Best news from the weekend: I am going to see Van Morrison in person on March 6th in Dallas. WoooHooo...good for me.
On occasion part of my career is serving as an expert witness in construction legal cases. I had a ‘bloggable’ experience a few weeks ago, but have never really tried to place it into any sort of cultural context.
I’ll just lay it on you in its raw form and maybe some discussion by wise readers might help me sort it through. I was engaged by a large Baptist church (hired gunslinger on their behalf) and showed up at one of the many ‘litigation discussion’ meetings where the pastor of this rather prominent church was presiding.
After an opening prayer the pastor launched into a critical monologue regarding a story in the newspaper about a large methamphetamine lab that had been ‘busted’ the day before in the church’s city. He ranted and raved some time about ‘drug users’ and their damning activities in the community. Having spent time in law enforcement I don’t disagree at all with the premise of his thinking or the need for eradication of culturally damaging drug use, but as he raved on he was chugging coffee like he needed a much larger cup, then turning to his assistant for more coffee when he did reach the bottom of the ‘too little’ cup. He also made certain she had more pots of coffee brewing as the meeting proceeded.
It seems easy enough to brand him as a hypocrite, but then I think he might just represent the easiest target since so many of us drink coffee or use Nyquil or other depressants in the course of our day. A lot of us have also given the conversational ‘thumbs down’ to drug addicts and drug law breakers.
It makes me wonder, and I know you could see this coming, just exactly what happens if we took the money and ‘illegality’out of illegal drugs. Starbucks seems to be fine with the US government while making a profit selling its acceptable form of ‘stimulant’.
I know this is a dark and confusing area to explore, but it seems obvious that except for an occasional ‘oddball puritan’ we all use some type of substance to alter our basic chemistry every day, just as this pastor was doing; though he remained oblivious to the awkwardly obvious coffee consuming cultural connection to the drug lab he was raving about.
Have you used illegal drugs? What leads a person there rather than just ...oh, say drinking 10 cups of coffee like Pastor Jones?
Here is my thought for what it might be worth. I think there is a connection to ‘breaking the law’ that works in concert with the pharmaceutical effect of the illegal drug.
Another way of saying the same thing: Perhaps some people would choose ‘illegal’ drugs that render the same biological effect as ‘legal’ drugs simply because the act of breaking the law is an added bonus?
A third way to say it; the reward of the drug is intensified by the measure of the risk in arriving at its reward?
Maybe if society were to remove the ‘bonus effect’ ?
Postscript: I spend a lot of my energy training as a track athlete, running in masters track competitions. Recently Ken Stone, a fellow blogger, wrote an inspirational story about a masters track athlete recovering from alcohol and heroin addiction. It may interest you for its 'human' component alone. You can find it here.