The real gateway drug is…

Everyone knows the "gateway drug" thing is bullshit. You don't smoke weed for a couple weeks and then gradually begin to experiment with progressively more dangerous and potent substances until you end up ODing in a Burger King bathroom.

It's just not true.

I will say however that the black market we're forced to resort to in order to buy a naturally occurring flower — a completely harmless one, at that — is the main reason our country is addicted to speed and opiates.

I mean let's not forget that there's no necessary "processing" involved in making marijuana consumable. You plant it, it grows, you grind up the buds, ignite, inhale and exhale. There's no ether or pseudoephedrine involved and it's not going to explode and burn your trailer down.

Racism and prohibition turned a miraculous all-natural wonder drug into something so mysterious and frowned upon that millions of people all around the world have no other choice but to go to the same places where every other illicit substance might be found, just to get a few buds clipped from a cannabis plant.

If the shit was legal everywhere, non-criminals who find cannabinoids to be beneficial could go to a safe, regulated place to buy their herbs or even grow their own garden — like any other fruit or vegetable — rather than hitting up a drug dealer and risking your freedom.

On a different note than that though, people with addictive personalities have a hard time turning down something that feels amazing, regardless of how dangerous it may or may not be. So if the dope man gets in some other shit, they'll probably be inclined to buy it. When that acid on paper turns out to be pcp or some random research chemical though, shit's not real fun anymore. Or maybe you're just some teenager buying dabs from a solid plug who gets perc 10's and 30's a couple times a month. You see the dude railing one every couple hours and he seems perfectly fine so next time he offers it up, you try it. Turns out it feels pretty good. So good that you feel like dropping half your paycheck on them every week. So there's one more thing the gateway of black market botanicals leads to.

Marijuana prohibition is the real gateway drug, is what I'm getting at. That's how I see it, anyhow.

Opinions, anyone?

Work to live…

…don’t live to work. Unless you’re an oncologist or something.

University is the ever popular route to go in terms of finding a career these days. For the baby boomer generation, everyone buckled down and got degrees in medicine and engineering. For their offspring – my generation – it’s more like technology and communications or the standard doctor/nurse thing because our parents have been telling us to spare our backs and get office jobs our whole lives, and we’re brainless pussies.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that furthuring your education is even remotely a bad idea, and we definitely need doctors and lawyers and all that stuff.

But when you go to college for four to eight years or more, you’re going to owe a few bucks in student loans. If it turns out that you completely despise your chosen field and going to school was a big mistake, you’re completely and utterly fucked. And it’s looking like that’s the case for a lot of indecisive young adults today.

“Blue collar” means “working class” which usually represents that old white haired maintainence guy at every factory who makes upwards of $40 an hour or the lead mechanic at Goodyear who’s the local face of auto repair and cheap oil changes.

Lower down on the spectrum are the highschool dropouts who are doomed to flip burgers their whole lives. Below that, there’s the crazy older dudes who stand out in front of the cash for gold place twirling a sign in 90 degree weather all day for minimum wage.

Between the two, there’s an ignored group of people who don’t make terrible money but we’re not rich by any means either. The work isn’t back-breaking but you’ll likely break a sweat every day and go home tired after every shift. There might be mandatory overtime during peak season and virtually no voluntary overtime the rest of the year, but it’s a steady job complete with benefits and it pays the bills and then some.

It’s absolutely possible to be successful in life without being married to your job, is my point. What’s more, it’s actually possible to be happy and have a social life in the mean time as well. I run a printing press for a living and while I dread waking up, heading to work and standing in a warehouse for eight hours a day, I make pretty good money and my co workers are decent people. Plus if I didn’t have a job I’d lay around chain smoking cigarettes, getting high and stuffing my face with processed snack foods all day.

If I fuck something up at work, there are no drastic and immediate consequences like… say, a surgeon might have to worry about. I throw the shit in the trash and fix whatever was causing the press to run bad product. And I get paid double time to do that on Sundays.

Moral of the story is this: I work at a place that doesnt even require a highschool diploma and I make decent money. I’m content with that and not being a college graduate shouldn’t be a source of dread and anxiety. There are plenty of skilled trades out there that pay off in the end and life can still be enjoyable if you’re not bringing in six figures a year. Hail the working class.

