Monday 18 May 2015

Nasty Habits: The Voice Of Hard Experience

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." ~ Dave Sim, 1987
(Photo by Gerhard)
(from Note From The President, Cerebus #98, May 1987)
On the subject of last issue's back cover photo, captioned "Nasty Habits", I suppose there are a number of people out there for whom marijuana and its use are still considered "controversial" (a fair number of them are comic fans judging by the clucking of tongues that goes on in the letter columns whenever the subject is broached). So be it. I gave up weed whilst in Honolulu, and I'm here to tell about it. 

It's actually a very good place to give it up since Hawaiian grass is among the most legendary in the drug counter-culture (I remember the first time I smoked it when Deni and I were still living on Weber Street. Totally zoo'd we was and several of our friends as well. Eric Hope and I were eating ju jubes when he suddenly voiced the thought that had just popped into my own head "Ooh. Don't eat the ju-jubes. Feels like you're chewing on your brains." We both cracked up for about a half-hour). Since Ger and I didn't have a phone and made no friends to speak of while there, there was no pressure to straighten up at any point and behave like a human being. It was straight out of bed, two or three tokes and I was fucked up 'til lunch. Two or three more and I was fucked up 'til dinner. Two or three more and I was fucked up 'til bedtime. Two or three more and the night had a thousand eyes. Those of you wondering how I managed to do the book while fucked up should be advised of the fact that I was not stoned for maybe a total of three months out of the last ten years. I had always done Cerebus stoned. I did everything stoned. 

But the whole time I was smoking the Hawaiian weed (my Toronto supplier Dr. Vilebliss was indirectly sending care packages until I found a local source, whereupon the Dr.'s weed - the best in Canada - was used to flesh out joints of Hawaiian and was christened Hawaiian Helper) a line from a John Lennon song kept running round my head. "Everybody's smoking, No one's getting high". 

I really wasn't. I was getting stoned. I was getting fucked up. But I was definitely not getting high. Nature of the beast, kids. You can only do so much of any drug and it's just not going to do it for you anymore. 

I'm not dumping on it and I'm not saying don't do it. I have done way too much of just about anything you'd care to name on at least one occasion and I've never had cause to regret it. But anything past that first "way too much" go-round and you are eating lotus. Intake valve stuck on wide open. Looking for a new and improved nipple. I still take a toke if I'm offered. Everyone is very generous at cons and signings (very generous). But I no longer feel compelled to own the shit; to do it all day every day. 

That goes for drinking and smoking and over eating. 

And to all you smug straights out there, it also goes for some of your vices too. 

Like coffee and tea and sugar and junk food and Falling in love. 

Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint. 

Just check the look on your face, junkie.

(from the HARDtalk Interview, August 2012), I wouldn't advocate the use of LSD or other drugs by anyone. But, at this point, I wouldn't advocate masturbation, cigarettes, fats, sugars, popular music, most fiction, dancing, movies, card-playing... very little besides reading Scripture aloud, working 12 hours a day six days a week, fasting nine days out of ten, eating very little when you're done fasting, exercise... you see where I'm going with this? :)

But that's the voice of hard experience: that you never know what things in life are going to prove to have an Enormous Adhesive Aspect until they're stuck to you good and proper. It's received wisdom that pot isn't physically addictive. Well, it sure was for me. For a couple of decades there, if I had pot and I was stoned, I was okay, I was wonderful. If I didn't, I was cranky and jonesing for it. By the time I knew that that was my relationship with it, it was too late. It might as well have been grafted onto me with sutures. Buy a quarter-pound for personal use. You know, a dealer's quantity. When I was down to a half ounce, I was "almost out" -- time to buy more. Just trying things to find out if that's the way you are with them, it's Russian Roulette. When you get burned you get burned but GOOD!

At the same time, OUR society is in advanced adolescence, young adulthood (the civilization formerly known as Christendom, I mean) where it's really your decision. I mean, REALLY your decision. Not "You better be VERY careful". You want to try heroin? Take a vacation to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. You can shoot up in the street and no one will bat an eye. Contrasted with Islam which is still in its relative infancy:  get hooked on something you shouldn't and its a capital offence. Homosexuality is a capital offence. A lot of things we in the West have come to look at as, hey, whatever, Dude are capital offences in Muslim countries. Want to know what you can do and what you can't do? Go ask the Imam. But bet on it being "No, you can't do that. In fact you should be flogged just for asking about it. Don't move while I consider whether you will be or not." Christendom was like that for a LONG time...

...For me, it's forty years of bad decisions and -- to this point -- sixteen years of repentance. SERIOUS repentance. Don't apologize for it. STOP DOING IT and apologize to God for how long you did it. 22 years of fornication and 16 years of repentance. Six more years and I'm even. Theoretically.

But, I do think it's a free will thing. I'm pretty sure it's where God wants us to get as a civilization and as individuals. When it's a capital offence, you aren't REALLY being tested. When heroin is just a plane ticket to Vancouver and a jaunt down to Junkie Heaven, that's when you are REALLY being tested.

Good luck to anyone reading this who thought they'd just try something and now find that it might as well be grafted onto them with sutures. I can't even imagine what access to online pornography must be like. Any perversion that comes into your pointy little head(s) just the click of a mouse away. I feel guilty just watching the occasional music video. It takes all kinds.

1 comment:

Cricket James said...

Grass is a gift from nature, and god if you feel so inclined...
The drink will kill you, grass will not, just don't smoke too much. Don't drink too much coffee either, a cup every so often is good for ya!
I gave up cigarettes and the drink almost a decade ago and feel miles better for it.
The grass, well a little puff once or twice a day keeps everything moving along. I work better, sleep better and it keeps the migraines at bay.
I never get stoned and it's never 'recreational' just a gentle helper from nature.
It's all a matter of choice and it can have a different effect of different folks.
For you Dave, i'm happy grass was your friend, it helped you grow during one of your most creative periods as and artist, a writer and a thinker. It may even be of help to you now with the pain in your hand. You also seem a bit lost in the brush while searching for the maker. he, she, it... is all around you my friend.
Come back to us and take in the blue sky, fresh air and green grass!
It's your friend, as am I, as we all are Dave.