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EXCERPT | How Matthew Perry's drug addiction started when he was just seven weeks old

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Friends, Lover, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry.
Friends, Lover, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry.

BOOK: Friends, Lover, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry.

I was born on August 19, 1969, a Tuesday, the son of John Bennett Perry, late of the Serendipity Singers, and Suzanne Marie Langford, former Miss Canadian University Snow Queen. There was a huge storm the night I arrived (of course there was); everyone was playing Monopoly waiting for me to show up (of course they were). I hit the planet about a month after the Moon landing, and one day after Woodstock ended— so, somewhere between the cosmic perfection of the heavenly orbs, and all that shit down at Yasgur’s Farm, I became life, interrupting someone’s chance to build hotels on Boardwalk.

I came out screaming, and I didn’t stop screaming. For weeks. I was a colicky kid— my stomach was a problem from the very start. My parents were being driven crazy by the amount I was crying. Crazy? Concerned, so they hauled me off to a doctor. This is 1969, a prehistoric time compared to now. That said, I don’t know how advanced civilization has to be to understand that giving phenobarbital to a baby who just entered his second month of breathing God’s air is, at best, an interesting approach to pediatric medicine. But it wasn’t that rare in the 1960s to slip the parents of a colicky child a major barbiturate. Some older doctors swore by it— and by it, I mean, "prescribing a major barbiturate for a child that’s barely born who won’t stop crying."

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