May 4, 2008

Exhibit 10: Cocaine

Benzoylmethyl ecgonine, spelled more easily as cocaine, is a powdered substance derived from the coca plant. Known for its stimulation of the central nervous system and over-effectiveness as a diet aid, cocaine's usage stretches back thousands of years. South American indigenous peoples often chewed the leaves of the coca plant; as a result natives often experienced spiritual epiphany, claimed to be medically healed, and gained access to Bianca Jagger's VIP room at Studio 54. Others reported feelings of "accelerated grumpiness."

Cocaine was legal in the United States until the 20th Century. The substance was in fact aggressively marketed by pharmaceutical and soda-pop companies as a spirit-lifting tonic. So accepted was cocaine that it was celebrated in popular songs of the early part of the century, such as Glenn Miller's rarely heard "novelty" big-band recording, "Cocaine Choo-Choo":

Heeey, conductor, where do ya stop?
Lead Singer:
Why I'm pullin' up to the pharmacy shop!
Heeey, conductor, what'll ya get?
Lead Singer:
I'm gonna go snortin' with my favorite pet!

Lead Singer:
I'm on the Cocaine Choo-Choo! (Chorus: The Cocaine Choo-Choo!)
Just a-chuggin' down that line!
When I meet ya at the station
My sinuses'll feel so fine!
And the whistle goes, "Toot-toot!" (Chorus: "Toot-toot!")
Gimme a "Toot-toot!" (Chorus: "Toot-toot!")
Touch my stash and I will rip your fucking jugular out

In the rock era cocaine was revered for its ability in giving musicians an edge in terms of production and endurance. Writing came much easier, because musicians were up all night finding constant inspiration from every angle. Just one little ingestion would inspire reams of poetic and lyrical insight. The mind would work on all cylinders and the thought process would continue at a seemingly unending pace. People would just keep writing and writing and writing and writing and writing and writing and then they would do some more writing and then they would pause for a minute to have a cigarette or maybe a drink of bourbon or something like that and then they would go back to their cocaine and do another line or two and then they'd go back to writing and writing and writing and writing. There would be no inhibition at all and the ideas would just flow out of them like ketchup comes out of a constantly squeezed restaurant bottle and then they'd realize that ideas didn't have to be like ketchup from a glass bottle with no squeezers because it didn't make sense to wait around for ketchup to come out of a glass bottle when you could put the ketchup in a squeeze bottle and have it come out instantaneously instead of waiting for it to come out of a glass bottle because that doesn't make much sense does it? So cocaine helped that process out tremendously and was a real boon for musicians because sometimes pot made them stupid, it would just dull the edges around them, they would just sit around all night and write songs in a stupor and they would all be about plants and floral arrangements and things like that but cocaine made them write songs that were very edgy because they would write very very quickly and without much reservation at all and it would be pure rage coming directly from their cerebellums onto the page with no editing or reconsidering whatsoever and the song would feel raw and great and nothing would harness its immense power and there would be nothing you could do about it except just let it come out like vomit or like saliva from a baby since that's a much better metaphor for creativity because we're all just like children awakening ourselves and seeing things for the first time and it's very inspiring and we can't stop ourselves from examining the wonder and thanks to cocaine we can just sit back and look at our black velvet paintings and let the inspiration come and come and come and come and come, because one should never stop inspiration while it's coming and coming so we need to just keep writing and writing and writing and then do some more writing and what's with that look you're giving me? Don't pretend that you don't know what I'm talking about, because you do, you know exactly what you intended to say without words because of that look that you're giving me and I don't like that look very much, and what are you saying, that I should put a clamp on my creativity and longevity and endurance and stick-with-it-ness just because of some archaic moral standard that you cling to like Linus clings onto a blanket or whatever and what are you trying to tell me? Don't brush this off because it would be exactly like you to brush this off with your moral high ground and your nose in the air excuse the pun. I knew all along that you were out to stop me and that you were out to get me because you just can't stand that I can write and write and write and write and write and write and write and have a protein shake and then write again and write and write and write because the ideas just don't stop with me they just keep on coming and there's nothing you can do about it, I am like an idea train, the ideas just keep coming and coming with me and you can't stand it and that's why you're out to get me because you are jealous of my infinite ability to make constant sense all through the night and you just sit there with your dullness and your apathy and you think that you're better than me and I really wish you would stop looking at me like that but then again I realize there's no way you can stop looking at me like that because looks are all you have, they are like convenient defense mechanisms of your depraved soul, the soul that rots in the basement while my soul rises and rises and keeps on rising and then rises some more because I'm up all night writing and writing and writing and writing because the ideas keep coming oh shit here comes another idea and I better get it down now before you talk me out of it you jealous backstabbing piece of jealousy, go ahead and sit there and be jealous as I write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write.

Cocaine was eventually replaced by the hacky sack.


I said...


Paul Pearson said...

Thank you, i. Say, aren't you that guy who's doing post-grad work at the second best English Lit Criticism school in the country? Ah, yes. We are flirting with GENIUS.

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