This Is Your Brain On Drugs.
1994. Jeff Huber’s coed middle-school party.
There’s pingpong downstairs, and upstairs it’s that card game, the one with the spoons. On the table, Jeff’s mom has laid out a solid spread of chocolate-chip cookies, Doritos, and 12 bottles of Crystal Pepsi. You’re making quite an impression with that new Starter jacket of yours.
When TGIF comes on TV, all your friends run into the family room. Hey, check out Urkel! Look how he’s wearing his pants!
Then you realize you haven’t seen your brain for 20 minutes.
Suddenly, the screen door opens, and your brain stumbles into the room, completely reeking of pot.
“What’s up, guys?” it asks. Your brain turns the Doritos bag upside down over its mouth, then curls up in the corner and giggles to itself like an asshole for an hour.
The only one high at the party. Not cool, brain. Not cool.
Junior year of high school. Midterm week.
You and your brain head back to your locker after an intense morning spent studying for the calculus test.
In the locker, under some gym shorts, you notice a baggie.
“Speed pills?” you ask your brain, holding the bag in front of your lifelong best friend. “These won’t help you study! Where did you get them? WHERE DID YOU GET THEM?”
Your brain’s clearly nervous. And strung out on uppers. Its gray matter blushes as it stammers, saying, “Those ain’t mine.”
Cancún. College spring break, 2001.
At Señor Frog’s, everyone’s drinking margaritas on the cheap and moving to the techno music. People have formed a circle around your brain, which is twirling glow sticks with its cerebellum, dancing crazily, and flashing anyone with 10 pesos and a camera. It doesn’t bother you much that your brain’s on Ecstasy. At least, not until later, when it starts gyrating dangerously close, and then totally tries to make out with you! Gross!
There’s a lot of awkwardness for the rest of the school year.
Two weeks ago. Evening time in your apartment.
You’re relaxing after work, decompressing from a full and stressful day.
You turn on the TV, but your favorite show is a rerun tonight. So you surf the channels, sipping a beer in a Koozie.
You stop on an episode of Cops on the local UPN. You can hear cursing offscreen, while police officers accuse somebody of crack possession. There’s a chase, with five angry patrolmen running after the suspect. Wait—who is that fleeing? Even though the camera’s shaky, you recognize the cerebral cortex immediately. You’d recognize it anywhere. It’s your brain on the run again! You sigh.
When they catch and cuff your brain, the jerk even tries to bust in the cop-car window. It looks like it hasn’t bathed in days, and with all the profanity … well, it’s just embarrassing.
Twenty years from now.
It’s your night to cook. You’re whipping up a sensible and health-conscious low-carb dinner for you and your brain to enjoy in your elegant home.
You hear weird sounds from the basement. You head down the stairs, and there you find your brain sitting in a music studio, putting the finishing touches on a masterful piece of mind-blowing psychedelic rock!
When did your brain learn to make concept albums? Where did it get the studio equipment? And where did that burnt-out reefer on the coffee table come from?
Without thinking, you just lay into your brain. “You said you were through with this stuff years ago! You promised!”
The brain begins to weep. Through fits of sobbing, it tries to speak to you. “I swear it’s just for my glaucoma,” it cries. “Check out this 12-minute sitar solo.”
You have no idea how to respond to this.
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