Common sense gun control

I’m not a political analyst. I don’t know the ins and outs of current gun control legislation across the country and I have no staunch beliefs on whether guns are good or bad. Hell, I’ve only ever fired a weapon on two or three separate occasions for no reason other than having been brought up in a moderately rural setting.

I’m just a skeevy stoner of a factory worker in one of Ohio’s small industrial suburbs. That aside, I have an obsession with reading the news. I love elegantly written blocks of information garnished with beautiful typography. I like to learn stuff. Random stuff. I find great pleasure in reading up on different happenings around the world almost as much as I love getting stoned and playing Pokemon Red until 8am on a god damn work night.

A few weeks back I took it up a notch and decided I might as well do my part in supporting the good ol’ fashioned black and white, printing-press-driven news industry and bought a subscription to the New York Times. Needless to say, the purchase was one of my bigger commitments of 2015 but I digress.

Once I started getting my Morning Digests and Evening Briefings I began to notice a pretty fucked up pattern, and pretty damn quick too.

We’re living in the age of ubiquitous LCD monitors and micro chips — a point in time where once deadly diseases are nearly instantly thwarted by miracles of modern science. We have so many different outlets of entertainment – so many gratifying things to do and experience, and so many opportunities for success and growing as individuals. As a species, we’ve got a lot going for us and yet we haven’t come very far at all in terms of violent, primitive behavior.

The past couple of years have sprung an epidemic of gun violence and generally speaking, all the signs are pointing in one direction: it’s too god damn easy for maniacs to legally obtain a weapon. Hell, you don’t even have to be completely batshit crazy to get shitfaced and kill some dude in a bar fight. Granted, you have to be a pretty fucked up person to even fathom the likes of that kind of thing, but you get the point.

We’re a nation obsessed with guns and they’re too damn easy to get ahold of. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but more times than not, at the end of each day I’ve read headline after headline detailing more and more mass shootings and there’s only one semi-solid solution that comes to mind for me.

Keep guns out of the wrong hands!

At the very least, why can’t we at least agree to enact more extensive background checks and mandatory psychological evaluations?

Sure, a hand full of crazy bastards will inevitably slip through the cracks but the way things are now, I can join a selling wall on Facebook and trade some dude up state a dirtbike for a .357 with virtually no effort. Hypothetically, I could message the gun nut down the road and arrange to pick up an SKS with a 30-round magazine for a couple hundred bucks completely under the radar.

Why the hell is that legal? I get that you could never regulate everything that anyone might want to sell directly to someone else, but it could absolutely be made into more of a process involving a paper trail. You have to sign over the title to the ’86 Mercury you sold to a co-worker — why the hell not the AK-47 you sold to the old man down the road?

My only point – and bear in mind that I’m no more than a layman; I’m only pitching a common sense plot here – is that something clearly needs to be done in lieu of all the gun violence bullshit that’s plaguing modern life. I’d just like to (at the very least) see more rigorous background checks and mandatory psychological screenings. Is that really too much to ask? Is that unconstitutional? I think not, and what’s more — for what purpose does one need to be able to acquire a firearm on demand? I don’t believe that there’s any reason as to why anyone would suddenly need a handgun right this minute. In other words, yes; background checks and psyche screenings are more time consuming bullshit to deal with but come on now. It’s better than outright banning guns and its at the very least a step forward in taking action against unnecessary deaths nationwide.

What’s your stance? I’m down for a healthy heated debate because this is definitely a huge issue.

Trauma and Religion, or “Another Generic Atheist Post”

The fact that I’ve never went through anything extraordinarily traumatic makes my lack of faith a no brainer. Aside from little things here and there like being disciplined “the old fashioned way,” I had it pretty easy growing up. Compared to a lot of the people I’ve grown close to in life, my childhood was a walk in the park — and I’m immensely grateful for that.

