Our authorized sanities are so many Nembutals. “Normal” citizens with store-dummy smiles stand apart from each other like cotton-packed capsules in a bottle. Perpetual mental out-patients. Maddeningly sterile jobs for strait-jackets, love scrubbed into an insipid “functional personal relationship” and Art as a fantasy pacifier… And we all know this… Slowly, very slowly we are led nowhere. — San Francisco Digger Papers, 1965
HOPKINS VILLAGE, BELIZE — Sitting down here in Central America happily abusing my health, occasionally, between the hangovers and the bouts with sand fleas and mosquitoes comes an insight or two, or at least what passes for insight in my lowbrow take on life. One of these is just how damned lucky the Third World is that it cannot afford a sophisticated mental health system. By that I mean the kind in the “developed countries,” where murder and suicide rates are quintuple what they are here in this village. Not that we are without own village resources. My Garifuna buddy Eljay, was in what we would call a depressed state a few months ago, and went to a local “spirit doctor.” The wizened old spirit mojo man cured Eljay with a single utterance: “Quit smokin da ganja for one month.” It worked. Total cost: About $2.50 and a pound of red beans. They say the old spirit doctor also treats such things as sexual dysfunction, though I sure as hell cannot detect much evidence of dysfunction, judging from the noises in the village cabanas and under beachside palms at night.