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“