Tuesday, June 30, 2009
At Fletc they have on one wall a famous set of booking photographs that were taken by the NYPD. They show the deterioration of drug users over time. There are a few sets of them also in binders but the most striking is of a beautiful girl who over about three years turns into a horrible old woman. You can literally see her wither month by month. We were told that they were also displayed where those arrested are processed at The Tombs and that when she was brought in she would point proudly at them and say "That's me."
Horrified I asked how could she? The Instructor of the drugs class, who is also a Law Enforcement Officer with about 30 years experience and a Minister, shook his head and said "She doesn't see, no one sees. When they look in the mirror they only see the beautiful girl in the first photograph."
It may be a gift that enables us to endure pain or compete against youth that lays us vulnerable to the temptations of life but in a real sense at some point we stop seeing ourselves change. In the addict the change is just more dramatic.
This has little to do with Fred who was a good man and a shrewd observer. He will be missed.