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Yes, but will it get me high?

April 20, 2008

Do you feel … do you feel like ….?

A veritable cadre over at A.V. Club have pooled their amazing geek powers to compile for us a list of drugs—great and not-so-great—that never were. From Star Trek‘s synthehol and Huxley’s soma to Substance D, banana peels, and even jenkem—who remembers jenkem?—the good folks at A.V. Club have dredged up these legendary highs, or in the case of synthehol, mild buzzes, so that you don’t have to. Now you can be the life of the party when someone camps on a crappy joint rolled of roadside weed eight weeks out of Tijuana, you can crack ’em up and knock ’em down with snappy one-liners like, “Hey, man, don’t bogart that jenkem!”

4. Jenkem, urban legend

In the mid-1990s, a few sensational news stories reported that street urchins in Lusaka, Zambia, were congregating around sewage ponds in order to gather fecal matter for fermentation, so they could huff the reportedly intoxicating gases. By late 2007, jenkem (as the disgusting mixture was called) was the new reefer madness in American high schools. The Collier County, Florida police put out a stern official bulletin about its dangers, and at least one newspaper in Alabama picked up on the reports and got “confirmation” from their local law-enforcement that local kids were getting high on poop juice. But upon closer examination, no one had actually witnessed anything other than students talking big on the playground and passing rumors; the official descriptions of jenkem’s effects in the Collier County bulletin had been drawn from a prank Internet posting. If jenkem proves one thing, it’s that relatively well-off American wastoids can find more pleasant ways to get their kicks than breathing in compost. If it proves two things, it’s that our vigilant sheriffs are ready to believe the worst. “We’ve heard that this was something students were doing, and it sounds crazy, but don’t think they’re not doing it here,” said Alabama narcotics investigator Neal Bradley. With such ironclad proof, expect the D.A.R.E. curriculum to include jenkem warnings next semester.

What’s scary is that I recall hearing of jenkem in the new century, too. As if the rumors flared up like a hemorrhoid . Or maybe after all this time of spreading the rumor, law enforcement woke up one morning to discover that someone had actually figured out how to get high on shit.

Wasn’t this in an X-Files episode? “War of the Coprophages”? You know, the “cockroach” episode? “Dude, that’s some good crap!”

I mean, it’s amazing some of the things you hear about drugs, especially when you’re young and just starting out. Horseshit in the weed, and who knows? It’s possible as long as you’re stuck buying the dirt coming up from Mexico and southern Calif—

Whoops. Okay, look, it’s just that I live like two thousand miles away, so when someone tells me it’s coming up from San Diego, no. I don’t really want it. In fact, I was trying to explain something like that to a Lo-Cal transplant whose … um … sister … I think … is marrying, um … well, this guy I know. At any rate, I think that’s the deal. But he’s just this goofy, happy-go-strangely straight-laced guy who, you know, isn’t into mind-bending substances, but gets a little rush out of being able to talk the talk with the people who do.

So, anyway, it was just a poker game, and while, on the one hand, I would destroy him in a single hand, he bought back in later in the evening and ended up winning the table because the rest of us were fatigued after having traded money all night. I mean, really, though. Who the hell expects sixes over threes? I really thought he’d get the message and drop the hand when I went all in. It was the first hand of tournament play. What? What are you supposed to do when you hit a full house on the flop and a guy holding the other six is raising you on three of a kind?

But I digress. And I thank you. I really had to get that one off my chest, because I couldn’t look him in the eye for like twenty minutes. He took it so hard, you know. And I can’t say whether or not his future brother in law threw that last hand to give him the table. Really. It was a bizarre night. Even without the drugs.

The thing is, though, when the glass pipe and the bag of weed finally came out, he was amazed. Apparently he’d never seen anything bigger than an eighth bag. I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I was reveling in the gorgeous scent of a pretty, pretty ounce. But he said something, and to be honest, I can’t possibly remember through the purple-gray haze what, exactly, it was, but I ended up explaining to him that he was in Seattle (okay, a couple of towns south, but in this context it makes very little difference).

Oh, damn! La Eme. That’s what it was. The Chicano gangsters. Right. Okay, that was the thing. So I was explaining to him that up here we don’t go any farther south than Humboldt County, and that’s fairly rare. We have a lot of local growers, and then there’s the Canadian dope, so the worst we have to put up with is a bunch of bikers you never meet. You know, trying to explain to him that there is this not quite invisible line between the cool, easygoing hippies who will always be willing to sell you a bag and the businessmen who supply them. It’s an interesting contrast, to say the least. I’ve always acquired through people I get along with. I’ve never bought from the biker, the gangster, or the rancher with the rifle and an attitude problem.

Great. So that’s my digression.

Notably absent from the A.V. Club list, though, is cat urine. And if you have to ask, you probably don’t want to know. Just expect that sometime over the next several years, you’re likely to hear about some idiot kid somewhere whose friends convinced him to try. You’d do better trying to smoke the damn cat.

-bd

(Happy 4/20. Oh, and good luck, Edwin!)

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