Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lost high way

Poor Judgement
Originally uploaded by A.Currell.
Being a sophisticated substance abuser requires experience, finesse, and nerves of steel. I'm sure 007 never spilled a drop of his extra dry martini on his exquisitely tailored tux under any circumstances. And who could imagine James Bond hugging the toilet, his "shaken, not stirred" stomach convulsing in spasms of barf? Never.

But onscreen and off, most of us mere mortals have had our share of substance-induced shame and degradation. Who can forget Ray Milland's foiled attempt to hide a gin bottle from the prying eyes of his brother--by tying it to a rope and hanging it out the window of his apartment building--in The Lost Weekend? Or Jack Lemmon in the Days of Wine and Roses--tied down, glassy eyed and sweating in the alkie ward, biting at the air, trying to ward off the little green men attacking him with pruning shears? And then there's Woody Allen in Annie Hall, sneezing onto a mound of coke at a hip LA party.

And then there's me. No one on my mother's side of the family drinks at all. But although I never saw him drunk, before he got married, my dad was quite the wild man. One night, he apparently had a disagreement with a knife wielding maniac at some southern roadhouse bar. His lifetime souvenier was a deep scar running down the entire length of one cheek. I vowed to learn from his mistake.

Consequently I've (almost) always been able to hold my liquor--both at the bar and in my stomach. But since my boyfriend BG is older and has been drinking longer, he's had a few more unfortunate "incidents" than I have. Aside from the catastrophe with brother Ubba covered previously, he's experienced a plethora of substance-related tragedies.

When BG was a tender youth, he got turned on to the wonders of Robitussin AC by his older sister's boyfriend, who hailed from NYC. You used to be able to go into a pharmacy and just sign a fake name, get your bottle of legal codeine, and be on your way. One time BG got two--each from a different drug store--and slipped the second one in his pocket. As he headed out the door, the bottle slid out onto the ground and smashed in a zillion pieces. Since codeine was apparently the ultimate drug of choice for BG--he still has fond memories of those days--he very nearly got down and licked the sidewalk. The lesson here is to keep in mind that the more eager and excited one is about getting a substance into your system, the more likely that your nervous anticipation will lead to broken bottles and shattered dreams. So take a few deep breaths and recite your mantra before purchasing.

Back in the summer of '69, BG had his first foray in NYC. He did tons of drugs, met scores of hippies, and experienced myriad adventures. One memorable one involved a road trip to Montauk Point, about a three hour drive from Manhattan. One of his pals had a big beautiful chunk of black hash that the gang were planning to smoke out there. Montauk Point is on the very eastern tip of Long Island, surrounded by the Atlantic--an apt setting for a mellow hash party. But just as they were about to set up shop, his friend dropped the whole chunk of doobage, and it fell on the rocks and into the undulating ocean below. A three hour trip to get wasted--wasted.

I used to have a great connec at work for bowleg (aka evil weed). I had been on a ten-year hiatus, and the first time I got my hands on some of the new, powerful homegrown stuff (shortly before meeting BG) it was quite an ephiphany. My colleague's merch consisted of huge buds that smelled so strong I was afraid a cop would apprehend me on the subway. In fact, one time I was heading to BG's and a drunk was swilling from his bottle when a cop spotted him and escorted him off. Meanwhile, I had my fragrant resinated "z" tucked away in my purse. From then on, I wrapped my precious treasure in a sheet of fabric softener before heading uptown.

As I mentioned in a previous pot-related post, BG used to fall on and off the wagon with regularity. Periodically, in a fit of remorse after yet another hellish hangover, BG would impulsively perform the morning after ritual of flushing the remainders of the booze and joints down the toilet--only to wind up kicking himself for his folly a few days hence. One time, in fact, we'd been buying so much weed from my work pal that we had amassed an impressive collection of roaches--many of them Mach II (roaches made from roaches) and even Mach III (roaches made from the roaches of the roaches). During one of his repentant intervals, I wound up giving my co-worker back a few prime leftover buds and the entire bag of uber-roaches. I felt like a schmuck on wheels a few days later.

For awhile, along with the cheap scotch BG insisted on buying, he developed a penchant for Mr. Boston's blackberry brandy. The stuff is tasty as hell--esp. poured chilled straight from the freezer--but it produces hallucinatory hangovers. One fall, his brother Ubba was up visiting. BG was recovering from another wicked night of rotgut-and-brandy induced hell. Ubba took him aside and said: "BG, you're my brother and I love you. Listen to me. Don't buy that off-brand whiskey. And ixnay on the Old Mr. Boston's. That stuff is what a Bowery bum drinks when he's lost his windshield-wiping job."

