In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wicked Witch.”

I first encountered true evil when I was a child. Our family doctor was a sweet and funny man. I often misbehaved on him, trying to run away from shots and the like, and those efforts inevitabley ended up with my poor father or mother having to run me down. I think at a point it became just playing to me but the man was never cross. My antics tended to tickle him more than anything.

He had a beautiful daughter who would sometimes come over to his office. I always minded for her. She use to bring me cookies. She had a way with all the children. The doctor didn’t trust banks (having been through the Depression) and he kept his money in a safe at his house. Soon, this information got around to the wrong people.

One night, he was beaten and robbed. His daughter was murdered in their kitchen, stabbed to death. Our small community exploded. The criminals were eventually successfully prosecuted but it didn’t matter: the girl was still dead and the doctor was never the same.

Greed. That’s what it had been about. One of the worst evils in the world — the wanting and lust for money. The love of it makes people mad, destroys lives and whole civilizations. People are enabled by wanting and people can do most anything.

People do most anything. You see that every day.

I’m not different. I’ve done much for which I’m not proud. I’ve hurt people who really cared about me, felt justified in doing it, or haven’t cared at all. Not caring was easy. Drugs and alcohol are good for that. It’s a narcissistic disease that divorces you from any reality except your own.

One day, my mother was dying. I kissed her goodbye at the hospital, went home and put my emotionally distraught child to bed. I’ll never forget my boy crying in my lap, begging me not to let his grandmother died, crying until he finally went to sleep. I tucked him in, went into the bathroom and chopped up a pick-me-up which I snorted in no short order.

That’d when it hit me: you’re a fucking junkie. I tried to tell myself that I was dealing with pain from old injuries (some of that was true), that it was the stress of trying to balance the job I was doing with the pressures of life (some of that was also true), and that it kept my own demons at bay (all bullshit).

You make up the sweetest sounding stuff in the world but at the end of the day an excuse is still just an excuse. I was what I was because I was weak and I’d forgotten how to actually deal with life. It was easier to be fried. And I learned you can do more evil to yourself than anybody else.

I think a good rule of thumb is to first, do no harm. To yourself and to anybody else. I try to be a good man and try to live an honorable life. I fail at times but I still try. Trying helps you rise above the ten million evils you might encounter everyday.

It doesn’t hurt to try, anyways.


  1. What a powerful piece! I think you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head in that “evil,” while appearing in many forms, seems to take root in man’s own self-interest to the point where it breeds destruction and chaos to everything and everyone around him. However, what man does with that evil, actively and perfectly aware and (key word here) conscienceless, is what makes HIM evil. Anyway, great blog entry! Thank you for sharing this. Thank you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did the denial game for a long time. I think there are two kinds of substance abusers. The first is the rock bottom kind, who you’d see and think of as a junkie. Then there are those that who are really good at faking a normal life. I kept my job at the time, was never really broke, managed to be a single dad— there couldn’t be anything wrong with me, I was successful and not in the gutter! It took loosing my mom and nearly dying myself to figure out some unpleasant truths about myself. And to accept I wasn’t perfect. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This piece did go directly to the biggest source of evil, the direct explanation. I admire your honesty and willingness to share an ugly truth. I’m glad that you found the strength to fight your addiction. The tragedy saddens me, but again, your strength was born from your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind compliments. Evil is sort of a simple thing when stripped of all of the psychological, sociological and pop culture mumbo jumbo— a banal thing and kind of dumb. We’re all good and bad. Whichever one wins depends on us.

      Liked by 1 person

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