I have never taken any drugs.
By that I mean what's commonly referred to as "street drugs" or "narcotics." I've never smoked marijuana, never dropped acid, never shot up on heroin.
I don't express this as some kind of badge of honour. It's just simply something I have not done and never intend to do. I determined long ago that a person such as me, who's grip on reality is pretty slippery to begin with, should not put himself in any altered states and loosen it even further.
Which isn't to say I haven't been high. It's actually pretty hard to go through life without having your higher reasoning supplanted by happy pills or something else your guidance counselor warned you about. If you've ever been to a rock concert, it's pretty much a given that you get high. You don't even need to take your own drugs. During one Kim Mitchell concert I attended (I am a wild party! Ra Ra Ole!) there was marijuana smoke coming in from every point on the compass. Just normal breathing was enough to take some in. Call it a second hand high.
The highest I've ever been though was when I went into surgery a few years ago to have a few superfluous internal organs yanked out. They gave me some wicked stuff.
I don't know whether it was the staff meant to kill the pain or the stuff to knock me out, but wow. I saw things that just defy description. I knew they were hallucinations, but that didn't stop me from having them. I knew for example, that a Formula 1 racer couldn't possible zoom by my hospital bed. I also knew that I wasn't really at the parking lot across from Maple Leafs Gardens on Carleton, and it doesn't have a sidewalk curb that you can pull out and store giant dustballs in. But I no joke, I saw this. And more. I knew it wasn't real, which is a pity, because the old lady that smiled at me after I put away the giant dustball looked very friendly and seemed to be a good person to know.
I'm also told my speech was less than coherent. I can't remember a single word I uttered, but I do remember babbling about something. I also remember people I was speaking to looking at me as though I'd announced that today was the day I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of stripping naked, painting my body blue and going out to direct traffic at the Yonge and Dundas intersection wearing nothing but a bowler hat and army boots. For all I know, that was exactly was I saying. I do remember realizing that I wasn't making sense, and that I should probably qualify or clarify my remarks. For some reason I couldn't. I tried, but all that would come out was another stream of weirdness.
As drug users would say, that was some good shit they gave me.
Of course, this was all purely legal stuff prescribed for legitimate use by a professional, and it's not quite the same thing as say, smoking a joint. This is one of the reasons I don't really like illegal drugs or the culture that goes with them. The stuff that medical science has produced blows anything you can buy off the street right off the coke mirror.
For example, there's a drug called Adorax (I'm probably not spelling it correctly). It's prescribed to people with severe skin damage, such as 3rd degree burns. What it does is shuffle the priorities in the message centre of your brain. The sensations that get reported to your brain have an order of importance, and normally pain is at the top of the list. The message "There's a slight itch on your forearm, perhaps you should scratch it" mosies slowly into the message centre. Missives like "Perhaps you should do something about your hair--it hurts quite a bit because it's on fire" go screaming past the "itch" message and butts in line ahead of even things like "That feels nice--keep masturbating."
Adorax changes all that. It pushes pain down to the very bottom of the list. So if someone's been burnt half to death, the message centre doesn't have to return 500 calls a second with the reply, "Yes, we know, we're healing it right now." Actually, it pushes most messages to the bottom of the list, leaving you to ponder incoming data such as "I like trees" and "I can't seem to remember how to walk very fast." Adorax really takes away your pain. I've never used it myself, but I'm told if you try to punch someone who's on Adorax, he'll try to block it later in the week.
No street drug does this. Plus you don't have the additional risk of dangerously incompetent preparation of the drug, infected drug paraphernalia, and the threat of being arrested.
There is a movement to legalize what is perceived as "soft" drugs such as marijuana. I'm sure people trying to get Parliament to pass equal rights for same sex couples and tougher sentences on serial killers and rapists think that the effort is well spent.
I'm of a mixed mind about it really. I have no illusions about the whole thing, believe me. I've heard the arguments about alcohol being a drug, nicotine being a drug, etc., so why aren't they illegal too? I believe that the legalization of drugs would mean one more thing our government could tax, and would lead to safety standards so that if you do take drugs, at least you know you're not ejecting something into you that is two-thirds Javex bleach. I believe the legalization of drugs would mean lower crime rates. So why do I still oppose the legalization of drugs?
