Drugs of Choice (or, Why I Need Better Drugs)


The third circle of Dante’s vision of Hell. This circle is the home of the gluttons, those not completely unlike myself on relatively bad days. (Source uknown.)

Food is my drug of choice, and I damn myself for it. Temporarily, that is. Many of us have been through that, or consistently struggle with some style of self-inflicted ass kicking. But then you get hungry again, and it starts over and builds back up to the break.  I eat shit and then crawl up into my head to do a few rounds of “it’ll get better,” watching the words drift out of sight. In a moment I realize that much of that post-indulgent, self-consoling armchair philosophy, all of those machismo-laden aspirations are pretty unnecessary. You know what I mean… you have the entire box of macaroni and cheese—you’ve nearly forgotten the meaning of the phrase “serving size!”—and then afterwards you stand there, uneasy, somewhere way off those mental projections playing out on your mind’s eye, a paradisaical rendition in which you bench wrought iron and walk out the door an incubus…

At some point you just have to watch a button pop off of a pair of freshly ironed slacks and go flying across the room. You have to see it land on the floor or hit the baseboards so that you wake up and shove those flowers down your throat, followed by a large tub of Hamburger Helper. It’s only then, in a moment of glory, that you can admit to it, turn your eyes to the earth, and humbly proclaim, “I’m just a fucking fatass.”

It doesn’t need to get any more complex than that. Really… I mean it’s quite the relief. Because now that you know you’ve got a problem you can, of course, begin chipping away until you expunge from your life every inclination towards pork fat and Boston Cremes. Wipe your brow, raise your hands, and place the cake slowly on the ground.

No, it’s never that simple. Really… because then it’s that chipping away that becomes so tedious… hours at the gym won’t do justice to half of a large pizza on a Saturday evening. You just ate half a fucking pizza. I’m sorry, sir, ma’am, but you are a bona fide fatass. How do you put it, then? … Quid pro quo!

Now let me be clear: you don’t need to be fat to be a fatass. I’ve met fatasses short and tall, rotund and rattling like chimes in the wind. It’s a psychological condition, fatassery. It’s the unassailable connection you’ve got to food. Food becomes a sad savior. The world may be falling apart, but if you’ve got the time and lack of energy to allocate to a box car diner, you may just die happily. Really, is there anything more comfortingly complacent, and yet depressing, than taking so much joy in the simple act of stuffing one’s face? And why, in the first place? You may not even eat when you’re hungry… you may eat out of boredom or to alleviate any one of a myriad of shitty situations. You lost your job? How about we go out for a slice?

It’s no stretch at this point… the mentality of indulgence and routine, lackadaisical waving-aways of reality end up providing you with highs that hit harder and stick longer. Sleep is chief among these. Sleep is my drug of choice.

However, I don’t quite damn myself for sleeping as much as being gluttonous. Because sleep is more universal, you know. There aren’t qualities of sleep more or less hedonistic than food: There is no red velvet cake to sleeping, or if there is, it’s just more subtle. Because unless you’re an insomniac or work the graveyard, do you really envy your neighbor for his Bed of Ware? Unless you recline on nails or your spine is snapped, what is it to sleep that makes it anything other than ideal for everyone, all the time? Sure, doctors say too little or too much is unhealthy, but we don’t disparage over-sleepers like we do over-eaters. We sympathize with excessive fatigue, but frown upon excessive hunger. Or, rather, we could care less that our friend crashed on our couch for 16 hours, whereas if he eats our top ramen we can kick him in the taint. Where are our priorities? Where are our preferences? What is the narcoleptic’s equivalent of fatassery? A sloth? What?

It’s just goes without saying that if people have no obligations or endeavors on a certain day, they might as well, and may very well, continue punching the snooze button until 6 pm rolls around. I often experience this as the fruition of staying up until 7 in the morning. It’s nice to know you’re not in a rush to do anything in particular, although the rebound sets in eventually, and regret pours out of your eyes. At least I was doing something while I was inhaling that burrito. Now I’ve just been comatose for half a day. What did that do, other than to prove that I can waste my precious time? What did it do, other than to show that I have the freedom not to worry, or rather to put worrying off until the strain becomes unbearable?

Masturbation is also a drug of choice. It, too, comes (heh) with the nothing-to-do 20-something package. I mean if you’re really, really bored all day, and don’t even take a step outside for nearly 3 consecutive days, how else do you think you’re going to end up spending your time? And if once, then why not twice, or thrice, or 15 times? Go for the record, why don’t you? You’ll be sorry when you’re sore though.

I don’t want habituation or hubris, just the ability to do things at leisure. Perhaps I’d like a little moderation in all things—as they say—but then what’s to keep that from becoming a new priority? Can you mediate mediation without Jack growing dull? Doesn’t that become a “drug” after all is said and done with? Where’s the standard beyond health or appropriate time management, set for and by oneself? When does my choice fall into a gridlock with my impulses, and then am I really even calling the shots?

These are just some thoughts. But in conclusion, I think I may need better drugs.