by Ross Sharp

Some fella I ain’t never heard of got hisself pinched t’other day for buyin’ a touchy-feely pill, and they’s a whole buncha other folks who’re feelin’ a mite het up about it all, if the letters page of today’s Sydney Mornin’ Herald is anything to go by.

Jack Marx had a fine ol’ rattle on about this matter yesterday, and I can’t think of anything more to add to that, so what I’ll do is repost this piece what I wrote for Groupthink back in October of 2009 about my own hellish experiences with illicit substances an’ shit …


Hi everybody!

My name is Ross! And this here’s the tale of My Drug Hell!

Now, there’s been times in my life when I’ve taken an illegal drug and even though I’m feelin’ rootin’-tootin’ right now, I’m pretty dang sure my past criminal behaviour and degenerate indulgences will come back anyday now and bite me somethin’ fierce on my ass. Why, this time tomorrow my whole body could erupt in a sea of festering ulcers and suppurating sores and boils spitting out stringy spumes of custard coloured pus fifty inches high and I’d have to spend the rest of my life sleeping on rubber sheets and use up all my retirement money on paper towels just cause I took some drugs back in the day.

Way it started was, during the 1970’s and 1980’s when I was a young fella, I used to go out most nights to see bands. Bands that play music? Back then, used to be you go to any pub or club anywhere at all any night of the week and there’d be a band playin’. Sometimes two or three. More on weekends. And there was this one band I used to see a lot and got to know. The girlfriend of the bass player, she used to bring pills along with her sometimes and one night she asked me, she said, “Ross, you want a couple?”

“Okay”, I said.

Diet pills, they were. Speed. Heck people, I was so young and foolish them days, livin’ hard, fast and dirty, I thought I was gonna live forever.

So I took a couple of these pills and later, after the band had finished their set for the night, I said to the girlfriend of the bass player, I said, “Thanks for that, see you next time”, and then I went home and went to bed.

Now, I can’t remember how many of these pills I took over time, maybe they’ve messed up my figurin’ skills and memory stuff, but I reckon there might’ve been as many as ten or fifteen pills over an entire year maybe until I wound up getting sick of this band I was seein’ and started seein’ another band whose bass player’s girlfriend didn’t hand out diet pills to punters at gigs.

I never took any speed again. Not that I found it unpleasant, I just never bothered with it after that. Never even thought much on it these last twenty-five years.

But then, I don’t know any bass player’s girlfriends anymore neither, and if you want my advice on it, neither should you. Once those bitc-, um, ladies get their filthy hooks into you, you’re Arthur one day, you’re Martha the next, wearing an apron and dusting cupcakes with icing sugar.

A few years later, I moved on.


This is that whole “gateway” thing, yeah?

I’d arranged to meet this girl I worked with and a friend of hers at her flat, we’d have some food, then go see a band play at a club couple blocks away. So I’m there, we’ve had some food, and this girl I work with asks, she asks me, “Ross, you want some of this?” and she lays out a few lines of cocaine.

“Okay”, I said.

So I snorted two lines of that cocaine right then and there and we all went out to see the band play and when they were finished, I said to the girl I worked with, I said, “Thanks for that, see you at work tomorrow”, and then I went home and went to bed.

I never snorted cocaine again. Not because it was unpleasant or anything, it just never occurred to me to keep on doing it. Never has.

But then, I don’t arrange to meet girls I work with at their flats anymore and go see bands play loud music, and take it from a man who’s been there and done that, neither should you. One day, you’re working with someone, they seem nice, they seem fine, but the next day? The next day, you’re probably hanging ‘round their living room jonesing for a fix and maxing out the credit card on eBay buying death metal memorabilia.

But I managed to put that dark night of the soul behind me and move on in life, I did indeed.

Until a few years later.


It was a party, everybody knew everybody else, we’d all been studying on a thing for a couple years and then it was over and we all decided to have a party to celebrate. There was a girl I was friends with, we’d worked together on a few things, and we were talking and she says to me, she says, “Ross, do you want to try this?” and she holds out this little square of thin cardboard.

“Okay”, I said.

You’ll know the day you’ve hit rock bottom is the day you start chowing down on random bits of cardboard thrust at you by friendly girls at parties and so help me Lord, I hope and pray you never go so far down that bolt-hole of loathsome self-hatred, I surely do.

But I took this L.S.D. and the girl I was with, we spent an hour or so laughing ourselves silly over nothin’ at all, laughing ‘til it hurt, and then I flirted with a few other girls for a bit and then I went for a walk down the beach and sat there looking at the water and the sand and the lights from the shops behind for a long time and then I went home and went to bed.

I never took L.S.D. again. Just that once. Not that it was unpleasant or anything, it’s just that I don’t think on that stuff and haven’t had a mind to all these years through.

But I don’t hang around at parties with girls I’ve been doing courses of study with anymore neither, and if you’ve got so much as a lick o’ sense in that head of yours, neither will you. One minute you’ll be working on a thing together, an assignment, everything’s all gee, gosh and golly, and next minute you’re at a party sucking somebody’s stationary and laughing yourself stupid for no good reason and then going down the beach for a quiet ponder.

It’s a wonder I weren’t bashed up down there at that beach, the state I was in. Yes, it’s a genuine wonder I weren’t bashed up by a gang of darkly foreign hoodlums of African or Middle Eastern appearance, thrown to my knees and forced to do demeaning things upon a person’s private bits with my eatin’ hole. But I weren’t. Praise be.

I’ve smoked pot, too. Marijuana. I smoked a whole bunch of it at various times, yes’m, and ain’t I sorry to say it? I surely am.

Way it was, I shared houses with people for about a dozen years of my life, various people, various places. And I’ll tell you this truth, Sonny Jim and Mary Jane, there’s no greater hell a once humble soul can tumble into than the one where you come home after a hard day’s work and the flatmate lights up a spliff and passes it over and you listen to some music then fix yourself a feed and watch some television and go to bed. Sometimes you wouldn’t even get to bed ‘til well after 11.30 in the p.m. on a weeknight ‘cause you’d been gripped by that devil weed so bad you had to slink off to the café up the road for a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. That’s the type of desperately pitiful pit of despair you find yourself in and it ain’t pretty, I’m telling you straight up.

So listen up now, I ain’t gonna sugarcoat this none ‘cause I ain’t a sugarcoatin’ kind of man, but you find yourself carrying on like that, coffee and cake at 11.30 in the p.m. on a weeknight, you be in a whole new world of pain, my friend, and that’s a world you don’t wanna be gettin’ familiar with.

I’m a livin’ testament to that, amen I am. A livin’ testament to the decrepitatin’ effects of deviant substances and the deviant behaviours they encourage.

There’s a reason illegal drugs are illegal and it’s a damn good reason too.

Because it’s the law, that’s why.

And laws are laws because lawmen reckon they be good laws and that’s why we got ‘em.

We start messin’ around with the natural order of these things and afore you know it, the women’ll start wantin’ to wear pants to work.

Men wear pants.

That’s a fact, goddammit.

And don’t you let anyone be tellin’ you any different, you hear?