I had a conversation with a close friend (we’ll call her Kim) the other day about a devastating fire that burned her childhood home to the ground, leaving behind little more than an antique metal figurine and a porcelain pepper shaker. All four adjacent houses suffered some moderate damages from the overspray, but at the end of the day the neighbors could still change into their own pajamas and climb into their own bed for a good night’s rest – knowing it’ll all still be there when they wake up in the morning. Unfortunately for Kim, those people were no longer her neighbors and a young family of five suddenly had no idea where they were going to lay their heads at night for what would turn into the better half of a year.

I’m not 100% but I think she told me the whole thing was set in motion by the classic “squirrels chewing through wires” thing. From what I understand, for one reason or another, there was a pretty serious explosion shortly after the blaze started, too. Had Kim, her two sisters and her brother been inside eating dinner as they usually were around that time on weeknights, they most likely wouldn’t have made it out in time due to how fast the whole thing went up. For the five cats and 20 odd fish they had in an aquarium, death was believed to have been pretty quick and painless.

Not much sooner than that clueless squirrel sunk teeth into his fatal last meal, the grandmother called practically begging Kim’s mom to let her babysit Kim and her siblings at her own house. Said she’d been having visions of her recently deceased husband warning her to stay away from the house. Even though she wasn’t quite sure why, she felt it imperative that the kids were out of there — so she came and picked them up.

That leaves Mom hanging out at ground zero, sipping on a beer and watching TV, all alone. Her ex-husband had been trying to get her to come have dinner with him all day and she put it off and put it off until finally, he called and was able to convince her to meet him at the bar down the street — the house being dangerously close to ignition at this point. Coincidentally, she decided to say “what the hell” and finally took him up on his offer. Less than 45 minutes later, Kim’s childhood home full of baby photos, sentimental heirlooms and everything else the family had in their name, would be no more.

Continue reading “Trauma and Religion, or “Another Generic Atheist Post””

On anxiety and drugs

I’ve been put on antidepressants before and all things considered, they helped in a pretty big way. Not necessarily in the way that I expected, but they definitely helped me overcome some serious anxiety issues. It bugs the hell out of me when people say things like “yeah I took those for a few days and it didn’t do anything but make me tired. I mean if they work for you, great. They just didn’t do anything for me.” Like they’re expecting a fast acting 24-hour anxiety and depression miracle drug, but that’s hogwash.

It’s a pill. Made up of chemicals that affect your brain in a way that allows you to stay a little more calm in situations that pose no real threat. The whole “overcoming your demons” thing is up to you at that point.

I get that different drugs affect different people in different ways but drugs or no drugs, overcoming something like anxiety does in fact require some effort on your end. Drugs like Paxil are supposed to break the cycle of habitual thoughts that might discourage you from saying “fuck it” and trying something new — something that, more times than not, might just turn out to bring you some form of gratification. Who knows.

But when you’re not too terrified to let go and live a little, you (hopefully) begin to realize that people aren’t as shitty and judgmental as you thought they were. Or probably more accurately that everyone’s totally a judgmental asshole, but so are you and it’s nothing personal. It’s kind of hard to come to that realization when you take everything as a personal attack though, and that’s what fuels the fire of low self worth. Thus, allowing your mind to run wild on (usually) false, negative assumptions about yourself.

You don’t recognize and come to terms with that kind of shit after two or three days on an antidepressant. It takes time, lots of time, to work the new and improved formula into your system.

They’re dirt cheap and shut off your ability to worry about stuff you have no business worrying about. But just like every other mind altering substance, there’s a fine line between the benefits and drawbacks. Such as addiction; the fact that you have to ween yourself off of them when you’re ready to fly solo and whatnot.

Granted, cutting an antidepressant out of your routine is nowhere near as horrid and painstaking as getting off something like meth or heroin but it’s still not fun. Especially when the whole reason you started taking them in the first place was to curb your anxiety — then the withdrawals come knocking and bring all of that great stuff back in full force. It’s all about how desperately you want to be rid of the negative circular thinking – do the positives outweigh the negatives or is it the other way around? Are you willing to work for it or are you relying on a placebo effect to set in?

All in all, pharmaceuticals can absolutely be effective, but not without a cost. There’s potential; we’ll leave it at that.

