Many people ask me: “Hey, Der, how do you do it? How do you cope and maintain your patience, what with people, life, and all the rest of it?” After thanking them for these questions and feigning appreciation for their thoughts, I explain that I operate on three levels: meditation, mediation, and medication. First, I find much spiritual solace and inner peace through a series of meditations that I’ve developed from studying Buddhist masters in the Himalayas. I couldn’t afford a trip to India, so I rented a cabin in North Dakota. I read a few books about yoga that I picked up in Fargo. I also learned to pray the rosary from a Trappist monk. A quiet time of introspection not only clears my mind of psychological and sociological pollution, but it gives me strength to deal with the Homo sapiens on a daily basis. Second, I mediate between the desires of my heart and my social responsibilities in an ongoing process of compromise and negotiation. This way I keep my mind balanced and the savage impulses within me at bay. Lastly, and most of all, I medicate myself with just about anything I can find on the market these days (and allegedly in the black market as well). It’s not so much about the drugs or alcohol as it is the impact they have on my physical constitution. Someday I hope to write a book about my triumphant journey toward healing and inner serenity, but I’ll first need to sober up and go through detox.