The pre-Saul Jimmy McGill had a busy, character-building episode.“Better Call Saul – Season 1, Gun aimed point-blank at his at his forehead, pleading for first his own life, then pleading for his skateboarding, con men clients’ lives and then to keep as many body parts intact and unbroken as possible, striving to build as his law practice without relinquishing his soul to Satan, and then, at the very end of the “Mijo”, contemplating a felonious but oh-so-lucrative opportunity presented by a drug-dealing associate of the psychotic madman who was on the brink of killing him under the desert sun.
It’d be easy for Jimmy, like it’s easy for all of us when we find ourselves in an most unfortunate, stressful situation, to blame external forces for our woes. “Why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” For a long time, roughly the first fifty years (I’m 54 going on 55 as of the date of this post), I was like that.
After I got arrested and charged with my 3rd DWI within ten years, I felt that way. But before I review the circumstances of the 3rd DWI, I want to provide a thumbnail sketch of my life’s journey prior to the arrest:
I’d gotten two DWI’s, 2003 and 2007. The first one was when my wife Amy and I were heading home from a bar. We’d both been getting drunk on an extremely regular basis for about three years but alcohol wasn’t yet the completely debilitating, devastating and as it tragically turned out for my wife Amy, lethal.
But since Amy’s death (from excessive long-term drinking) on November 24, 2006, I completed an inpatient 21-day alcohol-treatment program, spent three months at a Hastings, MN halfway house (Cochran House), and had bouts of sobriety interspersed first with the roughly twice-weekly secret drunks and then after my father passed away and I had the house to myself, four- or five-day binges that led to stays in detox (2010). Then I was inspired and motivated (and disciplined enough) to stay sober for a 18 months ( 1) my wife’s death from long-term alcohol abuse and 2) Eckhart Tolle’s insights about the nature of the egoic/ego-centric mindset (from Feb. 2011 through Aug. 2012).
Then I relapsed into about a twice-weekly drunkenness habit. Most (five out of seven) I didn’t drink but on those two days, I drank a lot, mostly 1800 Tequila at home. On the day before my third DWI arrest, I went bowling alone. To break up the monotony of throwing a heavy, round ball at 10 or less pins over and over, I drank four or five beers. Between the bowling center and my apartment, I picked up another bottle of 1800. It was early the following morning (and the day of the DWI arrest) before I stopped drinking. By then, I’d consumed most of the bottle. So I went to sleep, passed out really, around one AM.
When I woke up about nine hours later, it never occurred to me that I might be legally intoxicated. I got up, dressed, and hopped in my car to drive up to Inver Grove Heights to transfer a friend’s belongings out of the house of an ex-boyfriend’s father. A missed connection with my friend’s ex-boyfriend
‘s father, me taking a wrong turn and then an error in judgment resulted in my car getting stuck in on my vehicle being stuck just beyond a city and on private property. Since I’d lost track of where exactrly in the car my cellphone was located, I had to leave my car to search for a phone to borrow to call AAA so they could tow me out of the ditch.
The problem was a pair of local police officers in a squad car showed up about the same time as the AAA tow truck. Even after one of the police officers asked me if I’d been drinking I said, and I truthfully meant it, I said no. In a way, it was true. It wasn’t like I was driving home from the bar or driving home after boozing it up a party.
But the previous day and into the early-morning hours of the day in question, I had been drinking very heavily. I’ll spare you the rest of the gory, sordid details. I was found guilty but fortuitous timing of a DWI case ruling about the legality of police taking BAC readings via breath without consent provided ammunition for my lawyers to negotiate a favorable ruling.
For a long time (two, three, four months or so) afterward, I felt cheated. My initial view of the situation was that it was a fluke. In my mind, even technically and legally I was drunk and technically I had consumed alcohol on the day of my arrest, it didn’t seem right. I hadn’t planned on drinking and driving. I presumed that when I woke up that morning and got into my car that I was okay, legally and otherwise, to drive. But ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. I was ignorant of my true sobriety/drunkenness levels. And my bad intentions – escaping reality through alcohol – put me in an unfortunate position.
It’d be easy for Jimmy, the man who eventually becomes the Breaking Bad Saul, to feel similarly. When he’s out in the desert with a violent drug dealer, Mijoʹ, threatening to kill him in an extremely painful, unpleasant way, even though we don’t know this for certain, if this were real life, the lawyer might very well have wondered, “How could I have gotten in this mess? God, please, save me, I don’t deserve to die.”
But of course, we the viewers know why Jimmy McGill was in such a pickle. It was his own damn fault. It was his con-job-gone-awry that led to him and his accomplishes being abducted by Tuco-like character from Bad. If Jimmy hadn’t been out looking to pull a con job in order to secure a new client for a bigger job – a $1.2M embezzlement case – Jimmy never would have crossed paths with Mijoʹ.
“We reap what we sow” springs to mind. Jimmy McGill and I aren’t so different. Just like Walter White and I (when I was in the throes of my addiction to alcohol) aren’t so different either. And whether you’re an addict, alcoholic or neither, you aren’t that different from Jimmy or myself. Our external circumstances and your life stories are unique, different, one of a kind, but while we’re different, we’re not separate. We’re unityed. We’re united in one impossible-to-comprehend-intellectually metaphysical tapestry. While we can’t truly understnad the nature of God, we can experience it. We have only to shove our prideful egos aside.
Until next time, this The Dr. of Badology, Lee A. Eide, signing off
“The Dr. of Badology presents The ‘Bad’ Path to Nirvana – Experience Enlightenment by Not Doing What Walter White Does” available for $2.99 at https://gumroad.com/l/RglBe.