The car skidded on the gravel and scraped the asphalt. We got out and I followed Joey into the house. Though I knew most of the people, they didn’t know me. That’s how it is with most of my High School acquaintances, they're usually too fucked up to remember me. Some of them were already drunk. Others, worse. There was a fat guy that everyone called Buddha, but I found that rather insulting to my knowledge of Buddhism. He wasn’t very bright, he chain smoked cloves, and in between drags he would cough up chunks of his lungs, literally. This Buddha made a telephone call and then asked Joey if we could go pick up some weed over in Hacienda. Joey said sure.
We met up with this dealer at his house and after twenty minutes or so Buddha came waddling back to the car. He seemed happy with his purchase, but I really couldn’t care less. Something seemed off about this night. Something was in the air, like I was on the brink of an epiphany. We rolled up to the house and made our way back inside. People seemed drunker, but I tried not to notice. Back into Buddha’s room, we sat in a circle. He packed a bowl of this pot, which smelled terrible. Elliott Smith was there in my mind saying "One hit wouldn’t matter a bit." I guess I didn’t understand the song.
Someone handed me the bottle of Captain Morgans. After a few swigs of that I felt a buzz, so I decided to take a walk and see how everyone else was. Most of the smokers in the circle had already wandered away and they were throughout the house, the geeks watching Anime, the "Punks" taking shots in the kitchen. The only adult there started talking to me about music in the seventies, which I know a good deal about. This woman was in her late forties and she was stuttering over every word she said. "This is what drugs do to you." I thought to myself. Frightening.
I got away from her but was confronted by a girl I knew from high school. She was holding the Captain Morgans, and was obviously drunk. She said something like "Hi, I'm Jenna. I remember you. You're Niko. You didn’t introduce yourself earlier. I thought it was kind of high and mighty of you to assume that people just remember your name." Then she handed me the bottle. I explained that since I remembered her name and she didn’t introduce herself, I just assumed she remembered mine. I took the bottle with me to the back porch.
There were about seven people out back, smoking cigarettes and passing around a pipe. My friend Kyle was there, his pupils blown to shit. I asked him what he was doing this fine day, and he told me he had taken about three eighths of mushrooms throughout the day and he had been downing vodka as well. I waved my hand in front of his face and he jumped about three feet in the air, yelling gibberish. I took the vodka away from him, and told him to chill the fuck out. He went back inside with kind of an awkward march.
I kept drinking, and by this time it was only Buddha and me. He handed me the pipe with a smile and said, "Can I tempt you, my good friend?" I replied, "I've only just met you tonight, but why not?" The taste of pot was a taste I had grown to love and hate. I handed it back to him, grabbed the booze, and we went back inside. Right when I walked into the living room, I set the bottle down. People were stumbling over each other and laughing hysterically, someone was vomiting into the sink, Several people had passed out on the couch, and moaning was coming from under the locked door of a bedroom where Kyle was with his girl. Sex on Psychedelics was something I would never understand. Then something hit me.
It was something Hunter S. Thompson had written in 1972. He was on the Campaign Trail in one of the eastern states, trying to explain parts of his political philosophy to an intern on George McGovern's tour bus. The intern was nodding and apparently listening to him, but then it hit. Hunter realized this kid had no idea what the fuck he was talking about. The look in his eyes was a look of fear, not interest. This kid was mortified of politics and of everyone on the goddamn bus. It was then that Hunter realized the problem with modern youth. They were in mortal fear of everything. This American Dream had bored into the minds of the youth and frozen them in fear, quite understandably so. And I believe it’s only gotten thousands of times worse since then.
Seeing these drunken kids, some as young as 14, really got me thinking. Thinking about how I've been letting the fear run my life, choose my friends, and make my decisions. They really do need an altered reality to feel comfortable, and I find that disturbing. This American Dream has been forced into me and into every other youth through the media, our parents, this unbelievably fucked up culture we've grown accustomed to, and everything we've ever known. We've been programmed to consume, to live up to the Prom King and Queen, to get a good job and have a high salary. And for what? So we die wealthy and at the top of this Hierarchy? I don’t want that.
I may be naive, but at least I'm trying to understand what runs this fear. I'm terrified of what's going to happen to this world in my lifetime alone, but I'm looking foreword to it so I can laugh myself to death at our self destruction. A thirteen year old little league player beating a fifteen year old snack bar attendant to death with a bat just because he razzed him about the game. A teenager tied to a fence and beaten to death for being gay. A girl with a speech impediment beaten and forced to blow 4 middle school boys in front of half the school, only to have the principal not call the police and talk the parents out of it as well. A twelve year old overdosing on ecstasy and LSD at school. What the fuck is happening? Can anyone tell me this won’t just get worse and worse? Are the parents just assuming school and television are teaching children everything they need to know?
It’s been weeks since that night, and I've been sober ever since. I can’t stand the idea of altering a reality that’s already fucked up enough as it is. An easy escape is not what I'm looking for.
A society of fear and loathing
is what we've become.
Who can tell me it isn’t too late