DoseNation Podcast

Weekly news, talk, and interviews. More »


· Articles
· Gear
· Interviews
· News
· Reviews
Drugs are Cool, You May Not Be

James Kent

Is it logical to blame a drug for the stupidity of humans, or do drugs continue to get a bad rap simply because of the assholes who use them?

I'M SICK SICK SICK of all the propaganda and I can't take it anymore. Something must be said. Self-serving politicians and their hog-tied corporate conspirators have done a foul injustice to the reputation of one of the finest pleasures humans can experience: Drugs. Yes I'm talking about drugs, those vilified, demon-seed, baby-killing, life-thieving bastards that loom over our collective consciousness like Satan, Cancer, and the Grim Reaper himself. The 'powers that be' would have you believe that drugs are bad Bad BAD, not to be seen, heard, touched, or even talked about lest you succumb to their evil ways. They will take you down! They will ruin your life! Just look at what they did to poor Robert Downey Jr., he's on Ally McBeal now!

We poke fun, but in a way they are right: Drugs are bad. Anyone remember Shannon Hoon? Okay, bad example. Anyone remember River Phoenix? Of course you remember River Phoenix. And why? Because River Phoenix was cool (and for those of you who think Shannon Hoon was cool we remember him fondly as that tripped-out dude in the dancing bee-girl video). River Phoenix was cool but the drugs that killed him were bad bad BAD! They're evil! They ruin lives! They're... Wait a minute. Is it the drugs that were bad, or was it River Phoenix who was bad? Did drugs overdose themselves on Sunset Boulevard (or in the back of a tour bus)? Did drugs stumble into the wrong house and fall asleep on a stranger's bed? Of course not. People did those things. Sure, you can blame drugs for these pop-star travesties, but last time I checked drugs don't take themselves. In order to be effective drugs must be taken by someone, and unfortunately the people taking drugs are sometimes assholes.

Are you following me here?

Now I know what you're thinking, how can I imply that drugs are cool when they kill people? Well what if I said Porche Roadsters were cool, would you agree? It doesn't matter because Porsche Roadsters are cool, everyone knows that. Just because assholes like James Dean lose control and splatter themselves all over a highway doesn't mean we should all be denied the luxury of driving such a fine high-performance automobile. The same thing goes for drugs. The vast majority of people who use drugs are cool, and they use drugs because drugs are cool. Anyone who says drugs are not cool only does so because: a) they're lying; b) they haven't done drugs themselves; or c) (and most importantly) they are not cool themselves. I can't stress this last point enough. The first two reasons, as heinous and ignorant as they may seem, are at least somewhat forgivable. But for someone who is most decidedly not cool to bad-mouth the things that are cool, well that's just morally reprehensible. If someone says drugs are 'not cool' then they don't understand what 'cool' is in the first place. They probably think Republicans are cool too.

So how do we know for sure that drugs are cool? First of all they make you feel cool, so that's a good indicator right there. Secondly, drugs often give people cool thoughts and inspire people to create cool things. There must be some kind of connection there, right? Also, the way drugs work is cool — they are like little electro-chemical filters for altering your mood, perception, and consciousness. They open your range of feeling and emotion, and let you experience new levels of human existence in the comfort of your own home. They can deliver insight and euphoria, and will take you through tours of wondrous heavens and unimaginable hells. Now you have to admit, that's pretty damn cool.

Secondly, we must also consider the essence and origins of 'cool'. As a little experiment, please take a moment to picture in your mind cool people, cool works of art or music, or any social events that define 'cool' (and if you say 'Fonzie' I will slap you). After you have done that, expand your search to include everything you would call groovy, funky, ill, fresh, dope, down, def, or phat (if it is also 'chillin' or 'da bomb' you get bonus points). Now consider these cultural icons that you've just conjured for yourself — these avatars of cool — and tell me, do they have anything in common? Is it drugs? Well I'm shocked.

I'm not sure anyone knows precisely why drugs are cool, but they are. I'm inclined to blame Jazz — the birth of cool — and the fact that most (if not all) early Jazz musicians were notorious for being high on a lot more than 'the Jazz'. But that's just the point, drugs are intimately entwined with the creation of cool. Maybe cool people are just drawn to drugs, or maybe drugs help people get in touch with their inner cool. Either way, drugs were and are instrumental in the artistic evolution of the Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll, Disco, Hip-Hop, House, and whatever the next cool movement will be. Whenever there's a new cultural explosion you can be pretty sure that drugs are the hidden cool culprits behind the scenes. They are like coolness divining rods, magical radioactive enablers of cool...

