Those who play the game do not see it as clearly as those who watch.
Awake in a giant nightis where I amThere is a river where my soul,hungry as a horse drinks beside me
Words Of Wisdom To My Child
I would that I were an old beggar
Rolling a blind pearl eye,
For he cannot see my lady
Go gallivanting by.
The strongest souls dress in suits of scars.
Jurgis, being a man, had troubles of his own. There was another specter following him. He had never spoken of it, nor would he allow any one else to speak of it–he had never acknowledged its existence to himself. Yet the battle with it took all the manhood that he had– and once or twice, alas, a little more. Jurgis had discovered drink.
He was working in the steaming pit of hell; day after day, week after week–until now, there was not an organ of his body that did its work without pain, until the sound of ocean breakers echoed in his head day and night, and the buildings swayed and danced before him as he went down the street. And from all the unending horror of this there was a respite, a deliverance–he could drink! He could forget the pain, he could slip off the burden; he would see clearly again, he would be master of his brain, of his thoughts, of his will. His dead self would stir in him, and he would find himself laughing and cracking jokes with his companions–he would be a man again, and master of his life.
It was not an easy thing for Jurgis to take more than two or three drinks. With the first drink he could eat a meal, and he could persuade himself that that was economy; with the second he could eat another meal–but there would come a time when he could eat no more, and then to pay for a drink was an unthinkable extravagance, a defiance of the agelong instincts of his hunger-haunted class. One day, however, he took the plunge, and drank up all that he had in his pockets, and went home half “piped,” as the men phrase it. He was happier than he had been in a year; and yet, because he knew that the happiness would not last, he was savage, too with those who would wreck it, and with the world, and with his life; and then again, beneath this, he was sick with the shame of himself. Afterward, when he saw the despair of his family, and reckoned up the money he had spent, the tears came into his eyes, and he began the long battle with the specter.
THE JUNGLE – Upton Sinclair