Dear Inner Circle,

Minutes ago on the footpath, a young bloke, perhaps in his thirties, put his arms around me and just didn’t let go. I knew the bloke by sight but didn’t know his name. He’s normally friendly but not affectionate. “What’s up?” I asked. “They’ve revoked my bail and I’m waiting at Wayside for the cops to find me and put me back in jail.” He wasn’t blaming anyone and he wasn’t cranky. He was sad. He got caught carrying a small amount of an illegal drug. He was rather fatalistic about spending another year behind bars, but the sadness was for yet more time wasted and his best plans amounting to nothing. The embrace continued and I was beginning to become uncomfortable until it occurred to me that this was my son. Suddenly I embraced him more tightly and lost all interest in the background story. I just quietly repeated, “You’re ok, and you’re a good man”. When the embrace broke, he said, “I’ll have a roof over my head and regular food for a while though, eh?”

Last night a generous bloke took me out to dinner. It was one of those places where any consideration of the prices on the menu seemed inappropriate. My eyes popped when I saw the wine that was ordered. Generally, I can’t tell the difference between a Grange and something that has been filtered through kitty litter, but this was a magnificent drop. By the end of the dinner we were cracking jokes that wouldn’t be funny to anyone else. My friend spent a lot of money on this evening; bucket loads compared to the guy who was going to jail. There is something odd about our policy on drugs that will encourage two old blokes to enjoy one substance but send another bloke to prison for choosing a moderate amount of the wrong substance.

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