Last night I attended a meeting at our local school. It was part of a larger program put on by the police to teach parents how to prevent their kids from using drugs when they get older.
My personal objective was to make it through the night without making any inappropriate jokes that would embarrass my wife. It was a narrow escape.
Let me tell you, there are some situations where it is physically painful to be me. There was one point in the program where I think I ruptured a spleen trying to keep the jokes in. It came during the module on methamphetamines.
A parent asked why anyone would take meth, given all the downside risk and side effects. One of the policemen answered that meth releases 50 times more serotonin in the brain than an orgasm. Then they showed a before and after picture that looked a lot like this one:
So I’m sitting there, doing the calculations in my head: Okay, that’s 4.5 years of meth use, once a day, 365 days in a year, 50 times more serotonin than an orgasm…that’s the equivalent of 80,000 orgasms.
On the downside, your teeth rot out, your skin itches until you scratch it off, you vomit, have withdrawals, possibly burn down the neighborhood, and roll around in your own filth while your life becomes a living Hell. And there is the jail thing.
Still, 80,000 orgasms…
I wanted to raise my hand while the “before and after” pictures were up and ask, “Isn’t that what anyone would look like after 80,000 orgasms?”
Or maybe, “So, on balance, you’re saying it’s totally worth it? Or am I doing the math wrong?”
But I didn’t. I listened for two and a half hours and tried my best to avoid looking like I had any of the telltale symptoms of hardcore addiction the policemen kept describing. I’m highly suggestible, so this was difficult. When they talked about the uncontrollable fidgeting, I realized I was fidgeting. When they talked about red eyes, I felt as if all the moisture in mine had evaporated. When they talked about the teeth grinding, I had an uncontrollable impulse to grind mine. I took deep breaths and tried to meditate so my pulse wouldn’t be too high – a sure sign of ecstacy use. I don’t think I was alone. The audience looked like a warehouse of mannequins by the end of the night. No one wanted to be a conspicuous fidgeter.
Then there was the bad guessing. The policeman would hold up a bag of one sort of drug or another and ask if anyone knew how much it would cost. No one wanted to nail the estimate on the first guess and have the drug dogs tearing out the upholstery in their minivan five minutes later. I was planning my own bad estimates in case I got called on. It would have gone something like this: “That looks like about a pound of cocaine, so I’m guessing it would be worth nine or ten dollars on the street. Am I close?”
I managed to get through the night without embarrassing myself, and without getting strip searched. I even got a free cookie, which spiked my blood glucose level and gave me a mild high, but I couldn’t enjoy it.