What is the cheapest/safest/surest way to get a buzz?
Forget meth, or Jager, or any prescription meds that – though legal – can still make you dead like Michael or Heath or Nicole.
Best buzz? Instead of scoring a nickel bag, take that $5.00 and give it to the bell-ringer outside the grocery store.
Charlotte was sitting outside of Trader Joe’s dressed like a turkey. She looked and sounded bonkers as I walked by. But it was starting to get cold enough to maybe wear a sweater, so I set aside some cash when I went through the checkout so that I could stop by her table as I left.
She was eight months clean and sober, and still had some of the physical marks from the past that would probably always remain with her. How far it went back – when it all started – I don’t know. I got the impression that she had been living for most of her life with some brain damage, and some hope damage. Which one started first was a mystery. And it really wasn’t my business to verify if her suffering made her eligible for my $5 bucks.
Years ago, my sister Cydney and I spoke about a challenge she was facing teaching at a public school in Alabama. She was struggling with the impossible math of educating kids who came to school starving.
Not hungry: starving.
Orange-tinged hair or swollen cheeks in kids aren’t always signs of genetics or being pinch-ably chubby. These can be signs of longterm protein deficiency, even – surprise! – here in the United States. And the attention problems and irritability that these kids display aren’t a sign that they are bad kids, but that their bodies are beginning to pull protein from their brains to stay alive. Various levels of retardation are the consequence.
Then these kids grow up. Is it any wonder that they are at risk of making the wrong choices? Their brains are broken.
Cydney made the choice of bringing peanut butter and crackers to class to put something in stomachs so that she might have a better hope of putting something in their minds.
As Charlotte spoke, her mind and heart were displayed. Since she had gotten clean, she had been able to help her elderly mom. There was regret in her voice about the past, and there was also wonder that she had been given another chance. Plus she seemed committed to giving back to others and creating a new life for herself that could give others hope. She was one who had been forgiven much…
There is a possibility that I got played and that Charlotte left that night and bought $5.00 worth of badness at my expense. There is a possibility that she looked at my back as I left and smirked, ‘…sucker.’ But it was only $5 bucks. Shall I describe how much I have lost to people who looked/sounded respectable?
What if…Charlotte needed help? What if…I helped? Years ago, she might have been a little girl in a school that didn’t have my sister Cydney as a teacher. Charlotte would have sat at her desk and tried to learn as her body ate itself up from hunger. She would have left school with mental retardation but no diploma.
Years later, I walk into Trader Joe’s to buy a turkey that probably died from organic natural causes, or after tripping on the stairs and breaking its neck. It would have felt no pain and died peacefully, mourned by its human guardians and honored with a prayer like Daniel Day Lewis said over the deer he hunted in the opening scene of “Last of the Mohicans.” The dead turkeys that people were buying with their gold cards were coveted and revered, and Charlotte sitting in her crazy turkey hat outside the storefront was avoided.
Spend five bucks and five minutes on a person that might not be a sure bet. If this is all about YOU or ME or US and not THEM, you will still be amazed at what a rush YOU get from gambling $5.00 on what might be a real rescue.
Your heart pounds. Your cheeks flush. You get warm. People look at you and might think that you are brave or wise or rich. The endorphins and neurotransmitters that heroin and meth only WISH they could mimic flow like liquid sunshine between the dendrite fingers of the brain’s neurons. Electricity goes back and forth easily. Pain from sore feet and sore consciences from being a rat in the holiday consumption race fade away from the altruism boost, better than a morphine pump. This is what they call a runner’s high.
You walk away and feel smart and powerful.
Imagine…what if you could really be a help to someone…
First one’s free. After that, you’re hooked.
Quote of the Blog from George Bernard Shaw: “Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty..”
BONUS Quote of the Blog, from Marcus Aurelius: “Poverty is the mother of crime.”
Image of a Salvation Army donation kettle.