Admittedly, there has always been a certain danger to coolness, a kind of anti-establishment bad-boy mystique that typifies the essence of cool. Living on the wild side is pretty much a prerequisite for being cool. Being able to break social boundaries while maintaining the style and attitude to get away with it is almost the very definition of cool. So how can drugs not fit into that picture? They are a perfect match for the cool lifestyle. If you're looking for a senseless act of social rebellion what could be easier than taking drugs? Most cool people will just naturally wind up experimenting with drugs at some point in their life, it is inevitable. If you are cool then other cool people will seek you out and want to do drugs with you. It is a fact. The only question is, will you continue to be cool or will you become an asshole?

The major problem with drugs being so cool is that a lot of uncool people are attracted to them, even assholes. Yes, drugs seem to attract obnoxious, angry, annoying, lonely, depressed, self-indulgent, self-obsessed losers that desperately want to be cool at any price. These are the kind of users that take drugs — any drug — for the sole purpose of being cool, yet often only become more of an asshole. This is the type of individual most people envision when they think of a problem drug users — strung out, sketchy, alienated, creepy, always looking to 'score'... And then there are assholes who become dealers not to spread the cool vibes, but because they want to be all gangsta' and shit. They think hustling automatically makes them cool, but it's just the opposite. They become just another asshole trying to cash in on a jones. Here's a tip: Avoid these people at all costs! They are NOT COOL, they are trouble. They give drugs a bad name. They are assholes. Even if you happen to be standing near one you may become an asshole by sheer association.

And now for some Q & A

Can a drug-free person be cool? Yes they can, but it is rare. Drug-free people are (on average) just a little too bland, uptight, or religious to be called cool. Either that or they're total hardcore straight-edgers. There's no in-between. There are many drug-free people who are perfectly nice, smart, talented, kind, good-hearted, fun, quirky, etc., but calling them cool would be a stretch. The exception to this rule is people who are drug-free/recovering or people who consciously choose to be sober and opt for radical non-chemical drug substitutes like rebellious music, extreme sports, tattoos, piercing, and/or trepanation.

Will taking drugs make me cool? No. Unfortunately drugs do not work for everyone, and there is no guarantee that drugs will work for you. There may be insurmountable personal defects which will always keep you from becoming cool no matter how hard you try or how many drugs you take. If this is the case you must simply accept the fact that you are uncool and go with it into full anti-cool, or severely risk moving straight past cool into deep asshole territory.

Can someone be cool and an asshole at the same time? No, they cannot. You can be many things in life — sweet, boring, laid-back, average, flakey, annoying, hard-ass, harmless — but it is impossible to be both cool and an asshole at the same time (except maybe for the Jack Nicholson exception). Cool and asshole exist at complete opposite ends of the personality spectrum. You can, however, be cool your entire life and then suddenly, tragically, turn into an asshole almost instantaneously. Unfortunately the opposite rarely happens.

How can I tell the cool people from the assholes? Okay, here are a few pointers: Cool people don't piss themselves in public; Cool people don't recklessly endanger the lives of others; Cool people don't get wasted and vent their aggression on strangers and/or loved ones; Cool people don't lie, steal, or degrade themselves to feed their addiction; Cool people don't lead high-speed police chases; Cool people don't get strung out and let drugs consume their lives; Cool people don't collapse on the pavement from their own excess; and most importantly, cool people don't ever, ever choke on their own vomit.

Are all drugs cool? Yes, but some drugs are far more dangerous and addictive than others. Find out for yourself which drugs are safe and which are risky before diving in, and always be cautious when trying a new drug. A powerful drug (like heroin) in the hands of an asshole is an accident waiting to happen, so make sure you have the facts and know what to expect before doing something you may regret.

Is being cool as cool as people say it is? No. Just like everything else in life coolness is highly overrated. If your sole goal in life is to be cool then you can be fairly sure that you are uncool and may even be an asshole. Coolness is not a goal or an ambition, and you can't practice being cool. Coolness is a state of mind. You are either cool or you're not, and doing drugs just to be cool very rarely works. Most likely you'll end up an asshole.

I'm cool, will I like drugs? Undoubtedly. Find some cool people to do them with and you'll be in the pink. Make sure you can trust the people you are with, and don't be in a hurry to try too much all at once. Remember, cool people will never pressure you to do something you don't want to, so keep a close eye out for the assholes — they're everywhere.

[editor's note: the preceding article is satire.]

Tags : psychedelic
Rating : Teen - Drugs
Posted on: 2001-09-17 00:00:00