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7 – Then Who Are The Dutch?

Driving brings out the worst in me. In most situations, I am calm, cool, and collected until I run into someone who doesn’t know how to merge onto the highway. Then I lose my shit. I guess it is safer to release all of my pent-up anger on a stranger instead of my family, friends, and co-workers. So being stuck in the car for ten hours, with my Ego riding shotgun, made for a miserable ride home from Pittsburgh. I rolled into my driveway just after midnight and quietly snuck into bed, doing my best not to wake the family. …

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6 – Daniel-San

“Welcome to the SpringHill Suites, Mr. Hughes. What brings you to Pittsburgh?”  Well, Scott, that’s a great fucking question. I am here because I have lost my will to live. A darkness has been growing inside me for decades, and it has metastasized into every part of my mind, body, and soul. I used to be able to pretend everything was okay, but I have run out of places to stuff all this pain. Now it’s spilling out of me and hurting everyone I love. You are probably thinking, if things are that bad, then I should just kill myself,…

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5 – Curioser & Curiouser!

I didn’t expect to be so angry after my first psychedelic experience.  I felt stupid for believing all the bullshit propaganda I had been fed while growing up on Saturday morning cartoons. The puritanical terrorist organizations of the early eighties had convinced me drugs would destroy my life and I would get AIDS the first time I had sex. No wonder all my high school friends who were fucking and getting high seemed so happy. They were! Not only did the mushrooms not fry my brain like a scrambled egg, but I actually felt better than I had in a…

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4 – Hank Meets Frank

Deciding to try psychedelics and trying psychedelics are farther apart than the rules of conjugation might suggest.  The first obstacle was my deep-seated fear of drugs. I was only ten years old when the Partnership for a Drug-Free America started scaring the shit out of kids every Saturday morning with their “Just Say No” public service announcements. They even hired Mr. T to threaten children with physical violence if they even thought about getting high. It was an effective campaign because there I was, decades later, still worried psychedelics would instantly scramble my brain like a fried egg. That is…

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3 – The Omnivore’s Decison

The hardest part about telling any story is deciding where it should begin. This one starts with a book about food.  In 2011, the Universe felt it was time for me to make a change. In her infinite wisdom, she decided the best way to get things started was to wind up and deliver a 1-2 punch that would knock me on my fucking ass.  The left jab came when I got laid off. Like most shots to the chin, it was a total surprise. My wife had been a stay-at-home mom since 2001. While she worked ten times harder…

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2 – Gargantua

I spent the next few years stuck at the bottom of this crevasse, but something was different. If I squinted just right, I could see a tiny spec of light off in the distance. Most would have felt hope, but it was discouraging to know how far I had fallen. I didn’t bother screaming for help. Who is going to hear me down here?  I would have some good days, which I could occasionally string together into good weeks. But the darkness would eventually find me. While I still thought about suicide often, I never put the gun back in…

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1 – The List

I am not sure what scared me more, making a list of reasons not to kill myself or only coming up with one thing. I sat there for hours, the paper in one hand and a gun in the other, wondering who would finally win this existential battle for my soul. I knew my list should have been longer, but my depression kept me from seeing all the beautiful things in my life. I was born a healthy, intelligent, relatively attractive, white, heterosexual, American male who was raised by two middle-class parents. These genetic tailwinds allowed me to parlay my…

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Who the Hell Is Hank?

I am Hank Hughes, and hopefully, that is the last time I will feel the need to lie to you. You see, I recently figured out why I was such a shitty author. It’s because I was afraid to be vulnerable. Instead of sharing what was in my heart, I chose to write about politics, satirical pop culture puff pieces, and even some erotica. Stuff that would manufacture attention but never expose my soul to any real criticism. The romance stuff was pretty hot, and the satire bits got a few laughs, but ultimately everything I wrote left me feeling…

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