Sunday, July 02, 2006

"A fit false dreame, that can delude the sleepers..."

(From Wikipedia)

My recent blog entry on "the secret of the universe" might have left the impression that I consider drugs amusing.

I truly hope that I didn't leave that impression.

Part of my aim was to show that people on drugs often do ridiculous things, so ridiculous that we have to laugh. But there's a serious subtext to the story about the kid on acid writing "Something in this room stinks" hundreds of times, and he was far too smart to miss it. Anyone who can write such a sentence hundreds of times and imagine himself to be revealing the putative 'secret' of the universe is out of touch with the very reality whose 'secret' is supposedly being expounded. Temporary insanity, in the kid's case, since the effects of the drug wore off, and he quickly saw how absurd his 'insight' had been, but one has to wonder about the long-term effects of repeated acid trips.

The subtext here is that drugs destroy a person, which means that the subtext eventually becomes the main text in the trajectory of a drug abuser's life.

I saw drugs destroy one friend, not a close friend, but we attended the same school in the same classes and both belonged to the same Boy Scout troop, so I knew him well. His name was Mark, and one night when we were sitting in a car on the banks of the South Fork River near my hometown, he shocked me by taking a small bottle of morphine that he had stolen from the Fulton County Hospital, filling a hypodermic needle with the fluid, and injecting the drug directly into a vein in his left arm.

I recall thinking, "This guy's on a downward path."

Only five years later, when I was on a visit home after finishing my undergraduate degree and happened to see Mark at the side of a road trying to fix his broken-down car, he had grown bone-thin and looked as if he were already in his forties. Now, that was a downward path with a rather steep slope!

I don't know what eventually became of Mark. I hope that he got out of the drugs, recovered his health, and made something of his life.

But I doubt that he did.



At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being "of a certain age" I've seen people lose their lives to one degree or another to all sorts of drugs. Alcohol mostly but I've sure seen meth take its toll, coming to Louisiana from northwest Missouri as I have. What a disgusting drug that is! Almost as bad as alcohol.

I did not keep my nose clean growing up, nor did my friends whom I see several times a year. Your post reminded me of a conversation I had not too long ago with a guy I met in the second grade. We agreed that our experiments really did nothing to expand consciousness or any such silliness, and after a moment's relfection he said, "But then we knew that back in the summer of 1970." And we certainly did.

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Ed. I guess that we are both of a certain age, though yours is perhaps more 'certain' than mine.

I hit the tail end of the 60s, which -- as everyone knows -- extended into the mid-70s. I didn't escape all of its consequences, but I did escape the worst, partly from being scared off by seeing what friends like Mark were doing to themselves.

Alcohol is the only one that I have developed a lifelong relationship with, but it doesn't seem to be an addictive thing for me. Another friend of mine, Bruce Cochran, has gone on to become a wine expert, thereby making positive use of something that could have been abusive use.

Where were you in the summer of 1970, anyway?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I know the Mark you're referring to (and I believe I do), he did spend some time in the state pen (drug-related). I don't know what finally happened to Mark but I'll try to find out and let you know.

While an experimenter, I was fortunate to miss out on serious drug use. This was primarily because of (1) lack of funds, (2) a moral compass (otherwise weak at times) that would not let me consider theft and (3) embedded memories of seeing otherwise smart friends and acquaintances lose themselves to drugs.

I, too, have maintained my relationship with alcohol but fortunately not one that requires constant companionship.


At 5:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Pat, I'd be interested in knowing.

Jeffery Hodges

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