Smoking weed, however, has a slightly different effect. Number one, it makes you completely fucking retarded. But in a good way… and a literal way, but a really good literal way.

You have three priorities at this point: hunger, thirst, and most importantly, entertainment (and I say that loosely.) The anxieties of everyday life disappear for a little bit and the only thing that matters is right now. I’m not a doctor or anything, but I don’t see how there’s still even an argument as to whether or not marijuana has medicinal benefits – namely as an antidepressant.

It’s not a conventional solution, but totally therapeutic to those of us who are into that kind of thing. I don’t think enough people can grasp that concept; the fact that one thing – regardless of what that thing is – is never going to be everyone’s favorite thing. Or even something they like. Hell, they might hate that fucking thing but someone else would kill to have that thing.

It just grinds my gears that a decent amount of people still disregard the fact that a pretty good chunk of the population thoroughly enjoys coming home and taking a load off with a fat joint and a few monster bong rips rather than slamming a 30 case of Keystone and passing out in a pile of piss and puke. Life isn’t always easy and getting addicted to real drugs doesn’t make it any easier. It’s kind of fucked up that one of the few (mostly) harmless sources of artificial happiness is still so frowned upon. It instantly enhances life, man. Come on.

Jade Helm of Tinfoil

I was power walking my way out to a quick smoke break at work the other day when a decent sized black helicopter took off into the distance. It was sort of further away than it looked at first glance so the sound of the propeller was faint, but not uncharacteristically quiet for that kind of thing. Dude walking out next to me looks up and says with a smirk, and I’m definitely paraphrasing here, “Huh. Blackhawk… Stealth chopper. Er, helicopter. Can’t hear ’em at all. Well… not completely silent but damn close. Ever heard of a thing called operation Jade Helm?” to which I replied with an unwelcoming “nah.”

I already knew where the conversation was headed but being the pushover I am, I couldn’t leave it at an awkward silence. I shot him a puzzled look as if to say “go ahead, man” and his body language shifted to what can only be interpreted as “I know what I’m about to say sounds fucking crazy but hear me out.” So for the next ten to fifteen minutes this motherfucker explained to me – with a lethal dose of confidence – how the US military is conducting these covert operations in urban areas to prepare for martial law. He said there were “FEMA camps ready to go” as if the sound of a government-owned acronym should’ve made something click in my brain and say “Holy shit! This guy’s onto something!”

In reality, the only thing he was really onto was the fact that there’s a small airport down the road that civilian, commercial, and sometimes military aircraft of all shapes and sizes come through. Of course that doesn’t matter to people like him though, because that very airport put up a chain link fence a few years ago so that obviously means they’re preparing for something big. I mean after all, you don’t just put up a fence to keep people out. They must be getting ready to keep something… or someonein. I totally get that it’s stupid to blindly trust the government. It’s not completely out of the question for someone like Hitler to take hold of a nation and turn it upside down by means of brute force and terrorism, but come on. If you think 9/11 was an inside job and Obama is the antichrist, you’re just plain silly.

The Devil’s Lettuce

I wholeheartedly agree with the age-old meme that marijuana is completely harmless. I smoke the shit on a daily nightly basis and the only drug problem I’ve ever had is the munchies, with some occasional joint pains but that’s neither here nor there.

image

I’m all for legalization right down to the recreational level in all 50 States because like it or not, no magnitude of authority is going to keep people from combusting and inhaling a naturally occurring substance with minimal negative side effects and infinite benefits.

Simply put, getting stoned is fucking awesome. It’s probably safe to say that anyone who can let go of their worldly insecurities and anxieties long enough to ride out a super chill, couch-locking reefer high would agree.

I went through a pill popping snorting phase for the better part of a year after graduating highschool and that is where our real drug problem lies: government-approved, doctor-prescribed bad decisions in the form of tiny breath mint sized clumps of modern science. That’s the stuff that leaves you doing the deep shit back stroke for months on end while trying to recover from a few hazy hours of medically-induced insanity.

