Parting Glances: What, no vanilla extract?

By |2018-01-16T07:07:27-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Last summer I sat outside at a restaurant table talking to Matt, an attractive young man I’d been introduced to many months before. Matt fancies himself a craftsman of silver jewelry and a chef by profession.
I bought a ring from him, sat with characteristic aplomb on one of his freeform barstools, and sampled his superb cuisine in the course of our acquaintance. I’d rate him on all counts four stars out of a freeform five.
Matt’s mid-30s, straight, and comfortable in the company of gays. He’s personable, easy going. My journal notes that Matt likes to get high, and his need to do so keeps him from successfully holding down a job or marketing his talents. Instead of being chef, he settles for being short-order cook.
I’ve not seen Matt in months. He’s probably gone off to reinvent himself in Chicago. (It’s my observation that the mid-30s are a tough time for most men: worries about job security, finances, getting older, and keeping up with everybody else who’s supposedly “made it.” My own unstructured career was in limbo until age 37, when I was hired to do school publications — grateful for the job security the position and benefits afforded me.)
I remember little about my conversation with Matt that sunny July day, except one offhand remark I jotted down: “Cooking and good drinks are art” — he said over his second well-made stinger — “baking and bad drugs are science.”
I remembered that observation as I recently read the ingredients for the number #1 circuit drug, cum-mind-and-body-dilator: hydrochloric acid, lead acetate, Drano, battery/pool acid, lye, battery lithium, lantern fuel, liquid fertilizer, iodine, lighter fluid, anhydrous ammonia, ether, sodium cyanide, acetone, red phosphorus, antifreeze, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine, and ammonia.
This concoction (a teeth-rotting nightmare cooked up by mad scientists from Hell) is — as you’ve probably guessed correctly — crystal meth (methamphetamine), known by the vampirically deceptive names of Tina, speed, crank, chalk, quartz, go-fast, zip, cristy, jib, ice, and glass. (Dance and pump your ever lovin’ guts out, Toi Boi. Tomorrow never comes.)
According to a recent National Household Survey on Drug Abuse about 9 million people — 4 percent of the drug-trying population — have tried crystal meth once. The word among present and past users — of which there are occasionally survivors — is cynically, “No one ever tries meth just once.” As addictions go, it’s vicious.
Personally, I’ve had little experience with drugs other than alcohol and pot. The former almost did me in 23 years ago. And the latter — chewed, and with a double jigger of Scotch — scared me off from future use. (I couldn’t sit still, took several showers, paced the sidewalks, felt the blood pounding through my veins, and panicked — until a habitual user talked me down. I never touched weed again.)
I’ll say this: I know firsthand how ruthless alcohol can be. I hit bottom Xmas ’81, experiencing a classic lost weekend. Something hostile and alien reached into my brain and rearranged my circuitry. I was in total disconnect. Fortunately, alcohol addiction is treatable. (This is my 23rd year of sobriety — bonus years, even if I do have to pay income taxes.)
But from what I’ve learned about crystal meth, once Tina — zip, go-fast, crank, quartz — takes hold (in two shakes of a birthday booty) the party’s over but never ending. No sleep. No escape. High rate of recidivism. Crank, jib, ice — whatever it’s nicknamed — destroys without pity — gay or straight — piece by piece by piece by piece . . . .
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About the Author:

Charles Alexander