BG agreed, and admitted that the mere thought of the brandy was giving him the dry heaves. We headed off to the neighborhood bar for some hair of the dog. After sitting there awhile, we heard a crash, and an all-too-familiar, sickeningly sweet smell wafted through the air. Sure enough, the old codger sitting two stools down from us had sneaked in a bottle of Old Mister Boston's blackberry brandy, and dropped it on the floor. Oh, the humanity!

Sometimes, BG's drinking would even drive him to the psych ward. Since he's schizophrenic anyway, the booze only made it that much more likely that he'd do the old cutting his wrists routine before heading off to the VA for a little R & R. One morning, after a three day BG bender, we took a cab to the Manhattan VA hospital. BG, wrist wounds wrapped in gauze, asked me to take him to the bar across the street for a final drink. He ordered a double scotch, but his hands were shaking so badly that he promptly spilled it all over the bar. The old timers sitting there at 10 in the morning--many of them wizened vets--nodded in sympathy. One put his arm around BG's shoulder soothingly, and said: "There, there, my boy. Happens to the best of us." The bartender prompty poured him another on the house.

If a young person just starting out on their drinking/drugging career were to ask my advice, I'd tell him something like this: If you can't drink lightly, hold onto your glass tightly. Try to slow down before the room starts spinning and your face meets the bar floor. Avoid bar patrons with switchblades. Stock up for Sunday, when the NYC liquor stores are closed and you can't buy beer til noon. Skip the tasty Old Mister Bostons, and use the extra few bucks to get a decent bottle of scotch that doesn't sport a skull and crossbones on a crooked label. Don't be Mr. Fumblefingers with the hash, and if you must smoke, stay away from large bodies of water. Try not to drink for three days straight--give the old brain cells a little break. And even in the throes of a screeching hangover, think long and hard before you flush.



At 5:26 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I'm afraid I'm a tad on the innocent side when it comes to drinking and drugging. yes, I've had my share of drinking binges, barfing in the toilet, and embarrassing escapades with alcohol...but never been a drug user, besides a couple of times smoking pot. Your post today has well and truly brought home some reasons why I'm glad I didn't get any further up the road than I did.

I'm not sure what to say actually. I just wanted to come in and say hi and was given quite the education by doing so. Thanks :)

At 6:21 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Hey Lisa!

So glad you stopped by. Between you and me (lol), if truth be told, I'm kind of a lightweight myself. Never dropped acid, although most people my age did. Like you, my two main vices were drinking and pot--and a few uppers when I could find them.

I used to be able to drink large quantities without a hitch, but these days one or two and a few tokes and I'm comatose. BG and I actually went 14 months without a drink when we joined AA--but we had a few probs with the vibes there. Since then, it's been kind of on and off, but even BG has been taking it easier. I guess that's what happens when you get older.

Yes, I guess this post could serve as a cautionary tale. Frankly, just writing it was kind of making me sick to my stomach. Maybe being a sophisticated imbiber is not all it's cracked up to be, after all. Much better to be drunk on love--as you and Walker are! Who needs anything more?

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Walker said...

I see the smarter half found you.
You have touched a subject I know so well and had devoted the better part of my life abusing.
Where to start first drugs or booze. They do go together like piss and toilet water they both go down the drain.
Drugs first I guess because they did supply the muney for my expensive scotch habit.
From the age of 15 I was a drug user pot strickly back then but
by the time I was 17 I was a dealer and a damn good one. For 12 years I sold my wears and made more money than the Prime Minister of Canada.
I was putting 500 to 1000 dollars a day in my pocket Well not quite in my pocket more like in my cocain dealers pocket to pay for the $500 a day habit I had developed and that was a wholesale price.
I would work all day selling and in the evening we my cousin and I would buy and ounce and go home. Those were fucked up years.
This lead to the 2 40 ouncers of whiskey I took to come down in the morning and to get some sleep.

Now we used to turn ours into crack. It ws cheaper buying the coke and converting it to crack by a thousand bucks. I actually told someone the 2 main ways to do the process just the other day.
I told it to someone who has never done it and was curious on the chemical change. I have no intention of saying how here.
But it was a bad habit and it is a mental eddiction. Meaning I wanted to do it and it wasn't my body making me like heroin(which I have never done and never even wanted to).
In the 10 years or so that I was doing it I figure I have spent over a million dollars and fucked up my health.
Booze, is the one thing I loved and still do even though I don't drink much any more. I have won a drinking comtest which involve me drinking 78 beers before the last man fell off the stool and the prize was I had no bill but a hell of a hangover the next day.
I used to drink a 40 ouncer of whiskey a day every day and thats just at home and I did this for 5 years. There was no way to get drunk because the coke straightened me out. A catch 22 situation.
I have no regrwets about any of this because it is part of the learning formula, live and learn, die and forget for ever. I don't want to forget thats why I quit.
I still like smoking my pot and I am rolling a joint as soon as I finish this comment. I also drink rarly but responsible and I do drink 100 dollars scotch.Well if your not gonna drike that much might as well drink the best LOL
I would never do coke again I know that and I have nothing good to say about it but that is good that it's illegal.
Pot on the other hand I would like to see legalized but thats my opinion.
Have a nice weekend

At 1:36 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


As always, thanks for the awesome comment. And it was great to hear from Lisa too!

