Down the Bunny Hole

I’m often enchanted by the simple act of walking and the wonderful gift it becomes when appropriately intertwined with the act of sight. In saying this, I don’t want imply the ability to see where one is ambling, nor the surrounding visions the mind ingests from a personal vicinity.  The Hearing Set cannot always choose what is heard, and the Living cannot choose a breath, and so when our eyes are open, they cannot help but see.

Of course, seeing, watching and looking can all be augmented by caring and understanding. And so it was with this combination of obligation and  whimsy that I happened upon a defenseless sidewalk emblazoned with a spray-painted plea for social change petitioning passers-by to “Legalise Mariwana.”.

Now if you’re like me, you’re probably overdue to lose a few pounds and you regularly struggle with the infuriating presence of “s” or “z” in a certain words.  I’m embarrased to admit how often I have to spell-check “surprize” to replace it with the correct “surprise.”

Which reminds me… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Anyway, reconvening at this sidewalk supplication, I noticed that singular spelling of marijuana incorporating a “w” in a way, it must be said falls short of traditional logography that I confess to jumping swiftly to judgement, concluding that no one should be allowed to advocate the legalisation of anything they can’t spell.

Allow me to present a study in contrast.

Charlie Sheen/Robert Downey JrAbout ten years ago, actor Robert Downey Jr. found himself running afoul of the law, and of the companies that insure talent on a film set, engaging in the sort of behaviors that resulted in Mr. Downey’s arrest and worse still, unemployable.  Did he have a problem? Seemed so. Does he still struggle with it? Quite possibly. And has he overcome the adversity? Well, so far so good certainly, and may his applause continue.

His story would seem to mirror more recent fables of Charlie Sheen, a man of debatable talent but one had enjoyed success with a significant portion of those with the aforementioned eyes.  So far, Mr. Sheen and his drug-fueled exploits has resulted in less incarceration time than Mr. Downey; has generated a poorly conceived & received one-man show on the theme of “Winning!”; and he now seems to have retreated for the moment to some lesser level of profile.

And in 2011, the drug-fueled meteor of Amy Winehouse, somewhat unsurprisingly, leaving a too-brief legacy.

I suppose for every Whitney Houston there is an Elton John.  One failure to one success. For every In Memoriam at the Oscars/Grammys/Emmys, we have a penitent appearance on Oprah/Ellen/Dr. Drew.

It strikes me that for most people who let drugs take over their lives, the problem is personal and affects them most directly.  At the end of the day, does a personal addiction or habit like eating stale Cheezies – as a purely random example – affect anyone other than the person who enjoys stale Cheezies, who is not me.

However, we’re all interconnected in society, and as surely most drunk drivers rarely know who they hit, how we are all connected is not always apparent- until it is.

When it comes to what we’re meant to do with certain currently illegal drugs, what I find perplexing in the argument/debate is the irreconcilable nature of a choice between unfettered legalisation VS diligent warriors protecting the prolongation of current laws.

Just about a third of us ignore the most dire warnings on cigarette packs and the other two thirds have a cell phone glued to our heads/fingers in the middle of rush hour traffic.  Anything that’s addictive and legal tends to have a certain amount of acceptable losses that come with it. That’s why the American “War on Drugs” gets some traction because if the legal drugs kill the numbers they do, imagine what illegal drugs will do. Of course, the Americans never met a problem they couldn’t declare war on, unless it’s homelessness or banking irregularities. Bless Michelle Obama for declaring war on childhood obesity, but until she figures out a war in which arms manufacturers can profit from fitter children, her efforts will quite probably be a folly.

This is a story I once heard that to me was a somewhat instructive one and it concerns the elegantly necked giraffe.  In some parts of Africa, giraffes will spend a goodly part of their week sucking on the leaves of a very particular sort of tree.  Why do they do it?  So they can get high, that’s why. It’s just something they do.  Why do you think you never hear about safari trips getting stampeded by giraffes?  It’s because the giraffes are too busy giggling.

Humans are animals too, so in our way it’s natural for us to seek out an artificial or induced pleasure, however the great thing about being evolved is that we don’t have to stop at leaves.  We can move on to move on to more self-destructive habits like injecting liquids, powders, rocks, cheezies, whatever it takes. And I guarantee you if they found out coleslaw got you high, there’d be a run on KFC faster than you can say, “Quit bogartin’ that spork!”

If we are going to talk about drugs, then we have to talk about the nose. Now the nose is very important in the world of drugs. It sniffs drugs, inhales them and if you liked Ike (Turner), you know it also acts a storage facility.

Drugs, when fitted nasally, deteriorate the sense of smell. I can vouch for this because my old college roommate Roger was a stoner and he hardly ever mentioned the smell from dishes of unfinished spaghetti I would leave around for weeks at a time.

(Full disclosure: That sentence was for comedic effect. I did have a roommate named Roger and he was a stoner, but I never left out plates of unfinished spaghetti that might raise the alarm of a health inspector. I just didn’t want to mention the stale Cheezies again.)

