Cocaine and the Actor

Word has it that Johnny Carson used to take a little bump before each show. Don’t know if that’s true, but if he did it didn’t really show.

I have been at parties where people have been on coke before, but I never really spent a lot of time talking to them. I just knew it was there. Personally, I have never had the desire to do cocaine, or any hard drugs really, and that may be because I had it drummed into my head as a kid that drugs were evil (congrats, parents and school system in Massachusetts) but given its availability and my natural proclivity for being naughty, I’d say it’s more a personality thing. Just don’t want that shit in my system, there’s plenty of poison in there already. But a lot of actors, writers, rock stars, painters, and other artist types are known to indulge in such activities. This is often attributed to personality as well, artists tend to have…maladjustment problems, I guess? I tend to think it’s more an issue of too much time on their hands, because any artist that isn’t filling the non-paying hours with art that garners no reward (except itself) gets really, really bored. Drugs are definitely not boring. For the user, that is.

That said, I had an experience the other weekend that made me entirely aware of why doing cocaine is idiotic. My wife had a few friends over from her rock band (she is a back-up singer) to shoot the shit and have some drinks on our patio on a hot summer night. It was around midnight, and I thought we were winding down so I could get some goddamn sleep, but suddenly my wife pulled me aside.

“We’ve got to talk,” she said. And it sounded like the kind of thing I would hear at a junior high party when I was a kid, some friend who just had to tell me the latest gossip. But then she apologized. “I’m really sorry about this, I had no idea it was happening until it was happening…”

One of these rockers had called his dealer, and suddenly there was cocaine at my house. And three of the rockers were partaking. My wife was genuinely apologetic for her friends’ behaviour, and I knew it was sort of out her hands due to the rather secretive nature of the cocaine’s arrival. I was extremely pissed off that nobody had asked my permission given that it was my house and my kid was asleep in his bedroom, and I do not want coke-heads near him. No, I don’t think these people would have bothered my son, but it just felt…well, like I was suddenly a terrible parent for having them around. I thought about kicking everyone the fuck out, but then my ability to reason kicked in, and I remembered that if I sent these high people away, anything that happened on the road I could be liable for. So, in that instant, I became the cocaine babysitter.

Dear cocaine users, please understand that no matter how awesome you feel when under the influence of your drug of choice, you should understand something: YOU ARE SO FUCKING ANNOYING. I’m sure talking to someone on cocaine is an absolute pleasure to someone else on cocaine, but if you happen to be the cocaine babysitter, some person incessantly talking about nothing at high-speed in your face is the worst kind of drudgery imaginable. And the people from my wife’s band are genuinely wonderful, intelligent people who are normally a lot of fun to talk to. But cocaine makes everyone think that every thing he or she says is marvelously fascinating and beyond that, every single one of those marvelously fascinating things needs to be said before the drug wears off. But we all have these hum-drum aspects of our lives that only we care about, and when sober we usually take the time to edit these things out of conversation. But on coke, the hum-drum because epically important. And when three in the morning rolls around and your cocaine babysitter just wants to go to sleep, your ten minute monologue about how crazy your last trip to the local 7-11 is an abomination. Really. Never mind that doing cocaine puts your heart in jeopardy of exploding. The most important thing to remember before you start snorting is just how irritating you are about to become.

So. No more coke at my house. Please.


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