Saturday, January 28, 2006

with a little help ...

I try, these days, to minimise the amount of work my liver has to do to separate the toxins from the good stuff, but I'm not evangelical about it - as far as I'm concerned, what you do with your own sacred temple's your own affair. what I do find interesting, though, is the imposition of value judgements onto the users of different categories of toxins according to the arbitrary rules of the day. obviously, the market for cocaine caters to a better class of person than that for skunk and crystal, and this is reflected in the price differential. but this price - inflated by the considerable retail markups that reflect its trading risks on the black market - is obviously worth paying to those who can afford it. people don't ingest these toxins because they're bad people, but because they're a nice way of getting high so long as you can afford it. it's actually no worse or better than any other brain-blasting activity based on freedom of choice, except that it's usually illegal. coke, especially, seems to be a most attractive toxin, providing an exquisite high with few side-effects. only the most delusional devotees of hypocrisy as an exercise in spiritual transcendence would argue that a cocaine habit is 'worse' than any other.

the only reason that we don't have to get our alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine fixes on prescription is that these three particular addictive toxins were adopted, some time ago, as the officially sanctioned reality-bending chemicals of choice, and became instrumental in establishing an excise franchise of such magnitude that government became, essentially, dependent on it. still is. the annual tax revenue from the legitimate sales of tea, coffee, tobacco and booze is staggering. without it, clearly, western democracy would sink without trace. bring it on, I say.

the tacky tabloid shock-horror response to the discovery that x or y - film star, rock musician, or model - has developed a drug-dependency problem has become such a paltry cliché that it's all but lost its value. very, very few people seem to manage to get through life without a little help from our pharmaceutical friends, be that in respect to pain-relief, depression-relief, or limp-dick relief, and far more people than are prepared to admit to it have a dependency problem with same pharmaceuticals. that the vast majority of crimes of violence are alcohol-related, or that a huge portion of the NHS budget is devoted to the relief of pulmonary, bronchial, and cardio-vascular problems directly attributable to smoking is far less sexy news than the fact that x or y have, thanks to their vastly inflated earnings and concomitant VIP admission to the sucker-bait market of unlicensed pharm retailers, developed a dependency on coke or angel dust or whatever. I mean, who cares? who - really - cares?

context is all. the supposedly pharm-free are all in possession - albeit mostly unwitting - of one of the most potent in-house drug-manufacturing facilities imaginable: if you want to point the finger point it no further than at your own neck, since that pesky thyroid gland is responsible, over the course of a lifetime, for regulating the injection into your bloodstream of enough home-made psychotropic substances to kill a prize ox. and, without ingesting a thing, there's not a man jack of us who's immune from the dependencies they promote: from the seratonin highs of falling in love to the adrenaline-rush of facing physical jeopardy, our hormones are the mood-altering tails that wag the dependent dog, and there's not a thing we can do about it.

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