Hey, man, it’s your hit

By the end of the summer, I start to crave the community at PSUand want to go back to school.

Then school starts. Oh, sure, the first week is fine. Classesare in “getting to know each other” mode and nothing major isexpected of anyone. And the people – there are so many people toget to know. Female people, lots of them. Everywhere.

Every fall I make a sincere commitment to read every last wordassigned on my syllabi and to meet nude – I mean, new people.

But it’s the third week and the buzz is completely gone. Sure,I’ve talked to a few female students, but I have a girlfriend – whoam I kidding? And I’m already behind by a whole book in eachclass.

So I’ve been asking myself the same questions I ask every fall:”What am I doing here?” “Is it too late to become a theater major?””How much have I actually borrowed?” And: “What am I going to dowith my life?”

For most college students, the answer is: party! Which means:I’m going to drink until I forget what planet I’m on.

Yes, escape often seems to be the only answer. But I don’t drinkanymore. I used to drink a lot. Every time I got drunk I would endup doing something demoralizing, usually naked, often outside andalmost always alone.

So I quit. And I don’t miss it. Being sober has its privileges:I don’t get hangovers, I don’t forget what happened the nightbefore, and I don’t have sex with ugly people anymore.

I also quit drugs. I had too many problems there, too.Memory problems, mostly. I was convinced for years that I had ADD:an issue that went away when I quit smoking pot, and I…

But I’m going to assume that a lot of college students do drink.And drug. I’m not endorsing said behavior, but I’m not going torain on your parade just because I’ve quit being “bad.”

College is a time of experimentation, a time of wonder. It’salso a time to learn stuff, but it’s mostly a time to do thingswithout adult supervision.

Enter AWOL. No, it’s not an army thing. It’s a British thing.And soon it could be an American thing.

AWOL stands for Alcohol Without Liquid. It’s a new device thatallows drinkers to inhale alcohol, which is vaporized by a diffusercapsule that is connected to an oxygen pipe. The oxygen bubblesthen rise up through the capsule, absorbing the alcohol, and areinhaled through a tube. The booze goes straight to the brain,bypassing the stomach and liver, reducing the chances of ahangover, and is calorie-free.

Too good to be true?

Well, yes. Some experts are calling the machines “diabolical”and are warning that AWOL could cause serious brain damage. Butthese “experts” are not college students.

Where can you find AWOL? The company is still looking fordistribution in the United States. Yet New York has alreadyproposed a ban on the machines. And North Carolina says that AWOLis technically “huffing,” which is illegal. You might see themachines here on the West Coast first. The Department of AlcoholicBeverage Control in California regulates drinks, not “devices,” andwill not oversee AWOL. Oregon may not be far behind.

Is AWOL the new answer to the Back-to-School blues? Probablynot. There are plenty of other things you can inhale to causeeuphoria and brain damage.

Or you could do what I do: free therapy at the Student HealthCenter (my second appointment was yesterday).

A word of caution fellow PSU-ers: inhale responsibly and neverdrive if you’ve been AWOL-ing.

If I’ve learned anything in my first thirty-three years onplanet earth, it’s this: You don’t need alcohol, drunken, inhaled,or snorted, or any other drug for that matter, to get up the nerveto talk to someone you’ve got the hots for.

And do your homework. After all, you’re paying for this.