Sunday, May 08, 2005

thirteen steps.

the first step to recovery is realizing that you have a problem. the second step is… well, right now i don’t care what the other dozen steps are…

this isn’t about what you think it is. there are no syringes here. no glass bottles. no razor blades. no rubber straps. no i.d. has been required. no lighters. no paraphernalia. no forged signatures and no plastic bottles. nothing has been stolen. nobody has been hurt.

you may read this thinking it’s nothing. you are probably right. you may read this thinking i’m insane. right again. you may want to stop right here. you probably should.

you didn’t stop. you are still reading.

what this tale involves is a lot of procrastinating. a lot of late nights. and a lot of a white bitter chemical. what it lacks is an ending. a point. it lacks what any tale has. it lacks a hero. it lacks a villain. it lacks what makes any story exciting - violence and sex. what it does have is me. it has me and a lot of late nights and a lot of caffeine.

eventually it has to begin. in order for it to finally end, it has to begin. the first night begins with a coke. a simple coke. some cola to keep company through the night. the night begins with a coke and some soup. philosophy soup. a porridge of assorted ideas and names. with each dip into my mind, the soup twirls around. kant. daly. symbols. descartes. monads. handmaids. noumena. phenomena. longino. social structures. power structures. gender. science. popper. hume. women. men. god the mother. representations. dora. paradigms. sex. leibniz. locke. berkley. mormonism. atwood. blacks. slavery. irigaray. cosmological ideas. prolegomena. antimonies. metaphysics. speculums. antigone. analytic. synthetic. a priori. freud. levi-strauss. economy. use-value…

it’s nine at night and the soup is a jumbled mess. another coke.
it’s eleven at night and still a mess in my mind. another coke.
midnight comes and at least i’ve got a name on the title page. i’m tired. walmart has rockstars on sale in four-packs.

they all taste the same. rockstars. sockos. full throttles. adrenalines. no fears. amps. eyes. monsters. the same energy drink, different labels. the same bitter taste. the bitter taste of caffeine and ephedrine. it’s the same taste you’d get nibbling and sucking on a dog’s floppy ear. you’ve never done it, but you can imagine how it would be. now imagine selling that taste in tall aluminum cans. imagine canning that taste, slapping a flaming name on it.

now imagine drinking a dogs ear to stay awake.

it’s one in the morning. i’m drinking a dogs ear in order to keep my eyes open. it works. i’m not alert, but i’m not asleep either. i’m tired, but i’m wide awake. suddenly, as if i’ve gained some super power, i begin to type. page after page flow from my fingers. the philosophy soup in my mind is just as incoherent, but it’s seeping through my hands and appearing on the screen.

suddenly it’s four in the morning. time to sleep. i turn off the lights and lie down. i think of my paper. i think of the class. i think of the pretty girl i have recently met. i think of the paper some more. i think of the blinking light on my stereo. of the cars driving outside. of some dog barking. of the way my blanket feels on my bare feet. how my pillow is too lumpy. my paper some more. the next semester. i think of how badly i need sleep. i think of the lyrics to some song. i think of asking out that girl again. i think of the next paper. i think of the philosophy soup. i’m tired, but i can’t sleep. i think of how tired i am. i think of thinking. i think of the paper again…

suddenly my alarm is going off. i haven’t slept. it’s seven in the morning and i have to get the first of several papers finished.

open up and drink another can of sweetened dog’s ear.

at twenty-four hours without sleep, your senses being to shut down. the first to go is your hearing. sounds begin to muffle. it’s that feeling of a change in altitude, but plugging your nose and gently blowing will do you nothing. next the vision goes. first, it’s tunnel vision. your peripheral vision fades to black. all you see is what is directly in front of you. next goes your depth perception. three-dimensional things go flat. two-dimensional drawings and pictures jump out at you. finally, you see stars. little dots swirling around you. they appear and fade randomly. in the muffled silence, little stars dance around the letters jumping out of your monitor. who needs captain neo or spy kids when this can happen in the comfort of your own room. captain neo is just a child molestor anyways.

what sticks around is your sense of taste. it sticks around and gets stronger. the bitter dog-ear taste of caffeine turns gets stronger. the bitter tast of caffeine turns to dog piss.

in order to finish that paper, i sip some more sweetened dog piss.

like magic, the words fly from my fingertips and appear on the screen. another page is finished. and another. and another. the paper is finished. time for a shower. time for another can.

i drink dog piss to keep alert through the last day of class. i drink dog piss to make it through work. i drink dog piss to turn philosophy soup into another paper the next night.

lather, rinse. repeat. night after night after night. eventually there is an end. that’s why i began in the first place – to get to the end.

now it’s over, but the dog piss continues.

when you drink a lot of dog piss, you begin to like it. you begin to crave it. you become thirsty, but water won’t do. you’re hungry, but no food will ever fill the need. dog piss to start off the day. dog piss to wash down a salad. dog piss to… no reason, just because. because without dog piss, i’m tired. i’m lost. nervous. cranky. you name it.

the first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem. the second step is… well, right now i don’t care.


there are alternatives to dog piss. but as my t-shirt says, “i can’t i’m mormon.” i’ve become the legalistic ugliness i despise. instead of dog piss i could savor the source of the sweet aroma i encounter at barnes and noble, at borders, in the break room, and in the halls. afterall, the ban is only the phallic response to emma’s whining about having to wipe tobacco spit of her kitchen floor. but i don’t need to find an alternative. i can quit at any time. i don’t have a problem.

the first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem. well… i'm doing just fine


  1. After a week with too many late nights, some related to work and some not, I decided that to make a serious effort to reduce my use of caffeine. The first week, four or five days were caffeine-free, and the second week, seven out of seven. Now, at the beginning of week three, I think that it will still take some more time and a few more full nights of sleep, before I am as alert as I would like to be, but I am surprised at how happy I feel at this point, and I think that my little experiment is starting to pay off.

  2. feel for ya. feeeeeeeeel for ya. just got back from my last exam. too hopped up on diet coke to take a nap after not sleeping all night. the thing is i didn't even study i just stared at it, not asleep yet not awake, a caffeine stupor. i just became a member in january, and i work in a coffee shop. coffee is way more addicting. and it tastes worse than dog piss if you are not used to it. not the way to go. well i mean, caffeine isn't either. i dunno which is the lesser of the 2 evils. hmmmmm.


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