At the age of six I had my first taste of alcohol: a room temperature Budweiser as I stand forgotten beside my brother and mother staring at an LSU game playing out on the Zenith.
At thirteen I had my first taste of cardboard and grapes in the guise of boxed wine as we honored my deceased grandmother with a wake in our living room.
At sixteen I had my first mixed drink: Bacardi and coke, in a drive through bar off of a gravel road with a guy named Vince.
At eighteen I had a joint passed to me in a college dorm room. I puffed it. Hated it. My tongue turned to cotton. Never again, I thought.
At nineteen, after a Black Flag concert, someone gave me a sticker with a strange design on it and dared me to put it under my tongue. I laughed and did so, thinking they were mad. For the next three days aliens chased me, traffic lights melted down the windshield of my car, every Pink Floyd song seemed to hold the answer to the universe. Unfortunately, these revelations came with days, no, weeks, of recovery and plenty of missed college lectures.
At twenty-one someone at a party took a razor and began chopping madly at powder on a mirrored coffee table the way a chef would attack an onion on a chopping board. House music blared in the background. Whatever you do, don’t sneeze, someone said. I pressed my index finger to one nostril and inhaled through a rolled up twenty with the other as instructed. It burned like hell for a split second, until someone dipped their fingers into their champagne glass and held them to my nose to inhale. The champagne drops washed down the nostril clinging residue, cooling my nose, my throat my lungs. It was as if someone flipped a switch in me. I could fly. I was sure of it. I could write the worlds greatest novel in a day if my hands would stop shaking, no doubt about it, I was on top of the world. I was in fucking heaven, well for twenty minutes away. MORE, I begged, and more I’d get. Each time I’d fly but not quite as high as the time before. And so it went. I tried and tried, God knows I tried to fly as high as I did the first time, but I never again got close to the sun.
At twenty-five a doctor gave me Prozac to forget about the sun.