fishhook addiction

First encounters … first impressions …

A year or so back at the soup kitchen here in Penticton, I met a new volunteer one morning … we’ll call him Johnny …

Johnny was perhaps 45 years old, good-looking and a soft- but well-spoken fellow.

Normal … whatever that is.

We engaged in light and pleasant conversation throughout the morning of chopping and dicing vegetables and plating out desserts.

It surprised me a bit when he related that he came to the soup kitchen a couple of days each week to have lunch himself.

This didn’t line up with my first impression of him. I tried not to ask too many probing questions.

After the lunch rush of serving the crowds of hungry folks, Johnny asked me if I could drive him by his place on my journey home.

Sure.

As we drove along, we continued to chat amiably. I liked him.

I dropped him off at a local beach-strip motel (off-season rental).

Johnny explained that he stayed at the motel during the quiet season but when the tourists arrived, he would be asked to vacate which meant that he must either find a cheap summer rental somewhere or camp out in the local parks.

I pulled away with a lot of questions… a lot of wonder on my mind.

The following week I read a Letter to the Editor in the Penticton Herald newspaper… I immediately recognized Johnny’s name attached to the bottom of a very eloquent and impressively-reasoned letter about a federal political issue. Wow!

During my next shift at the soup kitchen I asked a friend what she knew about Johnny.

In a hushed voice, she described him as a lovely man who had graduated and worked as a lawyer for some years.

But, at some point, his addictions and episodes of depression got the better of him … he made mistakes … too many, too big mistakes… eventually he was disbarred.

Angel crash.

Anyway, Johnny is a stark reminder to me that many many people of great warmth and intelligence fight demons and don’t always come out on the winning end of their struggles.

Which all brings me to this week and a new song lyric I’ve written…

Guitar music

… the lyric is a reflection of a fellow perhaps a little like Johnny… someone who gets through his days, barely … often with difficulty and pain.

CALL ME JOHNNY FISHHOOK

CHORUS
Call me Johnny Fishhook
though most just call me J
Yeah, I was you upon a time
so I get your stares and looks
you’re the mirror I used to hold
before I caught the hook

Verse 1
I loved my life
you know I made the grade
got the college degree
the first time I got laid
funny, called to the bar
was kinda different in those days

Verse 2
The child I keep inside
didn’t always look this ripe
Tonight I stalk the alleys
in dark and in the light
where I find my friends and worries
varied tones of my own stripe

Verse 3
Mornings then I hack awake
sometimes stiff and cold
to catch the demons attacking
grabbing at my soul
life’s miracle never came to my paradise
so today I sleep with mice

Verse 4
I haven’t lived here all my life
years back I even had a wife
I wonder if cancer might be easy
could those demons be less creepy
that they hold a gentler knife
my tears hold less sacrifice

CHORUS
Call me Johnny Fishhook
though most just call me J
Yeah, I was you upon a time
so I get your stares and looks
you’re the mirror I used to hold
before I caught the hook

addiction hook