"No, Daddy! I don't want to take any more G and let those perverts
have another go at me!"
There was a time in my life when I abhored drugs. They were
the scourge of my junior high school scene. There's few things more
pathetic than a teenage cokehead, alcoholic or perpetual classroom
stoner. The first two tended to flame out after a year or so and
disappear into treatment centers, emerging 45 or 60 days later
uncertain of their ability to survive without their former crutch.
Many of the stoners I knew continued their disaffected lives into
dead-end jobs that fed a greater need for harder escape mechanisms.
Then came college. Nearly everyone I knew was drinking hard
on the weekends and getting stoned three or four nights per week.
Acid and mushrooms were popular after freshman year, with Ecstasy
making its impression on coke-heavy Miami only during my senior year.
The majority of my druggie friends were relatively stable, high-GPA
types who went on to rewarding careers and joyful adventures. This
prepared me pretty well for Northern California, where the story's
much the same.
But for every hundred or so harmless recreational users,
there's always one or two major aberrations. The other night, my
girlfriend and I settled down to watch an HBO show called "Small
Town Ecstasy," which documented the free-fall of a formerly
straight-edge father of four into the glowstick and pacifier world of
rave culture. I'd read several reviews of the show last week, in
which the hip dad was universally depicted as either dangerously
adolescent or clearly in the throes of a mid-life a crisis.
Mainstream press rarely has anything good to say about the lifestyles
of the high and petting, so I took their critiques with a jar of salt.
Sadly, they were right on target.
Stupid druggies always perturb of me. They're fairly easy to
spot. They ignore things like real-life responsibilities and
deadlines, frequently fail basic drug logic tests even when sober, and
can't grasp the idea that drugs sometimes add a great accent to life
but rarely banish the demons from troubled souls. All of those
qualities were embodied in the fatherly subject of this HBO
examination, who not only turned his 13 and 15 year-old kids on to E
at a house party hosted by his 18-year-old son, but who also refused
to leave the drug life after concerted pleas by all four of his kids
that he not risk visitation rights with them due to his E obsession.
Dad even carried on his hard-partying ways even after being arrested
for possession by police who searched his house upon a tip from his
ex-wife. (She learned of the younger kids' dosing by purloining a
letter between siblings.) Clearly, anyone with such disregard for
their kids' safety and wellbeing, as well as their own freedom and
liberty, is an unfit parent.
When he was released from police custody, the film crew asked
Dad about his options. Eerily, Dad listed "suicide" as his
first option, and "cashing in [his] IRA and paying off the lawyers
and fines" as his last alternative. Between those two he also
cited "homicide and suicide," in apparent reference to his
desire to off his bitch wife and avoid life imprisonment for the
crime. Nice thinking, Dad! Way to take that E-depression to the next
level! So much for the love and fluffiness. Or maybe not.
Undeterred by the recent ransacking of his house by bored Calaveras
County Sheriffs, Dad's stated mission upon release was to, "roll
for thee or four days and forget about the entire thing," whereupon
he departed with his 18-year-old boy to the next big dance-n-drug
event in San Francisco. Wow, my hero-nothing stops this guy!
It would have been one thing if E were having a positive
effect on Dad's life. You know, making him more relaxed and
emotionally engaged, allowing him to find a proper life partner, or
even just transforming him into a phat disco Mac daddy. But none of
this happened. Dad's idea of pimp style was an inverted, yellow
Addidas visor, complete with matching t-shirt and grotesque orange
fleece vest. His drug babe appeared to be about half his age and
their relationship seemed more founded on consumptive euphoria than
mutual substantive attraction. As for E making him SuperDaddee, well,
he was more like a supercharged "Kletus the slack-jawed yokel"
than a swingin' Fred McMurray.
While these horrors played out on the screen, I got to thinking
about how I've always been dubious and skeptical of parents who bring
their underage kids to drug orgies and other radical bashes, whether
urban or desert, mountain or prairie. I know some folks like to
introduce their offspring to the wide spectrum of life and let them
decide which is best for them. However, there are also the parents
who want to keep on partying despite the kids, so they bring them
along on the pretense of expanding their horizons. Like it or not,
kids often follow their parents' example and when that example is
getting jaw-clenching, eyelid-drooping, skin-twitching loaded at rave
parties, is this really for the best? Youngsters don't even need to
see mom and/or dad high to follow in the gonzo footsteps. Being
surrounded by hundreds of other drug-imbibing perverts can also leave
a lasting impression or offer convenient access to synapse corruption.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm just flat uncomfortable
engaging in E-inspired groping or role-reversal dildo play in front of
the tykes. At an event this past New Year's Eve, a bunch of my
friends and I were aghast to find gaggles of high schoolers
contaminating the space. Four 15-year-old girls with dilated pupils
followed me incessantly from room to room throughout the night,
slapping my ass and yanking my harness whenever they could. A
chickenhawk may cream over this kind of thing, but I found it
unnerving. Kids need someplace to hang out and have fun and feel
thrills. That place doesn't have to be around me and my ilk.
At the end of the HBO special, the producers documented what had
happened to the Love Daddy and his family since the conclusion of
filming. All of his kids have gone straight. The same can't be said
of dad, who's still tripping the light fantastic every chance he gets.
During the one contrived moment of the special, dad and his elder son
folded laundry while listening to the Harry Chapin classic, "Cat's
In the Cradle". Both openly wept over the identity of the lyrics
to their lives. Looks like sonny got the message. Dad, meanwhile, is
still out there with Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon. When
he comes back down to Earth, pops may find that his stalled possession
case has mutated into something involving multiple felonies, with the
HBO show providing grounds for the new charges.
Many of you hipsters have kids, are contemplating their arrival,
or at least have been to an event where the underage were present.
Wrenching as the "Small Town Ecstasy" show was, I highly
recommend it to anyone involved in the underground party scene. The
multiplicity of lessons that pour forth from this case study are
useful to promoters, attendees, parents (both party and non), dealers,
and even ordinary pedestrians. It takes a village to raise kids right
these days, and every village needs to consider what it has to offer
kids, both wayward and focused.