Saturday, February 12, 2005

Drugs and the Man, and the Kids

“Started out in Burnaby and soon hit the harder stuff " ....Not Dylan

It was Friday night and my teenagers were about to head out on the town, if we have one. “No more pot!” I bellowed from the kitchen table.

I reflected on my own peckered past and my use of drugs, dating from the early 60’s. Pot of course, then the inevitable experiments with LSD (Sandoz quality), some psilocybin, a little MDA, and some mushrooms rounded out my summers of love period.

Cocaine? Forget it - like the time I took PCP, a horse tranquilizer, on Wreck Beach and had to sit there for three hours after the sun set because I was paralyzed, disgustingly sober the entire time, trapped within a waking anaesthesia.

Now, if we expect Canadian teenagers to be oblivious to marijuana, we had may as well try to sneak the morning sun past a rooster. While many parents try to hide their pot or booze habits from their kids, I have instead always been odiferously evident in my proclivity. I am not teaching furtiveness.

My strategy was to give up the ground held by beer and pot, and in retreat, warn of the hellish world of the “three P’s”, these being Pills, Powders and Pinpricks. Along with hard liquor and its combination with the ever-present menace of the automobile – there be dragons there.

“If you want to grow a layer of white fat all over your body like the beer pigs,’ I told them, “go ahead - and puff the odd joint, but don’t destroy your brain, liver and kidneys with vodka and gin, or come home dead. And let your own imagination and emotions entertain you, not your bloodstream.”

I candidly recounted stories such as rolling home drunk on Tequila, and my discovery that if you are seeing double, it helps to close one eye. Driving around stoned and/or drunk with the radio maxed out is highly pleasurable to young adults, and something we oldies must admit before warning of it.

If you sample enough drugs, you eventually find a drug with your name on it, in big letters. Then you’re hooked for life. Nicotine is a pernicious example, even caffeine - I am forever grateful that I have had no taste for either of those.

“If a drug works, it’s addictive.” I would say to them - there’s no mystery, just a powder waiting to mock your own feeble endorphins, and to enslave you. Speed has taken some friends who could not pull out of its spiral. I hope you rest now in peace - Wolfram, George, and Neil. Then there’s the myriad women wired on Valium or some such downer - possibly the largest group of real stoners in our culture (along with the aged) - with their "good" pharmaceutical fare.
The human eagle is now forced to live like the ant, and drugs, even seemingly innocuous ones like sugar, are ubiquitous. Adapting has become a matter of finding a bird with similar drug habits and settling your feathers into a cell somewhere. Sad.

I can say that my triage method of giving up some ground, and being forward and educational with them, does seem to have moderated my kids' (ab)use of drugs. After puking a number of times after dances, and seeing their friends grovel in the ditches, they have discarded power drinking as a weekend priority – that’s real progress. And they don’t smoke the hard stuff - hallelujah!

“No pot!” I screamed again as I glared over at the supper dishes they were dodging on their way out the door.

“Dad,” one said, “if I lend you a joint will you do them for us?” “Deal!” I said, wondering what a man had to do to relax and find some solace in this world.

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