What kind of world do we live in?

Today, I went into a drug store to buy an eyedropper. I have been experimenting with adding essential oils to my paper to add scent, but the oils are so potent that I have to be very careful or I smell up the whole basement and all the paper in the room (as well as half the house.) An eyedropper would help, I thought.

Unfortunately, the drugstores downtown no longer stock eyedroppers. It seems that eyedroppers are often used in the manufacture and/or distribution of meth-amphetamines. It's kind of surreal when you think about it. Eyedroppers? What's next? Will it become illegal to live in a house with a kitchen in it because stoves can be used to cook meth?

I know that meth is bad and dangerous and disfiguring. I know that stupid people who decide to try to make it themselves often end up blowing themselves and/or their neighbors up. These are bad things. I can't argue with that. But, where is the line? If meth is so dangerous, deadly and disfiguring, why don't we just let people who want it have access to all they want, so they will kill themselves off and get out of the gene pool? I'm all for giving people the rope they need to hang themselves if that's what they want to do.

I may sound like I'm being cruel, but really I'm just bitter. I don't do drugs. I don't steal. I try to treat other people the way I would like to be treated. I am, in general, a good citizen. Yet, every morning I have the option — while waiting for the bus — of standing outside with the smokers, drug dealers and addicts or going inside and being harassed by the security guards at Century Square. I never see them harass the drug dealers standing RIGHT OUTSIDE. I am fair game, however, because I'm small and harmless. They can chase me out for not buying anything that day (even though I spend an insane percentage of my income in Border's every month), but they won't go near the dealers. Except, perhaps, to buy.

I believe that, as a culture, we don't really want to fix the problems. We get some kind of prurient pleasure out of watching other people suffer. Do a google search for “faces of meth.” Check out all the YouTube variations on that theme. We LIKE seeing people all messed up. It makes us feel better about our own lousy lives. This seems especially true for people in dead-end jobs like pharmacy clerks and mall security guards.

Making laws which force people to show ID and sign a notebook to buy cold medicine makes us feel superior, like we're doing something. The clerks can act all proud and holier-than-thou when they tell people they can't buy eyedroppers any more. But as far as I can tell, new stories are still popping up with the same frequency. Stories about people disfigured by meth or people who died the very first time they tried it because they wandered off into the snow and froze to death.

When I was a kid, there was a movie called “Desparate Lives.” In it, a teenager cracks up after taking home-made pcp and jumps out a window. I was a teen-ager at the time, and I thought that movie was the most retarded thing I had ever seen. The general theme of the movie was that every kid was doing drugs and every school was having kids die and kill themselves right and left because of the rampant, over-the-top drug craze.

I knew, however, that I personally had never done drugs, nor had anyone ever offered to sell or give me drugs, nor had I ever been abused or teased or marginalized as a result of not doing drugs. I also knew that some of the kids in my school did “drugs” of some kind, but I had no idea what kind. Still, I never saw anyone at school tripping out, hallucinating, or running amok. One girl did get suspended for drinking alcohol on campus.

Even though I knew these things, by the time I graduated from high school, I had the vague impression that everyone was doing drugs except me. I wondered what was wrong with me that none of my friends had ever asked me to join them in their drug frenzies. I kid you not. I was depressed because no one had ever tried to sell me drugs. Kids are very susceptible to peer pressure. If our “community service” ads have as their first principle mission to convince all kids that all other kids are doing drugs, what do you think that's going to do to the number of kids doing drugs? Luckily, I was smart enough to snap out of it and realize what a stupid git I was being before I ran out looking for someone to sell me drugs, but I was also very sheltered and very steeped in strict religious beliefs from birth which would have kept me from trying drugs purely out of the fear of burning in hell for all eternity, if for no other reason. I can't imagine what effect all those ads were having on some of my more impressionable classmates.

Of course, Bush is out to increase funding for useless drug ads , so we can get even more kids to think they're the only ones not doing it. Lovely.

All I wanted was an eyedropper. sheesh.

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