Has-been highs: Losing the personal drug war

At what point does youthful experimentation become embarrassing and pathetic? If Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston aren't on hand to give you the answer, maybe we can help. Join decorum expert Allison Gifford as she reveals the telltale signs that your vice of choice might have reached its expire date.

 

Alcohol

 

16­25: If you didn't drink, you never would have met your best friend. Nothing says bonding like holding each other's hair while puking up the fluorescent remnants of Bacardi Breezers and Elquila Coolers.

 

49: If you didn't drink, you never would have had the confidence to get up on stage at your office Christmas party and suggest the house band back your rendition of Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time." And who'd have guessed a tambourine could sound that good on a bare butt cheek?

 

Cigarettes

 

17­24: After hours of styling your fluffy bedhead to perfection, you search for the most obscure, authentic resto where you can peruse your Foucault Reader, smoke Gauloises and weep, not cry, yourself to sleep over a tumbler of port.

 

30+: Camped out in front of the tube, inhaling your Player's through yellowed fingers, you secretly hope Regis and Kelly will call to play trivia and give you a Winnebago. If you yell at any of your children to "get Mama her smokes," you've already made the bonus round.

 

Cocaine

 

27: "Edgy" newspaper columnist Russell Smith reports a rapid increase in the use of grade A nose candy among his circle of friends. Translation: Coke is in.

 

38: Edgy loan collectors threaten to seize your bearskin rug, disco ball, and pet lion unless you cough up all the money you snorted up your schnozz. Translation: Coke is out.

 

Ecstasy

 

21: Sucking a soother and dripping with VapoRub, you can't remember being more in touch with music, love, and shiny objects.

 

41: Permanent lockjaw has left you on a strict diet of pudding and Gatorade. And the paperboy doesn't like the way you've been looking at him lately.

 

Marijuana

 

23: Let's face it, people who smoke pot are so much cooler to hang out with.

 

56: As you sit in a basement apartment surrounded by posters of naked girls and the distinct aroma of cat pee, you wonder how many more games of Dungeons and Dragons you have to play with your adolescent dealers before it's acceptable to take your dope and hit the road.

 

Tranquilizers

 

28: You feel all Annie Hall casually crunching an Ativan while rushing off to discuss your commitment issues with your analyst.

 

45: You feel all Postcards from the Edge as you sit glued in front of a 16-hour game of mah-jong, drooling alphabet soup out of the corner of your mouth while singing "Where the Boys Are."

 This essay first appeared in This, an alternative Canadian magazine.