My Odyssey With 'The Devil's Dandruff'
Citation:   Popshot. "My Odyssey With 'The Devil's Dandruff': An Experience with Cocaine (exp1643)". Jul 10, 2001.

  repeated inhaled Cocaine (powder / crystals)
I've always had an interest in psychoactives. As a teenager, while other boys were exploring sports and forging vernal heterosexual relationships, I was reading Carlos Castaneda & Aldous Huxley! At present, I am 37, and am proud to say that I have been Clean & Sober for over 6 mos. now: I don't use anything stronger than Zoloft. During my teens and twenties I experimented with a wide variety of narcotics and stimulants and hallucinogens, both pharmacological and botanical, so I have a pretty broad experiential base of using psychotropes of every stripe. No-one knows better than I just how malleable what we call 'personality' and 'consciousness' are. While, philosophically, I do not believe that one's awarenesses are purely a solipsism, I am however, convinced that we humans project-- in the Freudian sense-- a lot of shit of our own onto the quanta out there. As the Gnostics urged, 'Knowing Thyself' truly is the most exigent overarching life task for each of us during this long, strange trip we call Life.

Now. About coke. Or 'cola', as we initiates used to call it. If we called it 'cola', we could allude to it casually and safely in telephone-and grocery store conversations with our eavesdroppers supposed to be none-the-wiser; we could be talking about stockpiling soft drink for all they knew.

I first tried coke in Las Vegas in 1993, when I was 20 years old. I had befriended the piano player of a MAJOR R&B diva, and, after a sellout concert at one of the Strip's big casinos, he took me backstage to party with other Vegas showbiz types. At 20, I was already a connoisseur of the finest pot, had dabbled in 'shrooms & morning glory seeds, and had ingested capsules of amphetamine at late-night discos. So, I was surprised to find that the two lines of coke I snorted here did absolutely nothing for me! I remember my right leg feeling numb or something, and my lips, too, but that was it.

Then, for many years, it never crossed my path. Later, when I was 35, I was working as a musician & standup act in a nightclub. My buddies, the bartenders and waiters in the club, showed me their trick for appearing chirpy and responsive to customers all night long without flagging: 'cola'.

Oh. My. God. that was it! I knew thenceforth that it was 'my' drug of choice. I began using it prior to performances. I had read that Lenny Bruce and other comedians had sworn by coke to enhance their onstage patter. And it was true, I discovered: on coke-- at least during the 'honeymoon phase' of my usage-- I was fast, funny and furious. After an initial brief spate of chills and slight sweating and 'butterflies', I would mellow out the coke with a shot or two of Jack Daniel's or Campari. And then, was I in the groove! 'Riding the train'. 'Banging the gong'. (incidentally, did you know that 'banging a gong' is old 1930's Harlem jazzbo slang for tooting coke? And you thought T. Rex was singing about sex or something)

And, by God, I was funny! My audiences, which usually numbered between 60--100 people, confirmed this with their riotous laughter, giving the lie, I realized, to the 1960's right-wing pooh-pooh that the artistic inspirations the Beatnik imagines himself to be having on drugs are embarrassingly illusory and fatuous. Wired on coke, I found I could more easily stay that hair's breadth ahead of the audience's own mental processes-- essential to maintaining ascendancy in the psychic tug-of-war that is standup comedy.

And coke, as any user will tell you, makes you speak more frankly (also essential to good comedy). Some dam of inhibition is sundered, and you feel just great about discussing the intimate crannies of your sexuality, for instance, with relative strangers. It feels surprisingly, refreshingly good to do so, and your listeners are often dazzled and impressed by your candor-- that is, unless they are tooted up, too, and are racing ahead on their own juggernaut of conversational clouds.

I quickly learned why coke was the preferred drug of choice during the 1970's New York, Studio 54 years: coke can be glamorous. For one, it's prep and usage can be enhanced with various aesthetic accoutrements, such as a 24-carat-gold, or glass, nasal straw-let; or mysterious little amber or cobalt glass apothecaries; coy little neck pendant/caches, or sexy, lozenge-shaped, beveled coffee-table mirrors. I loved the ritual of it all, which could be conducted in someone's den, or sexily and surreptitiously in a disco bathroom. Coke was slick, urbane, grown-up, not stinky, gothic-dark and teenage-suburban, like pot-smoking.

And coke makes one FEEL glamorous, like the sloe-eyed, cafe' society celebrities sullenly, panchromatically, frozen in the fawning white flash of a Warhol halftone.

