The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 42
Casey wanted a portfolio. Didn’t have one. Instead I delivered three new canvases and six or eight ink on paper drawings. Not easy, given the bulk of the work, two bus transfers and a quarter mile walk from Bundy down Wilshire.
Meeting three. “The D.O.R.,” said Casey, “has many arms. So the REALLY good news is that one of our consultants wants to buy one of your paintings.”
Me: That’s wonderful! Really?!
Casey: Yes. And the other good news is that you pass go, on a certain level. What I mean is… the work you presented helps us determine a direction, develop a plan. The DOR’s goal, after all, is to find appropriate and long term employment for our clientele.
My mind was blown. All this plus their affiliation with the Westside Center for Independent Living, an advocacy group that supported and guided DOR clients through the bureaucratic maze surrounding Social Security disability benefits; and the Center for the Partially Sighted, which offered, at zero cost, psychological counseling.
AND testing and training programs and, in my case, an all expenses paid trip back to college—Santa Monica College, specifically—in a two year program called Arts & Entertainment.
PLUS a shitload of tech, as in a brand new Mac computer which included the latest version of Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut, a digital video editing program.
And a TV with a built-in VCR player.
And two drafting tables with accompanying lamps and chairs.
I hadn’t owned even a chair in over a decade.
And finally—after an initial denial and appeal and threats of eviction from Lloyd’s property management peeps—I was awarded SS disability benefits, Medicare and Medi-cal. I could now pay, (or co-pay, rather), for my eye meds, and Dr. Bleckman would no longer have to write off the cost of my visits.
So, when I presented her with that news plus three mounted and matted and framed, 16 x 20”, ink on paper drawings, she made a leap I had not anticipated.
Bleckman: Thank you for these. I’ll have Suki take down that flower crap in reception and hang them there. And I’ll tell patients who, like you, have to hear and deal with an “end stage” diagnosis, (and unlike you decide to give up), to have a look at these on their way out. (Long pause as she gazed at me, her brain switching tracks) Except… I don’t think you’re going to make it in this Arts & Entertainment thing.
Me: I know. But I have to go through the motions. Letting down my counselor would…
Bleckman: Oh, the Usher’s Syndrome guy?
Me: He may be the only man—the only REAL MAN—I’ve ever met.