Posted December 16 , 2006
I love drugs! I’ve had many of the best times of my life while freaked out on several different types of seriously weirdarse chemicals. Yet I’ve always retained a deep sense of self that has saved me from the worst excesses and granted me a sense of perspective denied most drugfucks.
Fortunately for me, my drug-fucked years did not, for the most part, intersect with my motorbiking years. I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid. Ten years working in welfare and twenty years hanging out in sleazy bars grants you an insight into the depths of human depravity and a sense of the worst kind of possibilities that can’t help but have a humbling effect – mostly. It don’t work that way for everyone.
Anyway, there was a minor screed of drug-related convo in a chat room the other week that inspired, you might say, this piece. Yes, I’ve had a real shitload of utterly fan-fucking-tastic times when I’ve been ripped off my head on a variety of drugs. I’ve also had some soul-crushing long dark nights – that lasted weeks, sometimes months. Were those times entirely due to drugs? Not really. But they wouldn’t have happened without drugs.
I was kinda fortunate, in that I didn’t really do drugs seriously until I was 22. I smoked my first joint at 13, was drinking cough medicine behind the sheds during the school athletics carnival and sniffing lighter fluid at 14, but, for many strange reasons, didn’t make a habit of it until my early 20s. A good thing, too.
I did, however, spend 7 of the 10 years of the Nineties permanently stoned. By which I mean, I’d wake up still stoned from the night before and smoke a joint before I got outa bed – but not before I’d put a record on. I also spent a lot of weekends doing LSD – my alltime favourite drug, and I wish good acid was still around, cos I wouldn’t mind dropping a trip every now and then. Ecstacy just doesn’t cut it. I’ve eaten a lot of E-pills anyway. Hooted a shitload of cocaine and speed. Done a lot of the usual party drugs but never got much into downers.
Funny thing is, the only drug that has ever really fucked me up is the one that is pretty much a way of Australian Life. Good ol’ alcohol. I could eat four trips in 24 hours. Do a gram of coke with a mate or girlfriend in the time it takes to listen to 2 records. Do a gram of speed and an ounce of hash and a bottle of vodka while sitting at home spinning singles and THEN go up to the Judgement Bar at Taylor Square. And walk away from it. But I find it very fucking difficult to walk away from a drink. I’ve had time off drinking and smoking cigarettes, and I enjoy it. It’s just that old, ingrained habits can be very hard to break.
Most drug habits, beyond cigs and booze, have been so easy to break, I wonder if they were ever really habits to begin with. The serious decline in the quality of drugs has something to do with it. Take pot, f’rinstance, oft considered the least harmful of illicit drugs.
Most of the pot around these days is hydro – grown under artificial circumstances, stuffed full of chemicals and wickedly strong shit. I hate it. Hydro sits in your brain like concrete and you can barely move. If I wanted that from drugs, I’d’ve taken heroin.
When I want pot, I can still score some cruisy bushweed from a good mate of mine. Every now and then, but I don’t like the way it slows down my analytical processes. Still, at least I don’t have to worry about that hydro shit – my last flatmate smoked a lot of pot and when his dealer switched to hydro, I saw his cognitive skills slide away like shit down the dunny. Kinda like being on the wrong side of a joke in a Cheech and Chong movie. I guess, I’ve never actually seen one.
And then there’s cocaine. I’ve had some absolutely fucking awesome nights on cocaine. One line of good coke really does make you jump up and yell “I am King of the MotherFucking WORLD!” It was a significant factor – but by no means the only one – in the most thoroughly awesome night of debauchery I’ve ever enjoyed (and I’ve enjoyed a lot of debauchery). It’s great for debauchery, and I’m a huge fan of debauchery. Yet I’ll never buy it again. Okay, if I’m drunk at a party and someone chops up, yeah, of course I’ll do a line. But I ain’t gonna seek it out, cos I’ve seen people, women especially, like my third ex-wife, get horribly fucked up on too much cocaine. It brings out the worst, turns folks into absolute pigs. The above-mentioned bushweed dealer had a good coke connection a few years back. All of a sudden, he had a LOT of new ‘friends.’
I was attacked on Cleveland St one afternoon by a teenage speedfreak punk, cos he wanted some of the can of Toohey’s Old I was drinking. Speed fucks people up, too.
About four years ago, I had a chat with one of my nephews – he was 17 or 18 at the time, had just finished school. We were talking on the fone and the conversation drifted toward drugs and I delivered the benefit, so to speak, of my hard-won experience. He told me about kids he’d been at school with who had to flee Sydney in fear of drug barons – these are kids at a southern suburbs Catholic school – and I told him of my experiences and ambivalent attitude. Like Evan Dando once sang “Don’t wanna get stoned. Don’t wanna not get stoned.” Evan should’ve not got stoned, he’s a bad advertisment for drug-fuckness. But he probably doesn’t have the essential core of self-identity that has saved me and my best friends from the depths of addiction.
My nephew said to me that day “I’ve never had a talk like this with anyone.” His point being, that everyone that had talked drugs to him had said “DON’T DO IT!!” without ever having done it themselves. His mum, his dad, his teachers, the so-called drug “counsellor” who’d rock up to his school. I was the first person who’d ever spoken to him honestly about drugs, and from experience.
Along these lines, I rang the number advertised on the Govt-sponsored anti-drug ads for the “Parents’ Guide To Drugs” booklet. What a load of absolute crap. It took seven weeks to arrive. It was so obviously written by a committee of Canberra bureaucrats who’d argued over several lunches – very-well lubricated lunches, I’d say – about what was right and wrong so much that there was nothing left of any value in the booklet. Don’t these people have kids, don’t they talk to kids? Any 17-year-old with half a brain would see thru the bullshit so easily, it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Seriously, do you think John Howard can tell you anything about teenage drug use you couldn’t figure out for yourself?
I’ve done a shitload of drugs. I’m a libertarian – I believe anyone should have the right to do a shitload of drugs if they want to. They can drink a carton of rum without fear of legal prosecution, why not hoot a gram of coke as well? And yet…
When once a pothead scored bushweed for a pleasant stone, now they get hydro and get insensible. When once a party animal dropped acid or ecstacy, now they just score something that’s nothing more than a speed pill. And those poor fuckers that just want some speed so they can keep drinking until dawn, they’ve no choice but methamphetamines.
Thing is, I don’t object to drug use at all. But the devolution of drug use over the last 15 years, when laugh-yr-arse-off LSD becomes is-this-shit-ever-gonna-happen Ecstacy, giggly pot becomes soporific hydro, stay-up-all-night-drinking&talking speed becomes fuck-I-gotta-get-laid-or-fight ice, is a classic example of the free and unfettered market taking advantage of the general idiocy of most of its target audience. In 20-odd years of doing drugs, the quality of the product has, on the whole, declined severely.
The ramifications of this can go far and wide, and could well start with the over-riding influence of post-modern deconstructionist semantics on school education. Which has nothing to do with drugs. My IQ may not be as sharp as it was when I was 19 and ranked in the top 0.1%, but I’m far, far wiser in the ways of this ugly world we live in. Schoolteachers, on the other hand, and a few of them are friends of mine, still sadly cling to theories they never understood in the first place…
The tragedy is, that, like ALP MPs, they were once known as ‘The cream of the working class’ and now they’re derided as the dregs of the middle class. Which is fodder for another column. Make as many comments as you’d like, this can be a divisive issue and the best way to deal with a controversy is to argue it out.
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