How can I best describe the feeling of a good coke high to someone unfamiliar with it? Like this: it's like living, real-time, in a Hollywood movie. Have you noticed how, in a movie, only the salient and dramatic moments of a character's story are spliced together? You never, for example, have to slog through the onscreen character's having to clip his toenails or pay bills or pop a blackhead, or listen to long interstices of silence in the ramble of a desultory conversation. Thus is reality for the Coked: life is poetry: accelerated, shined, tweaked, pruned of its prosaic, pedestrian footage. Every utterance you or your fellow stonees make seems to be sharp, dramatic, witty, encapsulated-- jjust like movie dialogue. Little transitional moments disappear: you find yourself engaged in group chatter one moment, then looking into their bathroom mirror the next, just like in an elegant film edit. Above all, there is an immanent thrill in your loins that SOMETHING exciting-- one doesn't know quite WHAT-- is going to HAPPEN. ANY second now. (It often never does, but one is not swayed.)

What I didn't know about coke at the time I began using it frequently (up to an 8-ball a day), is that coke usage has A VERY PREDICTABLE TRAJECTORY of effect in the habitual user, that is consistent from user to user, from country to country. In other words, scientists know what it's going to do to you if you stay with it over a certain amount of time.

There is the so-called initial 'honeymoon phase' of coke usage, in which every toot opens curtains on a shining, stimulating, funny evening. But gradually, the dopamine neurochemistry in one's brain begins to erode, exacerbated, surely, by the accompanying lack of sleep and inconsistent nutrition of the frequent user. The effects of coke change imperceptibly from euphoria, mirth, concupiscence & excitement, to irritability, inability to concentrate, and then eventually...(drum roll, please)... PARANOIA.

NO drug can produce a paranoia quite like cocaine can. On pot, you wondered if your mommy & daddy might catch you toking; on acid, you wondered if you'd ever sleep again; but on coke you begin to be convinced that SOMEBODY'S WATCHING YOU, LISTENING TO YOUR EVERY WORD, EVEN PLUGGED INTO YOUR INNER THOUGHTS AND IDEATIONS, ALL THE TIME. Whomever you deem to be Big Brother: your folks, the local police, the Feds, the Narcs, the military/industrial complex, the Mafia, the FBI, the CIA, the Rand Corporation, Madison Avenue, Scotland Yard, the KGB, Interpol & Deutschebank-- surely they have tracked you down, the deviant miscreant that you are, using their latest supersonic, high-tech, laser/ultrasound, infrared/ultraviolet espionage/surveillance devices.

Suddenly, the coke user has no doubt that the TV's inocuous flicker is really filled with a persistent, subliminal meta-stream of thought-impregnating propaganda; one is sure that the TV screen itself secretly doubles as a Jetson-esque camera, with Men In Black analyzing your every eyeblink, monitoring your coked-up masturba-thons in front of porn videos. Everything is a vast conspiracy to EXPOSE YOU, CATCH YOU, NAIL YOU, BUST YOU, pin you down and scrutinize you like a cockroach.

As paranoia begins to colour every moment of the coke user's life, stranger behaviour creeps in: for instance, sure that the world beyond my house was intent on spying on me, I bought yards and yards of black rayon fabric, and tacked up bizarre, addams-family-looking curtains over EVERY window and EVERY door (even electrical outlet!!) of my house.

I would find myself spending long moments gazing furtively out my windows, scanning the lawn, trees and street for flickers of human or mechanical movement. At one point, I became convinced that a bird chirping in a nearby tree, was really a Tiki-Room-style clockwork, his chattering wooden bill programming me with encrypted commands from the military. My pupils, dazed and dilated from drug and insomnia, started to produce will-o'-the-wisp lights twinkling in the dark peripheries, which I mistook for camera flashes from some unnamed, yet zealous, inimical paparazzi.

It is at this time, that I began to feel a stifling, anxious self-awareness, whose only balm was for me to crawl under my bedclothes, pulling the covers over my head till the unnameable fears subsided, The Enemy retreated.

During this phase of coke use, the sniffer rarely feels pleasure anymore: at morning's first toot he launches IMMEDIATELY into the grey-blue grip of The Big P. The user is now buying larger quantities of coke, and more frequently, but finding that the resultant intolerable paranoia is tweaking his conscience to flush the remaining expensive powder down the bathroom sink, and hide all the single-eged razor blades and demi-snipped peppermint-striped Dairy queen straws.

It is at this phase that the coke user KNOWS he is addicted, and is not sure what to do about it. If he is lucky--as I was-- he will have trusted people in his life who will tolerate the hallucinations and delusions and support him in kicking this pernicious, diabolical habit.

When you finally DO kick coke, be prepared for a month or two of monstrous depression and anhedonia (inability to find pleasure in any life pursuit or activity), and maybe a colossal weight gain. In my case, I took up smoking like Patsy Stone on ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. I later read that nicotine tickles the same 'pleasure centers' of the brain that coke does.

Do I regret my two-year 'coke phase'?

No. All of life's experiences are valuable learning experiences. 'non, je ne regrette rien'

Exp Year: 2000ExpID: 1643
Gender: Not Specified 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: Jul 10, 2001Views: 133,801
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Cocaine (13) : Addiction & Habituation (10), Glowing Experiences (4), Retrospective / Summary (11), Various (28)

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