America is Addicted
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America is Addicted


America is Addicted

The problem with addiction is it eats you alive but is intensely temporarily pleasurable. I want to recreate that intense pleasure. Give me pleasure. Give me more and more and more until I collapse like Keith Moon or John Belushi—not to mention Chris Farley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis, Heath Ledger, Edgar Allen Poe and potentially Shia LaBeouf.

I am Eddie Pepitone and I am an addict. But aren’t we all? Hello, I am America and I am an addict! Hello, America. I have no days clean and my sponsor is dead. I am a country built on the bones of the native Americans, my higher power is money, shopping, sex, drugs and soft food.

I kid, America, because it is my native land. We are living in the End Times. Now I know this has been said before by every generation. Take my word for it, this time it’s true. I just watched Arctic Tale, which is about a polar bear and a walrus and suffice it to say we are fucked. The polar bear and walrus get fucked because of the melting ice. And we are fucked because the oceans will rise because of the melting ice and we’ll be in the middle of ordering a Frappucino when the ocean will fucking engulf us. I need a bigger vocabulary but some synonyms for fucked are damned, condemned, ruined and unlucky; I prefer fucked.

I watched Arctic Tale in the San Fernando Valley—a dry desert consumed with wildfires, drought and narcissism. I am measuring my food now, as I am seriously dieting and in a 12-step weight loss program. I craved a peach during Arctic Tale and even though my food sponsor said not to eat fruit late at night, I did. I dared to eat a peach, even though my life is measured in coffee spoons. I have lost 25 pounds recently, due to no refined sugar and no refined flour in my diet. I have 55 days of this Spartan regime. Even though I must say that since eliminating sugar, I now appreciate the wonderful treasures known as fruit. I eat strawberries and peaches now with a passion. No more triple chocolate mousse layer cake. Watermelon makes me a dangerous man.

Is it just a choice of addictions? Pick your poison: gambling, drugs, the Internet, TV, sex, food or shopping. Addicted to talking about addiction? To analyzing addictive behavior? Isn’t another way of saying “We’re addicted” to say “We are alive”? To be alive is to be split between enlightenment and ignorance, the two warring sides of human nature. But we know fucking better. I know better. I am an animal who lives at Fountain and Vine. I am measuring my food and listening to the Dalai Lama but I still want to kill. I am a beast with a Blackberry. I am a creature who owns a gorgeous entertainment center. I have a big screen high-def TV and a large hole in the center of my soul. I am a dangerous, modern Southern California comic who is one bad mood away from obliterating everything I love. Even though I eliminated flour and sugar and pot and booze and Klonopin from my life, I am still dangerous because I am all too human. I go to The Grove with good intentions but if the line is too long at the Starbucks café within the Barnes and Noble, I have murder on my mind. We are primitive-brained modern hunter-gatherers, but now we hunt and gather Iphones and warmed-up snicker doodles. We are brutes in our ape bodies in sterile, ostensibly pleasant corporate environments and we are shopping. Who doesn’t like the fucking Grove? You have to be a moron not to dig the shiny, good-natured, trolley riding, gourmet coffee drinking, fountain spewing, clothes-buying, people-watching, fresh food shopping, ice cream eating paradise that is the motherfucking Grove.

But what happens at The Grove does not stay at The Grove. What I mean is: we buy stuff and take it back to our homes and turn on our Internet and TVs, put in our DVD’s and make sandwiches on our brand new panini presses we get at The Grove. It doesn’t stay at The Grove, we take it fucking home. I have a panini press and Sacco and Vanzetti had a printing press; they got out the word on injustice and repression and I made a brie and ham sandwich that was warm. Sometimes I get angry at The Grove if my warmed-up cookie is too dry or there isn’t enough foam on my cappuccino or if the salesperson at the Banana Republic is aloof and disinterested. I’ve had my primeval side come out on the trolley when someone bumped me or rudely stepped on my foot. My bestial side wanted to kill and all I could do was buy an ice cream at Haagen Daaz. Then I went home and jerked off furiously to the images of the other female homo sapiens who inspired my lust, then I payed a bill online. I love the convenience. I am not saying I want to go back to our pre-industrial, pre-historic natural state. Wait, yes I am. I want to be at Fountain and Vine when instead of a Kinko’s, there were saber tooth tigers and Mastadons and orange groves. I don’t think Hollywood had gossip rags about what the Mastadons did.

I stray from the topic of addictions. We are all addicts, consumers of things and stuffs and we are all in a fight for our true selves. Meditate in a temple to cure my addictive behavior? I get a bit antsy when I am around other meditators. I don’t like other seekers. I find seekers to be pissed-off people who do yoga and meditation to avoid their real natures. You ever go to a yoga studio and have your mat invade the space of another yoga prick’s mat? I have. These people can make you shy away from bettering yourself and make you want to go shopping or eating or fucking or fighting or gambling or boozing or bong-hitting. I think we as a nation have to accept the fact that we are too late to stop the cycle of eating our own tails, of eating ourselves alive in order to be complete and whole. We are a nation of broken people and we can only hope to cobble together our lives in a way that minimizes the pain.  The country is filled with violence, lust, desperation and severed connections and all we can do is watch movies at the Dome while sucking down a huge Diet Coke and hope for a good end to all this.

 A version of this post originally appeared on his blog.

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About Author

Eddie Pepitone is a stand-up comedian and actor who has appeared repeatedly on Conan as well as on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Sarah Silverman Program, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle's Show and Brooklyn Nine Nine, among many others. He is the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary The Bitter Buddha and hosts the podcast Pep Talks on the All Things Comedy Network.