Weed, on the other hand, shares pretty much zero similarities with the classic favorites of our generation – including, but certainly not limited to: Percocet, Valium, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Adderall, and my former personal favorite, Xanax. As a matter of fact, about the only thing the aforementioned pharmaceuticals have in common with pot is that they all temporarily affect the way your brain functions, in one way or another.

But the thing of it is, you don’t get stoned out of your gourd and get in a brutal fist fight with your best friend. You don’t take a few rips off a bong, start foaming at the mouth and overdose in front of your family. Unless that bong has a meth bubble in place of the bowl but that’s a whole different can of worms.

Everyone already knows that though; I know I’m preaching to the choir here. The argument I’m making today is against some of my fellow burnouts; the ones who’ve been giving stoners a bad name ever since it was outlawed in the first place. I’m talking about the assholes who can’t wake up in the morning and start their day without smoking themselves into a coma.

You know the guy. He takes 45 minutes at the god damn drive through because he’s too high to figure out what he wants in the first place, then he takes an additional 15 minutes trying to count out change from a sandwich bag to pay for his order. It’s the same fuckhead who spills his two liter of Mountain Dew all over the counter in Waterbeds N Stuff window shopping bongs he’ll never be able to afford because he blows $200 a week on dabs.

Dude’s not like that from smoking pot all day though. He was born a fuckup and will always be a fuckup. It just so happens that he loves getting high and that is what ruins the image of responsible smokers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on drugs or not. Disrespectful assholes are going to do what they do best whether they’re stoned, drunk off their ass or Xannied out on a handful of bars – and the world is full of them. Assholes, that is.

From where I stand, it’s pretty clear that the ones we need to be pushing against for legalization aren’t all gun-toting conservative Christians who faint at the thought of their babies one day falling victim to the horrors of the Devil’s lettuce. It’s the losers who walk around with no regard for other people’s things or feelings and chances are, they’re right here among us — smoking up all our weed and cleaning out our fridge when they’re done.

This love

I guess I’m a contrarian. Or maybe a narcissistic perfectionist with low self esteem? I know that’s contradictory; don’t get all politically correct on me and start googling shit before you even get to the second paragraph.

But anyway, its like I’m on this never ending mission to find my soulmate (or something stupid like that) and as soon as I’m in the clear with her, I suddenly lose interest. All the realities of what a relationship actually entails come crashing down as if I had no idea what to expect, and quite frankly I’m running out of shitty excuses.

It’s just that people change. So much.

Like, as soon as you get to the point where both parties are confident that the relationship is going to work, the veil of anxiety drops. The butterflies all die and what you’re now left with is… life.

Not to be confused with the single life, which (spoiler alert) turns out to be pretty fucking awesome after all, but I digress.

Sex. That’s really the only thing that separates an ordinary, run of the mill friendship from romance. You can argue all you want, but love isn’t much more than (with any luck, unprotected) sex with someone who you’re so obsessed with that you’ve devoted every last ounce of spare time and energy to. You can romanticize it until the cows come home, but at the end of the day that’s all it really is. That, and a natural high that encourages procreation but I’m too lazy to fact check so we’ll just leave it at that.

Think about it though. Damn near every adult has been madly in love with someone at some point in their life and odds are, if ya give it enough time, it’ll slowly fade away into indifference. Sometimes on great terms but more often than not, on really shitty “don’t ever fucking talk to me again” terms, swapping the indifference for intolerance. They say relationships are hard work and everyone has to compromise but those same people will also tell you not to let anyone change who you are.

Sex is one dimensional. It’s literally the best feeling in the world, but totally one dimensional. Its primitive and instinctual. Filthy, even… depending on who you ask. Its pretty much the only completely natural thing we can still get away with in the age of extreme political correctness, maximum law and order, and ubiquitous microchips. But at the end of the day, it really isn’t much more than a few minutes of flopping around on top of someone who’s up to the same shenanigans as you are. Then you both get off, have a smoke and go about the rest of your night.

In a committed relationship, you get as much of that as you can handle for a few months, followed by a lot of annoying bullshit. Worst part is, you’re balls deep by that point and even though you’re both miserable you can’t bring yourself to break it off because it’s the good lord’s plan.

