My Own Doors of Perception: A Sordid Tale

I think that I might have a drug problem. I have to admit that lately I’ve been hitting the Flex-All 454 pretty hard. It’s almost like I have an addiction to this numbingly strange painkiller. I know, how very Rush Limbaugh of me.
It all started innocently enough. I noticed while I was studying for my comprehensive Master’s exams that my lower back was starting to hurt. Around that time, I was looking for my nail clippers in my bathroom cupboard, and I noticed a very old container of Flex-All 454 that I’d gotten from my grandpa years ago. I was a bit skeptical at first; after all, how much could a menthol cream actually do to relieve pain? Still, it seemed like I had nothing to lose, but sure enough, I almost lost it all.
I opened the container, and a overpowering menthol smell hit my senses like a runaway freight train driven by Janis Joplin. I thought, “Nasty…why would someone be crazy enough to actually rub this shit on their back?!” But that initial skepticism gave way to curiousity. After all, why would someone be crazy enough to rub this shit on their back? There must be something to it, some sort of rush, otherwise people wouldn’t do it. Right? I decided that in the interest of science, and to satisfy my curiousity, I’d try “The Flex,” but only once. Of course I never thought I’d be one of the people that you see on the street corners and dark alleys, slumped over their rickety canes, just looking for their next hit of Flex-All or looking to turn a trick or two for a dab of Icy Hot. But I also didn’t know how close I had already come to the grim reality of this simple but deadly over-the-counter drug.
Still, I’d made up my mind to try it, so I tried it. I squirted a glop onto my fingers, and awkwardly reached around to my back to apply the cream. As I rubbed the greasy, smelly gel on my back, I didn’t notice anything at first. But as I was washing the leftover snot-like goop from my hands, I noticed a slight tingle eminating from the base of my spine. I leaned a bit further over the sink to grab a towel, and I noticed the tingle a bit more. The Flex-All 454 (or, as it’s also known on the streets, “The Four Fitty Quatro”) was beginning to work its enchanting spell.
For the next few hours, the sensations coming from my back alternated between hot and cool, then cool and hot. The minutes blurred together as I slumped on the couch and listened to my “rock and roll” music and “tuned out” the rest of the world. When I awakened from my stupor, I felt slightly disoriented and dizzy, but I quickly got my bearings again. At that point, I knew I needed another hit, and that I needed it soon.
For the next few weeks, I was beginning to get hooked on menth. I see now that this was true whether I admitted it to myself or not. It had gotten a hold of me and wouldn’t let me free until I’d felt the by-now familiar tingle in my back. I didn’t even use it every single day, and I was able to even function relatively normally at first. But slowly but surely, as the winter turned to spring, my previous dilligence in school began to transform into fits of fancy. I would slouch in my office chair or play Lego Star Wars with bad posture for hours at time, all just to have a bit of pain, and with that pain an excuse to have another hit of menth.
I don’t know how long this all would have gone on if an unexpected angel had not come along in the form of my friend Bobby. Now, Bobby has had his share of back problems, and he’s even had a few back surgeries in the past. He seems to not want to talk much about that part of his life, and I’ve always assumed that at the time he was running with either the Flex-All or the Ibuprofen crowd. But he’s moved on and seems to be all the stronger from his trials and tribulations. Or so I thought.
A few weeks ago he and our friend Katie came over to my house for supper. I was grilling a London Broil, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat it alone. So as they arrived at my house, I was crouched over my mini-BBQ, attempting to light the coals. As I stood up, I mentioned something about “my aching back,” and excused myself for a moment. I went to the bathroom, and Bobby must have seen me reach into the cupboard for my menth stash. He walked over and said, “Hey, is that the Four Fitty Quatro? Could I have a bit?” For some reason, hearing a dear friend like Bobby say that just broke my heart. I had thought that he’d left that all behind him, but perhaps I was mistaken. Plus, it was one thing if I was hurting myself, but I somehow couldn’t bring myself to allow my friends to hurt themselves, especially not in my own house.
“Bobby,” I said, “It is menth, but I can’t give you any. In fact, I shouldn’t take any myself. I think that after we eat this London Broil, we should sit down with a nice cup of tea and see what we’re going to do about this problem of ours. Because it is a problem, but now that we’ve recognized it, we can overcome it.”
Well, long story short, the waterworks opened. We had a hug and cried for about 45 minutes (which probably made Katie feel a bit awkward as she was eating her supper). At this point, no one can really tell what the future will bring. The truth is that we’re bad people. But that’s gonna change – we’re going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now we’re cleaning up and we’re moving on, going straight and choosing life. I’m looking forward to it already.

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6 thoughts on “My Own Doors of Perception: A Sordid Tale

  1. Sitz,
    Ever try rubbing the menth on your privates? Take your best orgasm, multiply it by 1000 and you’re still nowhere close….that is of course if you survive the initial helllike burning.

  2. I have a feeling that this all began a few months ago when you hung out with me and Matthew and I gave you some Target brand “cold-hot”. Anyway, the first step is admitting you have a problem…

  3. …This flexall 454 you speak of…interesting. To think I thought it was a car wax. But than again, why would someone have a can of car wax in their bathroom? I guess that brings new meaning to “shining one’s machine”.

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