By Wallace Krumpledorf
We Americans as a commonwealth rely on uppers, downers, lefties and the occasional right; day in and day out. The larger body of substances ingested hourly, daily and weekly is broader than just physical ones. Look straight ahead; now behind and over each shoulder. Who do you see? Now find a reflecting surface. Did you detect the similar nature of life’s fellow occupants with your own? As hard as it is to admit our interdependence with these substances, the truth is cold and real. To sit there passively and say that what you read isn’t true is to deny on the most basic level: yourself. Honest thoughts try to admit that you have never ingested any substance orally, intravenously, or otherwise but your ears tune-in to the unspoken falsity and wire to your brain a collective realization. Turning the pointed finger back on yourself is humiliating, but good news is, others will love you if you love yourself for who you are – regardless of your chosen poison.
I intend to bring about positive awareness. I see different walks of life colliding over substance semantics. My medicament and your medicament may look, smell, taste and do different things, but, one thing in common is the altered effects. Much like differing personalities amongst friends and enemies, we cannot consciously permit allowing ourselves to lump and label others because they play their cards differently. Homosexuals, African-Americans, individuals with disabilities and unlisted others all strive for this freedom of choice. I start to see the world how it is. I comprehend that we will always fight with one another, disagree, double-cross and abuse our talents to socialize and relate likeness. We as humans are all different; but not entirely. At times the living link bares correlation and substances are assuredly a shared experience. I may not speak Spanish well, know jack-squat about the history of Central Asia; but, I do know that marijuana is an enlightening medicine – much like my brethren from another state or country would. In no way is a substance like marijuana physically addicting like heroin, but psychologically, you’re glued-in; some way, somehow. At worst, it elicits euphoric emotions; much like coffee provokes alertness. Life without substances seems odd: if for the past few days, you’ve been high or caffed-up and now find yourself not.
Grandma doesn’t look so good today. The doctor says she isn’t taking her meds as directed but hey, I guess I can’t blame her. Those Percocet’s I got from my wisdom teeth removal were pretty potent…
…Hell who am I kidding? I had a blast with Josh and Donny on those downers. Man, I got biggity-bombed! Wonder where the pictures from that night went to?
Grandma should know better though; she should learn to listen to what the doc says if she expects to make it through to Christmas. If I was in her shoes, I wouldn’t argue, no matter how bad she feels sometimes. Her medicine is supposed to be for pain only and she is taking them recreationally...I can’t believe her impudence. I never thought of popping a pill just because it felt good…
…Well… I only did them that one time…the 2nd time it wasn’t Percs…so it’s not the same. I couldn’t just sell them or leave them to waste in the cabinet. Whatever. I don’t have a problem. They felt good but I was younger and stupid then…I’m in control now!
Are you? Your little cousin’s remote control car screaming around your feet at the 4th of July celebration is telling you different.
Life has a way of extracting the happiness out of you. Liken it to a bee extracting nectar from a flower, but the twist is the reality and necessity of it. Many people choose to medicate with “happy” drugs –living in a false reality created by chemical messengers communicating to their bodies how they should think and feel. Happy drugs, that express constant emotion without much flux; effectively making the user a smiling zombie of sorts. You ought to laugh because you know that those drugs desensitize the taker to what really eclipses them: sadness; often cohabiting inside other emotions. Though, you hold your stones back because you admit you are a swimmer in the ocean of users.
Illicit drug users are cast in a dim light but ragers, dopers and rock users are absent of light: achromatic. Applied labels are apparent and often warranted. Unfortunately, actions do speak louder than words; words that are conveniently forgotten after their flurry predominates the short term – preventing storage into the long term of memory’s mind. Where does it leave us though as a supposed sophisticated society?
Creatively canvas this: Shaggy Rogers from Scooby-Do Where Are You! Moving in a lackadaisical fashion towards you; hair askew; mind preoccupied with life around him. What are your honest thoughts of his soul presence occupying the same space as yours? Would his parents be disconcerted to see their son as he is now? Your ambitious thoughts decree they’d be proud of him for something he did. His lively erupting baking soda and vinegar volcano from the 4th grade science fair was on-par with Timmy Tankerton’s mock steam engine…right? Perhaps the haze of smoke eluding his lips as he passes sways what you momentarily think and feel about him. Flash forward 3 years, your computer takes a shit and he is the same free-spirited soul at your local geek shop fixing you back up. Do you still harbor those initial impressionable thoughts about him?
The THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content in pot from the 60s and 70s was much less than the levels of today. Doesn’t make it that much altered though. Pot isn’t a drug to some; just like coffee, cold medicine and Ritalin. It’s a recreational activity with none of the physical exercise-related benefits, but seemingly some of the mental ones. If you haven’t partaken of its complicated beauty yet, question yourself. If you have zero desire to take that trip, find comfort in the thousands of others like yourself. Just like bungee-jumping or rock climbing, marijuana isn’t a substance for everyone; though, the actuality of it and other substances in our culture is more real than ever.
You may think that the substance stigma doesn’t rest on your shoulders. Don’t contradict yourself. Bottom line: be honest with your desires – real or imagined. The manner in which substances make us feel varies widely. Some find happiness only within that sweet leaf, righteous rock, or Iced Vanilla Latte; sugar-free, no whipped cream. Others find happiness without substances, yet enjoy partaking in them because our intelligence admits what our cautious, anti-substance sources won’t: the feeling is unparalleled; barring of course the adventuresome hard-core drugs that claim lives upon overdosing. Next time you find yourself purchasing coffee or medical prescriptions, think of the pot-smoking college kids down the street; or even the doping professional athlete you admire. I’m sure they aren’t judging you for making Starbucks or Walgreens a necessary actuality. One day we will wake up, do our daily thing, and at some point in the day light up, drink down or swallow whole as we sit in the park with the cop rolling by; caring not to bat an eyelid at our activity – legal or “illegal.” We are being judged for our actions regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of social acceptance. My coffee is his China White; his China White is your weed; your weed is society’s shunned step-child – looming in the closet, waiting to be accepted and taken at its face-value. Let’s not cover the healing wound from society; for coincidently, it was mutually inflicted and heals best in the open, clean air.
The high of sobriety is often a trip itself. Distinction amongst the blur of a high is ambiguous. Some stimuli are front and center; commanding your attention. Others fleet right and left of your mental cockpit, initiating oversight on the stimulus at hand. Good thing Ritalin was invented. Now you can find the hours of the day ticking by and your attention still rambling on-course, with minimal mental interference. Be cautious though about crushing and snorting those little guys because cocaine-like dependence can be established. Methylphenidates like Ritalin, Concerta and Methylin are drugs of abuse. Yet, they are locked and stocked at your local pharmacy; waiting for little Timmy Tankerton’s medication to run low; hopefully because he’s the only one dosing as prescribed as he works on his mock steam engine project for the 4th grade science fair.
While I do not suggest you go out and start using-up on what others are getting down-with, I do recommend however, that you take a look around and acknowledge. Both seen and unseen “users” are all around you. Are they lurking in shadow waiting to abduct your kid and sell him into sexual slavery in Hong Kong? No. They are the people you talk with at the bank, grocery store and public service/government offices. Now, before you go pulling Salem-esque Witch Hunt-stunts, breathe for a second. People are people and thus we do things just because we do; no intense or detailed explanation is needed. Basic human desires for plants, powders or liquids to alter their perception because of pain, grogginess, social reasons or other obscurities is inherent. We should strive to deal better with such things when we witness them in others. Turn the mirrors of your eyes back on yourself; then you’ll see it isn’t me…it’s you; it’s all of us.