When it comes to substances, you've definitely put your money where your mouth is (lol). That sounds like a wild life you were leading. Sort of glam, sort of fun, sort of crazy.

I'm glad you reminded me--I completely neglected coke in my post. I went through a coke phase in the 80s (who didn't?) and I was starting to develop a nice little habit. Also freebased (don't know if this is much different from crack, but the former preceeded the latter). I do tend to like the uppy drugs, but if truth be told, I found amphetamines to be more effective. Coke seemed more like the Chinese food of drugs--in 10 minutes, you need more.

At this point, alcohol isn't a big thing with me either. I'm getting too old, or the meds I'm taking just don't mix with more than one or two.

But like you, I do enjoy a nice joint. My prob is that I've lost all my good connections and the source we have now is inconsistent. Bad pot is sometimes worse than no pot. I can get tired and hungry without any chemical help, you know what I'm saying?

But yes, I think pot should be legalized. One thing I wonder about those stupid anti-drug commercials--why are they railing on pot and not alcohol? I've never heard of a frat boy dying from smoking too much weed at an initiation ritual. I don't hear much about violent crimes induced by pot. If they legalized it, it seems like it would be a very profitable endeavor. Plus it has definite medical benefits. But that's the crazy world we live in.

Many thanks for stopping by.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Walker said...

We have more pot up here than we can smoke and 90% of the time its great.
I have never heard of anyone smoking so many joints that they O.D. but I do know that you can smoke yourself straight.
Free basing and crack is the same.
The best freebase or crack in made with ether which is the most dangerous process. Hence Richard Pryer aka the running math stick found out.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

I enjoyed LSD and mushrooms very much as an undergraduate and smoked pot a LOT during my postdoctoral stint in San Diego (then again, in San Diego, marijuana is the social drug of choice, even over alcohol, and the pot available is divine!). I probably have enough funky stories for an entire book, but I'll say that one of the amusing ones happened in San Diego when I'd gone to a "Staind" concert with some friends. I was standing in the middle of the concert hall with a particularly notorious buddy at UCSD when the lights came on after the opening act ... holding a particularly fat joint to my lips ... when a cop came up. The buddy I was with at the time about shit his pants out of fear, but I just pulled the joint from my mouth, laid a big 'ol open-mouthed kiss on the cop (he was pretty cute, which didn't hurt), and he went on his way. ;-)

At 12:42 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I'm so jealous! It used to be that you had to travel to other continents to get good weed. Now the best stuff seems to be in our own backyards. But here I am, in NYC, and I can't get my hands on anything decent. Instead, we seem to be getting some low grade Jamaican crap that they scraped out of a donkey's asshole.

We didn't use ether-- we used Bacardi 151 rum. Either way, it's dangerous. It's hardly worth it to spend good money to fry your brain cells and burn your face off for good measure.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I never did acid and 'shrooms myself. Something told me if I did I might go batshit insane (lol). I always thought San Diego was super straight--go figure.

That's a wild story, alright. Kind of reminds me of the famous photo of the hippie putting the flower in the rifle. These are the sort of tales you can tell your grandchildren about one day (lol). Grandma, tell us again about the time you gave the policeman a shotgun toke!

At 4:27 AM, Blogger ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

EEEEK!!!!! I should send you an email sometime (this week kinda sucks with work-juggling, but blogging and emailing is more fun so I'll keep up with it) about a REALLY EMBARRASSING email I sent last night to someone while I was on my way to "sleepy-ville" (but not yet in bed) after taking a sleep aid (Ambien). I didn't even remember writing or sending the email until I found it while cleaning out the "sent items" folder of my email just now...and LEMME TELL YA: WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION shared with him! I guess he doesn't think I'm too much of a freak yet though, because he posted to my blog this evening and said he'd talk to me more at length after he moves. DAMN, I most definitely should NOt be allowed to take meds while blogging! :-)

g'night girl,

At 5:31 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yeah, those spontaneous e-mails can be a bitch. No way to erase them. I've been there too, esp. in my more hypomanic moments.

I've love to get an e-mail from you--while under the influence of Ambien or otherwise.

At 2:21 AM, Blogger ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

Hey woman, :-)

Indeed I emailed you, and I hope you don't think my story sounds TOO stupid. :-) I've had too much wine right about now and am starting to really feel like a TOTAL asshole for having sent the dude that email the other night; how mortifying!!!!! :-)

At 1:32 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Oops--misseed this comment somehow. Well, at this point, methinks everything turned out ok, no?


Post a Comment

<< Home