I was surprised by all the heavy-duty drugs I was given this week. This is the kind of stuff you read about in newspapers — morphine and cocaine! My previous history as a drug user is easily told. I never tried any heavy recreational drugs and the few times — twice perhaps — that I smoked marijuana, I really hated it. Since those bad experiences some 25 years ago, it’s been clear to me that drugs are scary and that my mind doesn’t need additional excitement. My mind creates sufficient excitement on its own.
Now let me tell you about Mr. Morphine. Mr. Morphine is a guy who suddenly appears after I’ve had 12.5 milliliters of that clear, opium-based, liquid my doctor gave me. Mr. Morphine is a super hero like what you would find in an old Marvel Comic. He has a purple dress and a red cape, and he can fly through the air with his fist clenched. Mr Morphine can do anything and deal with any problem. He looks out for me, fights my fights for me. Above all, he stands up to the high-speed accelerator — the radiation machine — and deflects all its rays with his bare hands.
While all this is going on, I’m asleep in Mr Morphine’s van. Yeah, he has a little van, just like an electrician or a plumber, and in the back of it, behind the driver’s seat, is a comfy mattress. That’s where I am bedded down. Here I sleep, I dream, I fantasize; the pace is leisurely and the pain is gone. I’m very happy to be in the back of his van and I’m very happy that Mr. Morphine is dealing with the situation for me.
I’ve understood something important about drug addiction. Quite apart from the physiological dependency, many addicts surely regard their drugs as good friends, and like all friends they are difficult to say goodbye to. Surely, for many addicts, the drug is the only one who indisputably is on their side. To stop taking the drug is for that reason to become alone and defenseless.
No, I don’t think I’m in danger of developing an addiction. I don’t mind being alone and defenseless, especially the day — very soon now — when there is far less to defend myself against.
By contrast, the cocaine is quite a different story. It comes in a little spray bottle and it’s strictly local anesthesia for my mouth. It calms down inflamed gums in a second and it makes it possible for me to eat. (Un)fortunately there are no other, more exotic, side effects.