Comedy / The Wild East magazine
My friend and I wanted to get high, but didn’t know any dealers. So we walked into a Tokyo Drugstore – that’s a promising name, for starters – to see what kind of over-the-counter goodies we could score without a prescription.
I knew the Beat writers used to get high on ‘bennies’, which apparently was related to Benzedrine, cough-syrup related stuff. Kerouac banged out his ‘On the Road’ in a few weeks, on an alcohol- and bennie-fuelled binge, using one continuous scroll to avoid having to change the paper on his typewriter. I wondered if I could score something similar, anything that could be cooked up or otherwise ingested to attain my own heightened state of consciousness.
I walked in, first taking in the massive array of drugs for sale to anyone who put up the cash for them on the surrounding store shelves. A diffident man in a white lab coat asked if he could be of assistance.
Why yes, hopefully! I first asked about cold medicine, indicating I might be coming down with a sore throat, but he mainly suggested painkillers and sleep medicine, when the last thing I wanted was a ‘downer’ or to get a good night’s rest.
No, right now I needed something more speedy, something like the housewives of the 1950s took to get them doing all the housework in one fell swoop. Then I asked him about anti-depressants, something for my alleged “depression.” I may look happy and healthy, but to him I might be very capable of hiding all the pain in my life. He said that normally you need a prescription from a doctor.
“Don’t you have any little anti-depressants?” I gently enquired.
He said they had something that started with “fluoro –,” and then said to wait, he’d show me what they had – and came back with some Prozac!
Yes, that will do. How much? 100nt? Okay, that’s like $3 bucks. For sure, I’ll take that!
“Thanks!” I told him, and made my way to the cashier thinking, Bingo! Yes! Rock n’ roll.
My friend and I went back to his place, triumphantly, with my new stache. He couldn’t believe I scored some Prozac. He didn’t know if the ease in which I bought this stuff was due to the fact I was a foreigner, maybe a tourist who needed some expediency while on the road; or, perhaps, because the patent probably expired some time ago. My pharmacist friend says it’s just a case of the drugstore being able to make more money selling their wares.
Now how to take it? And what to expect?
I knew that Prozac is normally prescribed for people with acute depression, so they can cope with the ordinary everyday stuff, which they couldn’t handle for some reason. But neither of us was depressed or “mentally unstable”. In fact, we both were remarkably even-keeled, well-adjusted sorts. We just wanted to get high, to find something like an ‘E’, something zippy and so-so happy.
If this stuff makes depressed people stable, could stable people get a buzz off it? We hoped that was the case.
I searched the Internet, of course, using the parameters “taking Prozac without being depressed”; and found dosage information, and testimonials on YouTube and blogs and other websites.
Virtual people said “Don’t do it! Don’t mess with this mind-altering stuff! Prozac is really heavy shit, and you should only do it if you’re acutely depressed and suicidal” etc. But it didn’t say much about if you could get a buzz off it. One source said you could have a ‘serotonin seizure’ or something unlikely like that. Seratonins are the feel-good sorts of chemicals that we wanted to access, ASAP.
I figured it definitely wouldn’t hurt to do the same dose as was prescribed for depressed ‘patients’ – about 20g once or twice a day. The information I found said that it takes about a week for the drug to take effect. That’s NOT promising, really…
So we each popped a Prozac, and waited to see. One 20 mg pill probably wouldn’t do much, at any rate.
Twenty minutes later, we compared notes.
“You feel anything?”
“No, not really. You?”
Maybe an hour later, I thought I very briefly saw what I would describe as “a kind of lightness at the edge of my vision,” somewhat like the onset of a nice E pill. Otherwise, as the night went on perhaps I felt slightly more focused in my thoughts – which is probably why it’s prescribed for people with attention deficit “disorders”.
Overall, a big disappointment! Basically nothing! So I guess in this test sample population of two people, we may conclude that if a mentally stable person takes Prozac, they stay pretty much at the status quo! What a bummer.
Then I went and watched ‘Prozac Nation’ again (with Christina Ricci). Based on a true story of a young woman who wins a journalism scholarship to Harvard university and crashes and burns, it was a highly controversial movie when it came out. But twenty years later it seemed like a cinematic advertisement for what would become a pharmaceutical-obsessed country. At the end, as the main character is watching in time-lapse photography all the customers who enter a drugstore, she remarks presciently that the U.S. has become a “Prozac Nation.” The lesson she learned from her experience: she says Prozac gave her much-needed “breathing space.” Another noteworthy observation: taking Prozac didn’t totally ‘flatten’ her emotional response to everything as is commonly believed. Instead, she said it helped her deal with everyday life with calm, and without meeting even ordinary tasks with a life-or-death seriousness.
I think in hindsight that this was a premonition of the pharmaceutical industries running wild and unregulated in America, and their power is still unchallenged. In turn, the heavily medicated American public has been brainwashed into thinking they can treat every ailment – whether real or imagined – by taking their pills, and that these pills will be the answer to all your problems – again, both perceived and real.
My lesson from this: If you have never developed coping mechanisms; or want to delay having to develop some; or prefer to avoid confronting your ‘issues’ and the real reasons for your depression, then keep taking this otherwise useless ‘medicine’.
The really good stuff – like E and marijuana (God’s gift to man) will probably always be banned. Your government will try to wipe out its existence altogether, for some reason – probably because it opens your mind too much for ‘their’ liking.
As a footnote, what is now known as ‘Ecstasy’ was initially used by psychotherapists in treatment/therapy for marriage counseling, as well as for PTSD in war veterans, because it made people relax, open up and more able to share what was bothering them; it’s a ‘bonding’ drug, like marijuana is socially. Scientific research on the health effects of smoking cigarettes vs. marijuana showed that ‘chronic’ smokers actually had slightly less incidence of lung cancer than did cigarette smokers, or non-smokers.
Another interesting point is that deaths from overdosing on either of these drugs is pretty much unheard of, ever.
Stay informed. Why don’t you be the judge!