A junkie coughs on first street, sticks a needle in his arm
you know he never meant to do anyone no harm
but he's buried six feet deep, that's just the way it's supposed to be
and I can't help but wonder, don't you know it coulda been me.
-Mike Ness, Social Distortion, 'it coulda been me'
Today I found out a friend from long ago died last week of a heroin overdose. I am reminded at this time of a song by Social Distortion, 'It coulda been me'. Levi Jackson was a friend from a time in my life when I was more interested in being wasted than what was going on around me. The two of us were inseparable; we were like Beavis and Butthead. At some point, around the time that I turned 16 Levi and I started to drift apart, until then we were on the same course. We took a lot of codeine and morphine together, we took all of the hallucinogens that we could get our hands on, we drank, we smoked pot, we fucked around. We used to go on runs to steal cigarettes from the local Woolworth, we robbed from cars, we smashed their windows just for the fuck of it. We walked a very destructive path together. I still don't know why I drifted apart from Levi, why I grew up and he didn't. I don't know why I wasn't with him last wednesday sticking a needle in my own arm. I look at the situation and I can't see anything that separates me from him, anything to sway my course from my own self-destruction. But here I am with a future and a life while Levi is in a box in the ground.
I hadn't seen Levi in a while. I had gotten myself to thinking that I was better than him. The last time I saw him he was telling me about how he had gotten himself off the hook for stealing two cars and driving drunk and unlicensed. I walked away from it thinking about how it was exactly the kind of shenanigans that we had pulled when I was younger, but the stakes were higher now. He was stealing cars and endangering other people's lives. It was easy to write him off as just another loser but today when I heard the news I shed tears for Levi Jackson. He was a human being and he had been my friend, it sounds so clichéd but now he is another statistic.