7.6.09

straight edge

my immunocompromised, can't-handle-finals-week immune system can't fight off glandular fever, so i been pretty damn sick this week. in a way, illness kinda sucks ass: a week on your ass, losing ridiculous amounts of weight because your throat hurts too much to even swallow liquids, not being able to breathe properly (it was that that made me call the NHS, contra to my advice to other people about not being an over-macho i-can-take-it asshole and letting yourself get horribly ill), dehydration because you can't drink and if you do you vomit and you've got diarrhoea, yada yada.

the plus side was i got an entire stash of Kupkakes* - 30mg cocodamol, an excellent little drug that actually does something, compared to the 8mg that serves as a rather crappy bulwark against my codeine addiction. i guess they don't care about giving pills to addicts if those addicts are shaking uncontrollably with raging fevers, crying like pussies in the emergency clinic at 4am.

that got me thinking. i don't use the Kupkakes recreationally, though i sure as hell could - aside from their analgesic/antipyretic effects, they'll calm you down and make you walk around floating on a cushion of chill, but they're far too valuable to me as a CP patient to waste on chilling. i was looking at one the day before yesterday in an attempt to psyche myself up for swallowing it (yesterday was the first day i could eat solid food, and since then i've been fucking golden), and i remembered the stash of Rx Kupkakes one of my exes has.

i have a lot of ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, but most have been from my side of life - alternatives, sort of. i think i'm just attracted to that willingness to try anything; well, this ex - call him Will, names changed to protect the fucking guilty - was sort of an anomaly. had ink and piercings, sure, less than me but a few, and weird hair like yours truly - but Will's a straight edger.

this was sort of a shock to me when i found out, after we first started dating, but i figured hey, if the man doesn't tell me what i can and can't do with my own meat, i ain't gonna tell him what he should do with his. it was only after we had a conversation in which it transpired that if i got seriously ill and resorted to cannabis for pain relief, he'd leave me no matter how ill i was, that i realised there's something kinda fucked up about this straight edge philosophy.

for a start, i reject the argument that the philosophy bans things because they fuck you up. the SxE list of 'banned' substances is... well, sorta arbitrary. tobacco, recreational drugs, alcohol. some of them are also vegetarian, some don't approve of any drugs at all - no fucking paracetamol in one kiddie i heard about on the grapevine, some just stay away from those Big Three. but why just those three? just because they're common? why doesn't SxE doctrine ban fried food, standing right in front the speakers, skinny dipping, high heels or not taking your insulin on time? i believe people have a right to fuck themselves up, and to make their own judgements in what's acceptable levels of fucked-up. it's called bodily autonomy.

there's another thing. i see no reason to make an entire militant philosophy out of not doing something nobody is making you do. you don't smoke? well, i quit too. now i'm more stressed, less broke and no lung cancer. grats. you don't drink? welcome to the United Arab Emirates. i just don't get it why it needs a symbol and vigilantes and a movement.

third, i reject the idea that drug use is always bad and the only reasons people have for taking are peer pressure and thinking it's cool. i don't know a single fucker who's ever used because they wanted to be with the cool kids; the cool kids don't do that shit, they don't need to. people i used to hang with had the same problems as i and the rest of the City did: some were in pain, some had survived awful shit in their lives, some were addicts, some wanted the rush. using was just one solution. all of us did some stupid things, but we sure as hell weren't doing it for acceptance in the goddamn playground. to reject drugs on that precept is over-simplifying to a ridiculous degree.

the lifetime commitment thing bothers me, too. i respect people trying to make a commitment to something, but i worry when i see them trying to make a promise for life. like a marriage, you can't enter into a contract like that knowing for sure that you're never going to feel any other way, even if you really don't think you will; so when you've got an X tattooed on the back of your hand and you find that, shit son, you can't pay the NHS for your pain pills and you've got nothing to keep that tide of hurt away, i don't think you can honour a lifetime promise never to do drugs without putting yourself through pain for no real reason.

last up, the militancy. i don't have a problem with SxE kiddies who just don't drink, smoke or do drugs themselves; they wanna protect their meat, and we disagree purely on the best way to do that and the acceptable tradeoff between protection and other benefits. i have a problem with those like Will, people who look down on friends having a drink together, people who decide to make you pick between them and relief from the screaming abyss of agony where your guts used to be. my personal choices are mine alone; if you think they're wrong, we'll have a debate, but sneering straight-edgers with a squeaky superiority complex ain't good at that sort of debate. if you think my choices should be restricted because people around me are emotionally hurt by them, you can think again. everyone has the right to do legal things without fear that they'll hurt or offend others and be thrown in jail; what i don't have the right to do is physically hurt someone.

if my pain control makes me go off the rails and kill someone, it's my fault and i deserve to go down for it, because i shoulda been more responsible in choosing better drugs and locking my ass away while i was on them. if i take acid because i wanna know more about myself and i freak out and gouge out one of my eyes, i don't get to the top of the waiting list for a new one any time soon, and that's fair. but if i'm not hurting anyone, i don't need a lecture from some sanctimonious, cleaner-than-thou punk.

L


* Kupkakes are called that because they say KAP|AKE on the pill, as well as because when you're feverish, your muscles are screaming and you can't sleep, four of them are the sweetest thing in the Universe save the white angel.

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