ARE DRUGS COOL?
THERE ARE FOUR TYPES OF PEOPLE AT OTAGO UNIVERSITYThe first type, often a Castle Street resident, is septum-deep in their “drug phase” – that sacred, rarefied time in most people’s lives in which drugs are the pinnacle of cool, and the user believes themselves to be equally cool by association. They will boast incessantly to anyone under the age of 30 about how they’ve taken “every drug there is, except P”. When you point out that there are more drugs than weed, pills and P, they will mumble something about how they can “definitely get some acid”. May dabble in dealing to subsidise the Fear and Loathing poster on their TradeMe watchlist.
The second type, likely a fresher, is pre-drug phase. Drugs kinda terrify them, but they have just purchased a really crappy pill (“definitely MDMA, bro”) from a super-cool second-year friend of someone on their floor for the bargain price of $60. They will save their purchase for re-O, awaiting this pyschoactive awakening with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, and possibly reading decade-old MDMA “trip reports” on Erowid. Sadly, the likelihood of said pill containing 3,4-methyenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine is equivalent to the likelihood of said fresher getting into their restricted-entry course in second year.
The third type, usually third-year or older, is post-drug phase. They have abused the shit out of their nostrils and lungs for a solid, sustained period of time at some point; the novelty of substance use has almost entirely worn off; they no longer consider drugs particularly cool, especially at Dunedin prices; they may even purport to be “kinda over drugs” and reminisce about the good old days when pills were “totally worth the comedown”. None of this actually precludes them from both getting baked and snorting mephedrone on a semi-regular to regular basis.
The fourth type does not need an age bracket. There are no age limits on being a codehead Neanderthal from Riverton who hates drugs more than the Crusaders but consumes three boxes of Speights and a bottle of CC every week before staggering home from Alibi to shove his semi-soft dick into his missus’ stubbly snatch.
Drugs: They’re kinda like burgundy pants. You’re either wearing them, or you have your eye on a pair, or you’ve just listed your old ones on TradeMe, or you think they’re for “fags” and stick to Canterbury trackies. Whichever camp you fall into, you’re always too personally involved to objectively assess their coolness. Ask a Type One and Type Four about the coolness/uncoolness of drugs and you’ll get some wildly disparate answers, and not just because Type Four’s response will be a series of unintelligible grunts with an occasional “cunt” thrown in. Who is right? Is anyone right? Basically: Are drugs cool?
Commentators from Confucius to Chomsky have agonised over this perennial issue, but the moral significance of the question defeated them: ultimately they wished not to deal with such weighty matters, preferring to discuss lighter fare such as the meaning of life and genocide in Darfur. But unlike those lesser minds, Critic is not afraid to ask the hard questions. We cast a critical (see what I did there?) eye over the popular arguments for and against the coolness of mind-altering substances, and even made them up into a handy Pros and Cons list. Because there’s nothing like a Pros and Cons list to clarify your thoughts on everything from the classic break-up dilemma to whether or not you should apply for second-year law (answer – not unless you want to spend the next four years marinating in Karen Walker-swaddled blondes from the North Shore with upward speech inflections).
PRO – Drugs get you laid.Sex in Dunedin is a simple equation: Basic hygiene + not entirely repulsive appearance + ostensible presence of penis or vagina + confidence = guaranteed bone. The equation still works without the hygiene and appearance parts, so basically all you need to ensure filthy one night stands on demand for the rest of your university career is a little confidence boost. Yes, there’s alcohol, but booze has too many rogue variables to be a truly safe choice when on the pull. There are horny drunks, angry drunks, happy drunks, and sad drunks, all of whom can easily turn into vomiting or coma’d drunks. The margin of error is too great. Conversely, when it comes to stimulants, everyone is horny and nobody falls asleep! Woohoo! Pills and penises for everyone!
CON – Drugs get you laid.First, compared to Pill Goggles, Beer Goggles are practically vision-enhancing. Second, whisky dick has nothing on eccy dick. Third, cottonmouth is not conducive to any form of mouth-to-genital action. Fourth and most disgustingly, Critic is reliably informed by a friend of a friend that when she takes stimulants her vag starts to smell distinctly like a South Auckland P lab.
PRO – Lots of cool people take drugs.Hunter S., Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Steve Jobs, the Situation … drug use and misuse has always been popular among the undeniably talented/cool. It is a well-known fact that a Bob Marley poster, a lovingly-constructed homemade bong, and a proper “Acid Changed Steve Jobs’s Life!” anecdote are all you need to experience creative success on a par with your idols. And all those pensive evenings in with Bob and the bong will form perfect material for a future ghostwritten autobiography.
CON – Lots of uncool people take drugs.There are certain rules of physics that you mess with at your own peril. For every Bob Marley, there is Toni from your local health food store whose herbal deodorant mingles waxily with her ganja-sweat, dripping from her unshaven armpits in a fragrant mélange of cumin and patchouli. For every Steve Jobs, there is Uncle John who dropped acid and continued on his path to mid-level-management at Bunnings with nary a whisper of a successful start-up in Silicon Valley. For every Hunter S., there is a pols student who thinks a couple of Tramadols on a Saturday arvo plus the ability to string a sentence together makes him a gonzo journalist. Shall I go on?
PRO – Drugs are really quite fun.There’s something intrinsically cool about an instant change in your mental state, courtesy of you. Happiness or sleepiness or horniness on demand is pretty fucking incredible whichever way you look at it. Why go through the agonising process of self-improvement (admitting own flaws as a human being, pursuing open and honest communication with loved ones, setting achievable goals, exercising regularly etc) when you can simply swallow a pill, snort a line or smoke a joint? It’s all about effective time management.
CON – Drugs are really quite boring.The instant mood change most often associated with drugs is actually the nosedive into boredom that accompanies other people’s drug stories. You know what’s fun? Being high as a kite. You know what’s not fun? Hearing about how someone else was high as a kite. And you know what’s not cool? Boring other people and stopping them from having fun. Unless of course you’re a member of Student Life, in which case preventing fun is probably your raison d’être.
So, in conclusion: Drugs get you laid (except when they don’t), are taken by cool people (except when they’re not), and are fun (except when they’re boring). Not much of a conclusion, but there’s a good reason for that. Drugs are just inert substances: not as amazing as a drug phase-r thinks they are, but definitely not as evil as an anti-drugger thinks they are. Ultimately, drugs are as cool as whoever’s taking them. Unless, of course, the person taking them is a cop or customs officer. Nothing brings on a comedown quite so quickly as losing your diversion.