When I sat down for my 10 a.m. class last week, I did not expect my teacher to be high.
But she was, and she told us this very early in the class. She was a little wackier than usual, a little flakier around the edges. She rambled off on a tangent for a while, and then informed us of her intoxication.
Sudafed, she said – lots of it.
I felt sorry for her that she had a head cold. I am sure many people in the class were glad that she was medicated and less likely to pass her sickness on to her students, but the medicine she was on impaired her ability to do her job.
This was a joke for most of the class. We spent a few minutes comparing the buzz of Sudafed with the buzz of NyQuil, and someone piped up that Adderall was the best buzz he’d ever had.
Hardy-har. We all laughed it up. Everybody’s fucked up – I’m guzzling caffeine, right there in class, the girl next to me pops her asthma medication, and one way or another everybody is high.
Not just in class – everywhere. The bank teller I saw later that day was on Claritin. The security guard was taking hydrocodone for his back. The truck driver outside takes Percocet, Vicodin and Viagra every day.
Drug use has become normal in our culture. People take drugs for every ailment from diarrhea to dehydration, from depression to diphtheria. And this is all perfectly legal, even if it turns you into a substandard version of yourself.
These drugs are legal, unlike marijuana and cocaine, because they have “medicinal value.” In order to gain the medicinal benefits, which are the primary cause of taking the drug, the user must deal with intoxication as a side effect. If anyone were to take a drug with intoxication as the goal, the drug would be called “recreational.”
And who needs recreational drugs, when there’s probably something wrong with you, anyway?
Pill pushers, those in the pharmaceutical industry, have enabled themselves to become the arbiters of the public health. Their drugs are legal, and profitable, due to the allegiance of the FDA. Many of the FDA commissioners have significant holdings in pharmaceutical stock. It is in their personal financial interests to make sure that the pill pushers are making a profit.
Besides, what is the alternative? Should I really expect my teacher to stay at home, just because she is sick? No! These miracle drugs are what enable our happy workers to go to work even when they are unable to work. They may be spacey, dizzy, lightheaded, forgetful and incapable of operating heavy machinery safely, but they will still function better than if they were sneezing all the time. That’s why drugs work.
So what if my class is a little unfocused for one day? The teacher still showed up. So what if the bank teller can’t count the money correctly to the penny? It’s better than being short staffed. So what if the security guard isn’t fully alert? So what if the truck driver isn’t watching all of his mirrors? Isn’t a substandard worker better than no worker at all?
I’m going to say … no. If someone is sick, they should stay at home. They should not show up to work under the influence of drugs. We do not allow this under any other circumstances, but we are somehow able to rib each other when we show up doped up on codeine after a dental appointment.
Tell someone you still have a buzz from the fatty blunt you hit last night and you’ll get fired. But come into work still giddy from nitrous oxide, or numb from codeine, and it’s hilarious!
Hardy-har. This would be a lot funnier if I was high right now, like the rest of you.
Chaelan MacTavish can be reached at [email protected].