I was against it from the beginning. A drug that makes you feel good for no good reason? Seemed like cheating to me. Good times have to be earned, I thought. And yet here I was in the back of my friend’s car in 1985 about to partake in this high that had not yet been made illegal. We popped the pills, waited, anticipated, and then—nothing. We would have to wait for the underground shit to really get off.
A few years later it was everywhere—especially on college campuses. And we finally had our taste of the undiluted spoils. We dove in for a few months. See, the thing about acid was the possibility of an unknown reaction, bad trips, or bummers. Acid has an edge to it. We’d all seen enough friends freak out on the stuff to know that the party’s always better if everyone’s happy no matter what substance they might have ingested. I mean, nobody wants to go to jail tripping, right? We had heard about the guy who ended up naked in jail peaking his ass off. No thanks, officer. Boy, was that ever a bummer!
So we marinated in the first few batches of black-market Ecstasy to hit the East Coast. And every hit was different because you never really knew what you were getting—probably not pure MDMA, but rather some other chemical concoction. The first few times we got off, it was mildly psychedelic. And we were thrilled because everyone could hold their shit together without forgetting your name or where they were. It was sometimes cut with speed, but other batches were mellow and perhaps laced with narcotics. Then came the Ecstasy parties with everyone groovin’ along, loving one another, and getting all touchy-feely, even with strangers. They’d be hugging random partygoers and saying, “I love you, man!” The withering of inhibitions made for truly memorable evenings—if anyone is capable of remembering them now.
Looking back, I realize that I always chafed against Ecstasy. Even when I was on it, I tried resisting the drug’s effects, fighting not to succumb to the blind euphoria. I hated the idiotic perma-grinning brain-dead way it made me feel. I would be high as a kite and wonder why I was laughing so hard that my sides would hurt for days. This was a sham, I reasoned. Music sounded terrible on it, too, as if all the frequencies had been squashed down to a flattened reedy high end with no bottom end (maybe that’s why electronic dance music became so popular among recreational users). And after a while the visuals weren’t that great, either. I got bored with it after about a half-dozen doses and decided that it wasn’t for me. Besides, the hangovers really sucked and made me feel like my veins were full of sand the next day. By the time acid house and raves came along in the late 1980s I had moved on from the stuff, which is good because later I read that Ecstasy use can deplete serotonin levels in the brain and fuck you up for good. And naturals highs are really best, anyway.
I am a loner, and Ecstasy is not a drug for loners. It’s a drug for the sociable. The party animal. The scenester. It’s for people that want to be together.
God, what a stupid drug.