Everybody Must Get Stoned

March 18, 2005

Why do people use drugs? Let me rephrase that, because no one really "uses" drugs. You use a screwdriver. You take a drug. On second thought maybe you really do use a drug. You can use a drug, for instance, to rip all the money out of your bank account, alienate your family and friends, and completely destroy your health. But enough about prescription allergy medication. I’ve never really understood the appeal of taking drugs, but then I’ve never been much of a pill-popper, and never really did drugs in my wild youth. This is mainly because I never had a wild youth, but also partly the fault of a guy I used to know named Dave who would tell me all about his fun and exciting experiences with LSD.

Speaking of LSD, I once heard Timothy Leary claim that John Lennon wrote "Come Together" as a campaign song for Leary’s presidential bid. If that’s true it’s the first and only time in history that a campaign song’s message was "Don’t vote for this guy." But I digress. Dave’s experiences with LSD included playing with a plastic bag for an hour and a half, and I don’t need to tell you how exciting that sounds. Then there was the time he stood on a toilet seat for six hours because the fanged and angry bathroom tiles were attacking him. If that had been me I’d be wishing I had that plastic bag handy so I could stick my head in it. After hearing that story I decided to stick with playing Dungeons & Dragons, which pitted me against things much scarier than fanged bathroom tiles- specifically, my friends- but at least I could get away from them. The scary thing is those late nights of fighting orcs, goblins, and Roger who kept threatening to cast a fireball spell at everyone if we didn’t stop making jokes about his autographed picture of Captain Kangaroo, were fueled by substances like Brown Lightning Cola. Brown Lightning claimed to have "eight times more caffeine than the government allows", which made me wonder how it could be sold legally…until I realized that they could have been talking about the government of Canada, Sri Lanka, or Middle Earth.

But I digress. Caffeine is a drug. We weren’t doing anything illegal, but the reason those nights usually degenerated into watching really bad movies and trying to figure out the difference between a fouchard and a bec du corbin was because we were all high as kites. According to the textbook we all had in health class a "drug" was any substance that affected the body, which is unbelievably vague. Strictly speaking orange juice and bran flakes- taken together but preferably not in the same bowl, thanks- are a pretty powerful drug with the potential to keep you in the bathroom for six hours. The "Just say no" idea was fine, but what exactly were we supposed to say no to? And now it’s harder than ever. Everybody jokes about the drug ads that subtly slip in "Side effects may include cramps, headaches, swelling of the liver, and spontaneous decapitation" but what the ads also very blatantly promise is that, even if you’re deathly afraid of ballpoint pens, you can have wealth, success, happiness, and a ridiculously large writing instrument envied by the entire neighborhood if you just swallow a little maroon pill eight times a day. And judging by the sales people are willing to risk having cramps around the clock, especially since they can take something else for the cramps (although the side effects of the medication for cramps may include cramps). I could say that we should just use common sense when it comes to drugs, but if it were that easy people would already be doing it. Common sense is really about as common as cases of malaria in Iceland.

What really disturbs me, and what got me thinking about all this, is that I saw a guy with an orange, fluorescent green, and yellow tie-dyed shirt that said, "I’m High On Life!" in bulbous letters. Some clothes are so loud you think they should come with a volume control; this shirt should have had a Mute button. I tried to look away but it had been burned into my retina so for the next half hour I saw "I’m High On Life" everywhere I turned. And this was only one of the many side effects of life that, let’s face it, mean we all need to occasionally take something else just so we can cope. Just not prescription allergy medication.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Someone out there either has too much spare time or is deadly at Scrabble.

DORMITORY:
When you rearrange the letters:
DIRTY ROOM

PRESBYTERIAN:
When you rearrange the letters:
BEST IN PRAYER

DESPERATION:
When you rearrange the letters:
A ROPE ENDS IT

THE MORSE CODE:
When you rearrange the letters:
HERE COME DOTS

SLOT MACHINES:
When you rearrange the letters:
CASH LOST IN ME

ANIMOSITY:
When you rearrange the letters:
IS NO AMITY

MOTHER-IN-LAW:
When you rearrange the letters:
WOMAN HITLER

SNOOZE ALARMS:
When you rearrange the letters:
ALAS! NO MORE Z ‘S

A DECIMAL POINT:
When you rearrange the letters:
IM A DOT IN PLACE

THE EARTHQUAKES:
When you rearrange the letters:
THAT QUEER SHAKE

ELEVEN PLUS TWO:
When you rearrange the letters:
TWELVE PLUS ONE

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