Just say no

Just say no June 29, 2011

(Note: This post from 2009 seems to have slipped through the cracks on the migration over here to Patheos so I’m reposting it here.)

He took offense.

It started out in college. You know, just experimenting with it. But he liked it. He liked how it made him feel.

For a while it was just recreational — weekends and parties and rallies and that kind of thing. But soon he was hanging out with some pretty hard-core users, with the kind of people who took offense all the time. They didn’t need a reason or an excuse, it was just what they did. It was who they were. Soon he found he couldn’t get through the day without it.

Over the years he even learned to grow his own, to take the tiniest seeds of umbrage and nurture them into full-grown pretexts for outrage. The good stuff.

Some of his old friends tried to stage an intervention — to convince him that he had a problem, that his whole life had become consumed by his addiction.

He didn’t respond well. He just took more offense — right there in front of them.

Addicts, he told them, are always chasing diminishing returns. They’re always needing more and stronger drugs to provide an ever-smaller high. But the stuff he was taking didn’t work like that. His highs just kept getting stronger and stronger no matter how flimsy or insignificant the reason.

You’re not trying to help me, he screamed at them. You’re just jealous. And he yelled at them some more, trying to get them to take offense too.

They wouldn’t touch it, of course, and just left quietly, looking sad. He took a hit of offense at that and sat back on the couch. They think I’ve got a problem, he thought, but they’re the ones with a problem. Ohh. He inhaled deeply. Yes, yes that’s it. His eyelids fluttered. It’s because I’m better than them, better than all of them …

Four days later his landlord called the police, saying there was an offensive smell drifting into the hallway. They found him there on the couch.

The official report from the medical examiner said it was an overdose.

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