Smell is also linked to memory and some psychologists believe that smoking anything acts a subliminal suppressant of memory, specifically painful ones. This leads doctors to believe that drug use is a sign of deeper psychoses, and getting at the root of the pain would make the reliance on drugs less likely.

For example, I myself am addicted to caffeine, which some might consider a minor addiction, were it not for the admission I must make that I can no more control my need to consume litres of cola daily like it’s the last shipment on Earth before “New Coke” makes a comeback, than you could get Mark Zuckerberg to consider a dress shirt (or keeping The Facebook a private affair).

In my past I have some painful memories and although I regret dressing up as Dionne Warwick and doing tarot card readings at the lakeside, the gift of caffeine makes it so much easier to forget, or at the very least, forego contemplating it.

Doing drugs is no more rational a decision than deciding to not do drugs.  Still it’s an undeniable reality that for those who develop a crippling addiction, decision is not much a choice as it becomes compulsion not, you’ll agree,  unlike dressing warmly in minus-40 weather or being convinced now is a good time to buy real estate.

Drugs can be akin to things like Battlestar Galactica marathons, making your own hot sauce or quilling – an escape pod – yet as long as society traps some people into unhappy lives, particular individuals just won’t be able to handle life and will look for the first bunny hole to jump down.

Contravening the positive experience many have had with drugs would be a challenge as if you look at the long list of entertainers, as a prominent example.  I’m sure mathematicians, politicians or driving instructors would provide adequate evidence however their awards ceremonies tend to be of decreased Zeppelinistic qualities.

Entertainment has equal measure in meting out glory and vilification to drugs as they  have played a role in the abbreviated lives of greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia and Andy Gibb – all the while expanding the songwriting of Bob Dylan, even if his diction took a pounding. It helped the Beatles redefine popular music and open the doors for acts like Wings. George Carlin admits to a judicious use of drugs in his comedy writing and he is unrivaled in the clarity he has in commenting on society. Yakov Smirnoff does not use drugs.

And spare a consideration for the unheralded harbinger surfing upon the waves of supply and demand, The Dealer.  The Dealer is like Gary Oldman’s acting skills – they can take many forms.  Some grow their own supply to lend a sense of security to the buyer, a sort of pioneering, Farmers Marketesque quality engendering a 100-Mile Diet ethic to the jones.

In some cases, the dealer would have been the sort of fellow, hail and well-met, who finished last at Med School’s graduating class, is often addressed with the honourific, “Doctor,” and commands an assembly of concoctions staggering in their potpourri.

And then we have the skeezy end of the transaction variety where you find a dealer easily spotted in polite company for having as good a relationship with personal hygiene as Celine Dion does with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

So ultimately, the trick is to find a good dealer.  Robert Mitchum had a good dealer.  Anthony Michael Hall did not.

George Carlin had a good dealer.  Andrew Dice Clay seemed wanting.

Pink Floyd?  Good Dealers.  The Beatles?   The best dealers in history.

The Bay City Rollers did not have good dealers.

Drugs can be a medicinal hot stove to some and it doesn’t matter if advice comes from a parent or a pope, an expert or Dilbert, some folks will just ignore the “Stay off the grass” signs.

As far as using marijuana for medicinal purposes, if it’s okay with the docs, it’s okay with me.  After all, proponents of Marijuana legalization will often tell you, no one has ever died while using it.  It’s nice to see the tobacco lobby is branching out.

I will say that my skeptical mind does give the people pushing the legalisation of marijuana about as much credit as Fred Phelps giving a speech about gay rights.  France’s National Agency for Research on Cancer published a report in 2005 that indicated a connection between marijuana smoking and some forms of head and neck cancers.  It also noted smoking pot during pregnancy could increase incidents of leukemia.

It must be said that the report also called for additional studies as the sample size and control elements were not satisfactory for a conclusive statement.

Well, that’s just great.  If it does come to pass that 20 years on, marijuana smoke does cause cancer, today’s drug dealers will be getting sued over the fact they didn’t let their clients know that smoking pot could be harmful.

It’s probably a matter of time before marijuana is legalised, and the criminal culture controlling some of the supply and demand will be replaced by legitimate and efficient corporations ready to mass market it with improved taste and choice because if marijuana is not killing anyone now, give it time.  By the time big business gets done adding caffeine or cognac to enhance the flavour, it’ll be deadly.

Eventually, the urban organic farmers will lobby for healthier substitutes for “Big Pot” and we’ll be right back where we started.  Trying to legalize tree bark.

If I may, and in his absentia, I offer this compromise first proposed by George Carlin. To sooth the movement to de-criminalize drugs and pacify society & government’s society’s, make drugs legal in suppository form only.

In the meantime, I think I’ll settle in with a book by ol’ Hunter S. and a post-1967 disc by the Beatles.  That’s why they took all those drugs.

So I wouldn’t have to.