Cocaine ruined my life no more than video games or an overprotective mother ruined my life. Which is to say, not at all. Whether or not cocaine impaired my intellectual abilities (I am not a member of MENSA) is something I’ll never know, but as for my physical development (I’m six-foot-eight) I’m pleased to report cocaine has had no detrimental effects.
Then who were those teenage goons sent to frighten us wee children back in grade school with tales of life-ending catastrophe and humbling community service hours spent plucking trash, orange vested, from interstate onramps as a result of being tempted by that white dragon? Were they genuine drug casualties or had they merely gotten caught? Rumors circulated through junior high that with one snort you were addicted for life. One snort and your heart would explode.
As a twelve-year-old my world revolved around action figures,comic books, and video games, and the thought of my heart exploding was unattractive to say the least. The thought of snorting white, crystalline powder into my nasal cavity was repulsive bordering on absurd. I had no problem telling my mother, grandmother, and grandfather all eager to secure my assurance that I would never, under any circumstance, try cocaine, no matter how overwhelming the peer pressure to do it. But like all oaths sworn by young children to their overanxious parents mine was non-binding, a contract signed by a minor under emotional duress.
[div: quote full-stop]
“Joseph Stalin, after seeing the Swiss Alps in person for the first time said something to the effect of: ‘That was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I never want to see it again.’ I feel similarly about cocaine.”
[/div: quote full-stop]
Many years later, I moved to New York to go to Bard College — academy to such seminal cocaine enthusiasts as Chevy Chase,Donald Fagen, and Walter Becker — and, soon after, I tried cocaine for the first time with a small, shifty literature major named Ted who had a massive black circle beneath each eye. Ted and I met one day after Proust class when we followed our professor, a noted Proustian, into the stairwell of the humanities building and wowed him with our unscripted, simultaneous enthusiasm for the somewhat obscure yet highly regarded Polish writer Bruno Schulz.
Our mutual literary interest sparked a friendship and one night Ted invited me over. We sat in his dilapidated, poorly lit basement dorm room listening to some abrasive jazz albums he had on vinyl. I was still at that point in my life when I thought jazz held some deep and unseen meaning and if I only listened to it long enough — accompanied by the correct dosage of substance — I was bound to uncover its soul-piercing riddle.
“Do you want some coke?” he asked in a voice so nonchalant he may as well have been asking if I wanted ginger ale.
I was surprised but acted like I wasn’t. Ted didn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d snort cocaine — he seemed more like a Hudson Valley antiquated bookseller, a young man who’d already begun to take on the rickety shades of his future, elderly self. Besides, jazz never struck me as good coke snorting music anyway. Nothing about the moment seemed right.
But I said, “Sure,” anyway, more interested then in racking up life experience than in staying healthy and doing the right thing though, it seemed at the time, racking up life experience was doing the right thing.
As I leaned down over that first chopped up line of white powder I thought of my younger self, my mom, and my grandparents,and how appalled and disappointed they would have been knowing what the older Shawn was about to do and how this was just like one of those after-school specials, aimed specifically at kids my age in the 1980s, which depicted a good, prospectrich young man turning lecherously to the dark side, his first step on a path leading irreversibly to a fate much worse than death. I placed a rolled up onedollar bill in my nose, said goodbye to my former self, and quickly snorted the line.
I paused to observe my potentially exploding heart. Nothing happened. I sat back and tried to gauge if I was instantly addicted. I was not. I barely felt anything though a few seconds later I had an overwhelmingly metallic taste in my mouth — what I would call “Hospital Flavor”— and I could feel a point in the center of my skull I didn’t yet know existed.
That’s it? I thought.
A | A | A
If your inner child could see you now, they would weep with the virulence of learning that Santa doesn’t exist. While you’re on your daily quest for fiber and regularity, remember that ghost of your innocence and mix it up every once in a while.
Epic music + gorgeous video + awesome boots = this.
Not sure which is worse, having a boyfriend who cheats or a boyfriend who systematically plots to slaughter all my witch friends.
Underwear Man stood in the front yard of my friend Dean’s house everyday at 1:45 in the morning for six weeks.