Just kidding. But seriously though, you get all wrapped up in the shit and hang on by a thread for months, maybe years, and its always the same in the end. Monogamy isn’t even natural, but again; not fact checking so moving on.

Point is, relationships are a waste of time and true love is a fabrication of man. Or something like that.

Don’t let my pointless rambling fool you though; I’m all for falling madly and irrationally in love. Its a powerful force for us here mammals and quite possibly the most desirable thing our human brains can endure. So why wouldn’t you want to indulge? What’s the worst that could happen? You get your heart broken?

Don’t be a pussy. Just go for it. I mean, it’s either another human being or your hand. Don’t fall in love with your hand.

Shedding Skin

I love my life. I realize my place in the universe, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

There was a time in my youth when I had absolutely no idea where I stood on the social spectrum; I wasn’t into sports in elementary/middle school, I didn’t have a weird talent or obsession with anything. I’ve never considered myself to be a part of any fandom, so to speak, and the thought of claiming the fucking outrageous title of “gamer” makes me want to suck-start a shotgun. In other words, I’ve never been incredibly passionate about anything in particular. I was into the whole bmx thing in highschool but that was fairly short lived.

That, and metal. Fucking metal. I’m still into that though.

wpid-wp-1434191329925.jpg

I totally get the whole idea that “it doesn’t matter what people think about you,” but really, it kind of does. Life is what you make of it and people – all people – inevitably fall into some level of generalized demographic. You have poor people, rich people, Bible thumpers, skeptics, junkies, perverts, prudes, hippies, hopeless romantics, narcissists, geniuses, fucking idiots and so on.

Personally, I’m white trash. I could lie and act like I’m not, but it’s your actions and personality that truly speak for you and determine how people will generally judge your character. My actions and lifestyle as a whole form a fucking giant glowing neon arrow pointing to the words “white” and “trash.”

I regularly wear this shirt, even:

Because it's a trashbag, kind of.
Because it’s a trashbag, kind of.

I totally don’t even mean any of this in a negative way, is the fucked up part. Maybe as a sort of self-depricating humor, but in a brutally honest way.

I have what they call a factory tan, meaning I’m permanently ghost white and have dark circles under my eyes, thanks to a fucked up 10 hour second shift schedule. My typical day includes getting irrationally pissed off at various industrial machinery, loading up on complete garbage that somehow passes off as food and, most importantly, chain smoking Camel Wides for 15-20 minutes every two hours. I don’t drink water unless I have to and most of what little money I do make goes towards weed, fast food and other shit that I could undoubtedly do without. I consume the shit out of everything in my path and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I don’t care who you are, that, is white trash. I’m not saying I’m a shitty person or anything; just a little trashy, is all. I’m cool with it though. What else would I be doing? Watching sports in a shitty million-dollar condo that I have to keep clean? Waking up at 5am every morning to hail a cab to the office so I can get a head start on some boring bullshit?

Fuck that. It sucks being broke but money doesn’t buy happiness. In the grand scheme of things, people as a whole haven’t been civilized for a whole hell of a long time. Entertainment can be manufactured, mass-produced, bought and sold, but commercialized nonsense is far from being the only way to be genuinely entertained. It doesn’t seem like people appreciate that a whole lot anymore.

I’ve met some pretty colorful people in my short life, let me tell ya… and there’s sure to be loads more to come. I thoroughly enjoy being alive, even if that means I’m not always the most careful or healthy person in the world. I go big or go home, and that’s just as much a curse as it is a blessing.

Gourmet

Being broke makes you appreciate shit. I’ve been (pretty much) completely fucking broke all week, partly because I’m horrible at managing money and partly because weed and cigarettes are outrageously priced nowadays. So I’m trying to avoid any (additional) unnecessary purchases. But let’s face it, ten hours feels like an eternity when you’re in a dim warehouse folding junk mail at 120 feet per minute.

I think I made it two days before breaking down and getting a shitty microwave-ready burger out of the machine and it was easily the best god damn thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Probably because it was loaded with MSG and a ton of other miracles of modern science, but it was the highlight of my day.

So that’s where my life’s at right now.

image