“Philip Seymour Hoffman” by Nick Flynn

Last summer I found a small box stashed away in my apartment,
a box  filled with enough Vicodin to kill me.  I would  have sworn
that  I’d  thrown it away years earlier,  but apparently not. I stared
at the white pills blankly for a long while, I even took a picture of
them,  before  (finally, definitely)  throwing  them away.  I’d been
sober  (again)  for  some years  when  I found that box,  but every
addict  has  one— a  little  box,  metaphorical  or  actual— hidden
away.  Before I flushed them  I held them in my palm,  marveling
that  at  some  point in  the  not-so-distant  past it seemed a good
idea  to  keep a  stash of  pills on hand.  For an emergency, I told
myself.  What kind of emergency? What  if  I needed  a root canal
on  a  Sunday  night?  This little  box  would  see me through until
the   dentist   showed   up  for   work  the  next  morning.  Half  my
brain  told  me  that,  while  the other half  knew that  looking into
that  box  was  akin  to  seeing  a photograph of myself standing on
the  edge of a bridge,  a bridge  in the  familiar  dark neighborhood
of  my  mind,   that   comfortable  place   where  I  could  somehow
believe that fuck it was an adequate response to life.


Nick Flynn, “Philip Seymour Hoffman” from My Feelings. (Graywolf Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Nick Flynn.

“The best you’ll ever feel is when you’ve done a good job.  That’s the best you’ll ever feel. And that satisfaction is wonderful because it’s a job well done. And I’m grateful for all of it. But I know at the end of the day that when I was shooting “Capote” or I was shooting any film I’ve done or done any play that the day that ended where I felt like I acted well and I went home and I was able to breathe a free breath that was long and deep, you know, and will go to bed and my eyes shut and I went to sleep peacefully.  Those– that’s– that’s as good as it gets.” Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014). From Steve Kroft’s interview with Hoffman for CBS in 2006.

Related Words for the Year posts: “Stop” and “I don’t know what it means to be happy

4 thoughts on ““Philip Seymour Hoffman” by Nick Flynn

  1. Brian Dean Powers

    Having never faced such a moment, I appreciate the author’s description. Note: flushing drugs down the toilet just puts them into the water supply. Don’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Clark

    Please tell the author NEVER to flush pills down the toilet and to think of the environment even if he or she messes up the environment by committing suicide! Please dispose of them properly by taking them to the local pharmacy to dispose of properly! Thank you! Ann


    Liked by 1 person

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