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Our vendors: Gernot (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

By Gernot Holzinger, Augustin

I was born in 1964. My parents were originally from the Waldviertel region in the north-west of Lower Austria, but later moved to Salzburg where my father, who was in the Austrian Armed Forces, was stationed. I do not wish to discuss the quality of relations within my family.

Hardly anyone has a longer list of jobs under their belt than I do: it includes around 30 different employers. This lengthy list has a lot to do with my downward spiral from social drinker to closet drunk. I couldn’t put up with any boss – and no boss could put up with me either. And so, even when I had not drunk a single drop, I still quit countless jobs. I possess the unfortunate quality of not taking kindly to subordination.

I lasted the longest in my “most intellectual” job, which was in the university library. The worst job I’ve ever had was at the tax authorities of the city of Salzburg. There, I received nothing but abuse from the customers – as if I were responsible for them having to pay more tax. I have been on antidepressants since the age of 18. If you need a label to describe my life story, then I would suggest “multiple addiction phenomena”. That’s how a therapist described me. Besides my alcohol addiction, which I have been unable to overcome despite numerous courses of withdrawal therapy, I am also addicted to slot machines and pills.

I think I was about 22 when I first went to Vienna. My addictions prevented any stability. I have been honoured with a “lifetime ban” from the Gruft, which is an emergency shelter in the 6th district run by the Caritas charity. Other emergency shelters accepted me in my drunken state, but I could not accept their house rules: you must be out by 8 a.m., aren’t allowed in before 6 p.m. but then have to be in by 10 p.m. These days, I sleep at a homeless shelter run by the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB). Their rules are not as strict, though I don’t think they like it when I invite someone to my room.

I consider myself an Augustin veteran and I certainly identify with this paper. Firstly, with regard to its content. And secondly, because it helped me to overcome my depression. I have already written for the Augustin, too. I am currently suffering from writer’s block though, which I need to get past somehow. I now have my gambling under control. I have had myself registered on the casino self-exclusion list. I no longer have any gambling debts: my only debts are with the Wiener Linien public transport authorities for travelling without a ticket. It is a hefty sum. I actively participate in political campaigns organised by the Augustin for things, such as free use of the public transport system. And, like our editors, I fear legal developments. Could someone please explain to me how, of all people, those who are as badly off as I am, contribute to the fascists becoming ever-stronger?

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