Well, mainly because it pisses off lots of high school kids. You know, the kind that consider Jim Morrison lyrics to be "poetry." The kind of middle class kids that think that listening to Lauryn Hill gives them intimate knowledge of the experience of blacks in America. Anything that can be done to piss off these twits is time well spent in my books. It gets them writing smug little essays and keeps them off the streets. Unfortunately not out of the gene pool, but we're working on it.
There are other proponents of drug legalization, and they are very easy to set off. It's fun. One little snide comment about drugs and they're off ranting about how strong hemp ropes are, and eventually it deteriorates into vague, incoherent stuff about fascist money funding death squads in country X. I love this kind of person. I once told a very patriotic Greek man that one you looked at each nation's impact on literature, culture, medicine, and science, Canada has played a far bigger role than Greece.
I didn't think a person could actually vomit out of anger, but I was wrong. This occurred about four years ago, and I think he's still ranting. If you like stirring this kind of shit, here's a few more good ones to try out: tell an auto-racing fanatic that auto-racing isn't a real sport. Tell a right-wing bigot that Jesus was a Jew (this last one is true, too). Tell a legalize drug advocate that a casual marijuana user should be sentenced to 50 years in jail.
As you can see, I like to bait the pro-drug movement. I will concede, however, that they've at least put some thought behind their campaign. There is a segment though of the casual user demographic that doesn't think at all.
Here's the reality: certain substances are illegal to own and sell. You might not agree with this, but it is the law. And you will get arrested if you're not careful. Period.
So why do so many casual drug users feel the need to tell me about their exploits? I have had friends who've experimented with drugs and tell me about it, but that's different. Friends are friends and I'm not going to call Crimestoppers because they once took one puff from a joint. Why is it though that some people, the moment that you meet them, feel the need to talk to you about their drug use? These are not hardcore addicts, but people who use them recreationally. Cops would much rather bust a dealer carrying drugs and a concealed weapon than a party of college kids passing a joint, but for fuck's sake if you make it obvious, they will come down on you.
I have had no less than four people in recent times come up to me and within an hour of meeting me, confess some form of ongoing drug use. 1) What makes them think I give a toss; and 2) For fuck's sake, hasn't anyone ever heard the phrase "Loose lips sink ships?" What if I DO give a toss and start squealing?
One idiot I met, who worked a total of six hours at my old restaurant job, not only told me, but told someone else I worked with. When he had finished talking about himself, he asked my coworker about her aspirations. She told him how she wanted to be a police officer and how she was enrolled a law enforcement program. It then occurred to Mr. Genius that perhaps he shouldn't have shot his mouth off. He asked her how he could be certain that she wouldn't tell anyone about his revelation.
"You can't," she informed him. When the shift was over, she went to the manager, and he was dismissed.
These people seem to assume that secretly, everybody is doing drugs. Well, nobody is an angel, and many people are into something that they'd rather everyone else not know about. Lots of these people are smart enough though to not talk about it to people they don't know. Mr. Genius and his ilk are carrying on as though drugs were legal. Even if drugs were legalized tomorrow, there will still me a stigma attached to them. It may be legal, but it's not something you'll want to bring up at say, a job interview. Don't drug users understand this?
Here's a better example. At this same restaurant a customer came in, and accidentally left behind what's known as a "dime bag." He came back and asked for it as though he'd left behind his umbrella. Apparently he was utterly confident that it would be here and happily returned. I don't believe he actually got it back. Not because we turned it over to the police (it would have served him right if they'd been waiting for him when he got back) but because it was snagged by another employee.
"A dime bag of marijuana," she said. "This is the best tip I've ever got."
And they say drugs make you paranoid. Nope, as far as I can see they make you dangerously trusting.
In a way, drugs are like religions to me. I'm not part of it but I'm aware it's done, don't mind it as long as it's not hurting someone else, and I want people to keep theirs away from me unless I ask. I could add a pretentious quote about opium by Marx here, but I won't. I can't cosy up to Marx, I'd rather piss him off. It's a pity he's dead. I kinda like to ask him how he plans to commemorate the death of Princess Diana.