle like the Honorary Consul in Under the Volcano. J’s heart gave out. His organs shut down after a round of golf on a glorious, sunny day in April. His death started the cavalcade. It’s been a war zone around here. I know. I’ve been in a few. It’s been desperate, It’s been depressing. It’s been confusing. Buddies dropping out of the struggle. One murder. Two cancer. One alcoholic. One smoker. One suicide. The youngest of us all and the one I knew the least but still well enough, hung himself on Boxing Day. He was 27. We didn’t hear about what happened until the next week. He didn’t show up for a meeting. He didn’t answer the phone. How could he?
These things weight on your mind on a grey Monday at the end of March.

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