Procrastination Destination Du Jour: DRUGS à la Carte

Before; after (amazingly, this is probably the least disturbing self-portrait you'll see of this guy).

Some of us heeded our parents when they gave us the “drug talk”; some of us did not. Still others chose to laugh in the face of all that is holy, to disdain the powers of perception conferred on us by nature in mind-blowing (literally) feats of hedonism, to taunt the gods of this green earth with the challenge that no chemical could not be ingested, inhaled, or injected.

Bryan Lewis Saunders is clearly of the latter category.

Since I could not possibly do justice to the genius (lunatic?) that this man is, I will let him relate the gist of his project for himself:

After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.

As you might guess, the results walk a thin line between entertaining and terrifying… yet, even still, some of his drug-abusing compatriots might call Saunders a bit of an amateur. These are the truly insane: people for whom a good night continues beyond a few beers and a casual smoke sesh to the mind-altering effects of a bite by a black widow, whose venom purportedly induced a trip where one individual “felt like [he] was in a bubble, […] watched the trees grow really really tall and then shrink back to normal, and [said] a bunch of random shit” he no longer remembers. This is the community of Erowid.

The internet, long noted for its ability to bring people together around a common cause (see: Arab Spring, etc.), has done it again. Of any comparable site on the web, Erowid is by far the most comprehensive. Launched in 1995 (and believe me, it looks the part), the site’s stated mission reads as follows:

Erowid is a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues. We work with academic, medical, and experiential [read: drug users] experts to develop and publish new resources, as well as to improve and increase access to already existing resources. We also strive to ensure that these resources are maintained and preserved as a historical record for the future.

So this is what happens when we let hippies have internet access.

But don’t be fooled by the upbeat attitude of it all. As much as it exults the entheogenic, so does it highlight the horrors of drug use in a way that no PSA ever could (although Darren Aronofsky’s meth ads come damn close). Certainly, no after-school special has ever described, in such painstakingly graphic detail, the blur between reality and hallucination instigated by 400mg of diphenhydramine (that’s Benadryl for the less technically-proficient among us). Here, I excerpt from the report of the user himself:

I was relieved to see [my dad’s] face, talking the best I could I explained to him that we have a really bad spider infestation and that I found a scorpion on the floor. He just stood there looking off towards the pool table not saying anything. I said a little louder, DAD! And then I repeated what I just said a little louder than I did before. I was really confused now. I was wondering why he wouldn’t respond back to me. He then walked around towards the pool table and out of my immediate sight. I followed him to see if he was alright, but there was nothing, not a single person in the entire basement. Trust me I searched.

For the most part, the writers’ descriptive abilities far surpass one’s expectations of their drug-addled minds and the narratives–located within the “Experiences” section of each drug’s respective page–are alternatively hilarious and intensely absorbing (at least from the safety of one’s laptop screen). And remember, this isn’t procrastination… you’re learning! Erowid isn’t a registered educational non-profit for nothing. Happy surfing.

Saunders LINK.


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