<center><p> <b><u>REVIEW OF THE WEEK</u><p> by<p> BAO DAI OF HOLLYWOOD</b><p> </center> <left> DATELINE: HOLLYWOOD: September 2, 2001<p> </left> <center> <b><u>THE BOSS' FRIEND AND THE TEMP ... or The Addict and the Dead Guy</b></u><p> </center>

It's a whacky world, and one in which it's probably not best to share too much with others, because if you do, others may take the blinders off and bite you in the ass.

One of the seemingly endless string of temporary secretaries actually seemed to know what she was doing. She also, it turns out, was very up front about the fact she was "an alcoholic and drug addict" recovering in AA and NA (the latter being a group which, for those of you who don't know, is not affiliated with AA and has been giving AA a bad name since it broke away in the 50s, but that's just my opinion).

Well, on the second day this woman, whose name I can't even recall so I can't even break her anonymity a little bit, had to go home because her boyfriend -- another recovering addict -- had overdosed on something at some time and either was taking care of her children while she was working or was supposed to be doing that but was instead either face down in a gutter or had taken up residence at a crack house or was on a respirator at a hospital or was nodding off while the children ran naked through the house unfed, undiapered and perhaps decorating his comatose body with finger paints.

Now it didn't bother me that these jokes ran rampant about the unknown boyfriend, and I assumed she never returned to work out of choice, not because, in total disregard of the law the office manager told the temp agency we would not take her back because she was an alcoholic/addict and darn proud of it (as she should be -- albeit perhaps a bit more quietly), but it bothered me that the crisis being faced by this woman somehow inspired what those of us call in AA "normies" to assign to her some sort of moral fault, and that she became the butt of a series of jokes after the boss made sure everyone knew she was herself an addict and alcoholic (albeit a recovering one).

And it bothered me to stand there and chuckle along, like a light skinned octoroon with processed hair trying to pass. I'm ashamed, because I know first hand this woman fought -- fights, perhaps daily -- a battle not one of them could ever imagine. I'm ashamed because I know it is not a moral failing on her part that made her into an alcoholic and addict. I'm ashamed because I know the indescribable hell she has where she has been, and where she fears she may again end up and how society has made her fight all the harder by criminalizing her problem... a problem she has the moral courage to at least attempt to address -- whether through AA or NA or methadone maintenance or naltrexone tablets or whatever.

She felt she had a problem and was making an honest effort to improve her lot in life.

Most people ignore their problems -- or deny they exist -- in themselves and in others.

A few weeks later a good friend of the bosses died -- from "mixing" a tranquilizer with a painkiller. The boss claimed it was "just some freak thing.

Freak is right. A freak right out of the end of the Sixties is my guess.

Oh yeah, it could have been a rare reaction to one Valium and a Tylenol #3, but one wonders why he took such drugs together ... well, some might wonder. Some can guess -- it's statistically a lot more likely that it was a freak accident which happened when the friend was trying to drown the intolerable pain of being.

So who is the morally stronger? The woman or the boss' friend? Neither, in my view -- they were just at different places at different times. But what about the boss who cannot acknowledge that his friend was indeed a lot more like the woman -- or her boyfriend -- than like him?

Daes he feel morally superior to his friend? I doubt it, nor should he.the intolerable pain of being Perhaps the true sadness in this warped little anecdote is that the boss sees the two differently -- and would have seen his friend differently, and weaker, had he been strong enough to seek help.the intolerable pain of being Talk about a whacky world.the intolerable pain of being