My P.S.A. for the Day

Do you want to know where it starts? 
I’ll tell you what I know, which does not mean that I know it all. This just means this is what I’ve seen during my time that I spent in the trenches of my crazy life because the rest is history, or so they say. But first it’s a style. This is a culture all to itself.
First, it’s  the attraction. This is the draw to something that leads to an idea of something that takes us away from the silly normalities which you and I call life. This stems from status and the different brands of popularity. This is also what keeps people coming for more. This is why people give samples for free; to pull you in. And this is why people say “Hey, do you want to get high?” because they know you’ll be on the dangle really soon.

At the corners and at the drug spots, this is why the first hit is always free. It’s just a dose. It’s just a little taste of adrenaline. Just a sample. or an entryway. This is a taste of something soft and lofty. It’s just a little preview that sparks the need to see the whole damned show.
And you know that it’s wrong. Of course, you do.
Yet, somehow the ideas in your mind begin to play around with the rules the same way the serpent taunted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Remember?
Adam and Eve were told not to touch the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.
And then what happened?
Adam and Eve were told that one would surely die if they touched the fruit. And the serpent came along and said, “Look, see? You’re still alive.” And that’s how this lifestyle draws you in.

It’s not all about lies or truths. It’s about wanting to touch something. This is about wanting to touch, taste or feel something so unimaginably pure, and yet, there’s nothing pure at all because you know what the Master of the House said. You know what you’ve been told to do. You know the rules. You know what you’ve been told to stay away from.

Hell, back when we were kids, there was a commercial that says, “Just say no!”
Or even better, there was a commercial with a man holding up an egg. The man held up the egg and said, “This is your brain.” Then he cracked the egg open and then spilled the contents into a frying pan and said, “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”

I wondered if anyone honestly saw this as a deterrent. Or, did many of the kids see this as something funny?  Somehow, instead of warning kids to keep off drugs, the commercial enabled the polar opposite. This caused more interest than anything else. 
And who does this affect? Who sees? Who notices? Who wants to feel untouchable and cool, like a rock star on stage? Who wants to be unnoticed and who wants to be seen or heard? Who wants to have a reputation, or to be regarded, even if the regard is because of something forbidden and prohibited?

You hear the warnings a million times. You’ve seen every commercial on television. You’ve heard the news about the effects and the aftermaths. Yet, there is something still cool about this.
There is a voice here. No, wait. There is an answer here. There’s an answer to the ideas in your head which there is no language for.
This is a solution to the riddles, at least for the moment.

Do you want to know why we lose to the war on drugs? We lose because we advertise. We lose because the devil is smart. He knows how to reach us. The demons know what to do. But yet, people die and people still line up like moths to a flame.  You can warn the world, but yet the world will still look to volunteer.

And you say to yourself, “That will never happen to me.”
Or you tell yourself that you can handle it. You lose yourself quickly in the bright lights and glimmer. You lose to the gentle sizzle in your mind because like the egg, this is your brain on drugs and this is the ride.
This is why we pay the cost of admission; to fry, to euthanize our crazy little lives, one brain cell at a time, and to get away, to forget, to feel a rush beneath the flesh and find our own little mental cocoon. This is where we can be safe, numb and protected.
We can laugh here. We can be unconcerned. And to be honest, no one ever expects they’ll become down and out. No one plans to die. Instead, we just give in. We abandon hope and the goodness of life because we are caught in something that has a voice but no face and becomes our reflection.

We all get into this with the best of intentions. We want to feel good. We want to be part of the party so that we can rage and forget ourselves and our pitiful existence as much as humanly possible.
This is a mask we can hide behind. We can play the masquerade and be someone else. If not, at least we can be numb and protected.
We can euthanize our thoughts and become so high or so drunk or so intertwined with the routine that nothing registers anymore. All of the angst and all the anticipation are quiet now. All the anxiety, the pressure, and the arguments can be nullified by something with a “Starry-eyed”.
You wanna get high?
The words are like redemption.

Keep in mind, it’s not what people say. Instead, most of the warnings you’ll hear as a kid are tempting. And the beast doesn’t have to lie. The beast doesn’t have to sell the product because we do all the work.  
How is it that with all the warnings and with all the troubles and the news reports about young deaths and countless lives that have been wasted on substance and alcohol abuse disorders, even still, more and more, we line up like cattle that forfeits to the slaughter. 

Drugs. Know why they work?
They fit a need to feel better. They answer unanswerable questions. They placate the unsolvable riddles and appease the discomforts with a piece of something forbidden. Plus. when it came to me, I saw it all as part of my greatest rebellion. At least, this is how it started. This was a great way to let the music play and dance. And who cared if anyone was watching?
It didn’t matter. My way of living and my actions were like the proverbial middle finger, pointing up at the world. I wanted to feel good. Or even simpler, I needed something to cancel out the irrational ideas. I wanted something to solve the unsettleable ideas that can be merciless at times. 

I never knew how deep I’d sink. I never thought any of the things that happened would ever happen to me. But it does happen. Worse happens. And yet, kids line up like young calves, looking to be the slaughtered veal. I tell you this because this is true.

Is there an answer?
Get them talking.
Value what they say.
Don’t tell them “You’re just a kid.”
And stop feeding the rift.
Learn about depression.
Learn about anxiety.
Let them tell you what’s wrong.
Do not project your life upon theirs.
Remember, to each their own.

Allow people their voice and learn to listen.
Also, if you help someone feel comfortable enough to challenge their assumptions and come to their own realizations, rest assured, this can be life changing.
Above all, don’t be the hero.
Don’t be the know-it-all.
Listen, encourage, learn and support and at all points possible, seek professional help.
(Even when you think you’re the professional.)
There’s help out there. 

Find it now because remember, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Or in our case, it takes a village to save one.

For my friend GLC

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