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August 1997 | Updated Monthly
Special Summer of Drugs Triple Issue
If you're the right sort of person, one who
travels in the right circles (and by right circles we mean those
circles that frequently experiment with hallucinogenic drugs), you may
have noticed a strange trend in the homes of your partners in crime:
reef aquaria. Fishtanks dedicated to keeping alive corals and sea
anemones (you know, those squishy things attached to rocks in
aquariums, with the undulating, stinging tentacles). While it's
certainly cool to watch an anemone send a fish in thrashing seizures
with a few touches from its disconcertingly alien tentacles, these
aquaria have a nobler purpose: drugs. Free drugs. Somehow, some
lunatic discovered that the sting of a reaonably common sea anemone
(Stichodactyla haddoni, the saddle carpet anemone), when combined with
low doses of dextromethorphan (the stuff in Robitussin) provokes
dramatic hallucinations, qualitatively different from those produced
by acid or mushrooms. I can just imagine some poor stoner, long after
the dextromethorphan has splattered his brains all over the walls,
sticking his hand into the anemone because it 'looked cool', and
spending the next seven hours talking to the Assistant Appointment
Secretary to Baxtolnaa, Chairman of the Galactic Council.
User reports are reasonably consistent, for
hallucinations: minor euphoria; strong sensations of color distortion
-- as if new colors were always trying to bubble through the surface;
the bass end of sounds is emphasized. Veteran trippers say that
while acid and 'shrooms usually provoke some sense of a journey, of
either corporeal or ethereal momentum, the anemone sting provokes more
of a sensation of rocking in place.
It sounds a little out there, but not
impossible -- certainly no stranger than Bufotoxin. Most naturally
occuring drugs were orignally intended as poisons to disrupt potential
predators, and the sea anemone's poisonous sting is its traditional
protection. Fortunately the saddle carpet's sting isn't too painful,
although it does cause swelling. In some alternate universe where the
Summer of Love plays the same role the winter in Valley Forge plays in
ours, or maybe just in Holland, there's a PhD thesis waiting to be
written. For now, there's only one way to find out for sure.
As of yet, the anemone is legal, and found
in many pet stores. Free drugs for all, or so it would seem. The rub
is, however, keeping it alive. Marine fishtanks are finicky, and
anemones themselves are especiall twitchy, requiring specialized
lighting and filtering systems. Plus, the effect is reportedly tied
into the anemone's zooxanthellae (photosynthetic algae that live in
symbiosis with the anemone) -- these are usually expelled during the
stress of shipping, and not regenerated for a few months, so it's
hardly an impulse buy.
Still, there has been a steady trickle of
stoners into the expensive hobby of reefkeeping, as issues of _Marine
Fish Monthly_ pile up next to copies of _High Times_ and protein
skimmers and trickle filters go onto Christmas lists next to
double-chambered bongzillas. Does it really work? We don't know. But
we've got a friend with a hand too swollen to masturbate and a
perennially dazed expression who bets it does.
I bet you thought chemical castration was
just for rapists and child molesters, right? Guess again. The best and
the brightest want their crack at it too. This is how we imagine this
whole crazy mess starting: some junior in the fishbowl Athena cluster
at MIT (we know this started at MIT) watched one last delivery of the
Wellesley meat wagon saunter by, her feminine charms distracting him
from an urgent problem set. "Just think," he mused, "I'd get alot more
done if I didn't have this urge to fuck everything that moved. Hey--
aren't there drugs for that?" One quick conversation with a medical
student later, and, in true MIT style, problem solved. The student
gets a prescription for Depo-Provera (it's used as birth control for
women), injects himself with a somewhat larger-than-advisable dose,
and voila -- no pesky sexual desires until finals are over. The women
of Wellsley can flaunt their collective wantonness up and down the
infinite corridor and the collective nerddom of MIT won't bat an
Those on the drug swear by it -- "It's like
discovering an extra arm," one said, "Now that I don't think with my
dick, my grades have gone way up." "It used to bother me that I
couldn't get a date, now I just don't care. I really don't."
A test was conducted, where a panel of
seven MIT students were videotaped while exposed to escalating levels
of pornography. Here's a list of said pornography, along with a few of
the more humorous comments:
Porncon 5: pictures of Teri Hatcher,
Gillian Anderson, and the Spice Girls in various states of
Comments: "Nope, nothing." "Gee, I used to
think Gillian Anderson was cute." "Teri Hatcher has nice hair." "Which
one is Psycho Spice again?"
Porncon 4: Issues of Playboy and Hustler,
including the Maddona, Jenny McCarthy, Pamela Anderson Lee, and
Vannessa Williams issues.
Comments: "I'm sorry, man. It's just not
working like it should." "Hey -- there's a Ray Bradbury story in
here." "At least the cartoons are funny."
Porncon 3: Excerpts from "Showgirls",
"Basic Instinct", and "Wild Orchid".
Comments: "Man, this is boring." "Can't we
watch Babylon Five instead?" One participant idly leafed through an
issue of _Linux Journal_. "Most of those women aren't really very good
Porncon 2: Issues of _Taste of Latex_,
Dutch _Hustler_, _Barely Legal_.
Comments: "They have the same ads in the
American _Hustler_!" "That woman's breasts frighten me." "Ah-- very
clever. They're using the principle of the cantilevered bridge.",
"Legal where? Alabama? Thailand?"
Porncon 1: Two hours of hardcore
pornography, featuring excerpts from "Anal Intruder VI: Return to
Roswell", "The Red Ass Diaries", "Ali Baba and the 40 Facials III: The
Return of Hawkeye", and "The Magicial Fist-ery Tour".
Comments: "Good God, that's disgusting!",
"Whoa -- look at that fly! I don't get that kind of acceleration at
home.", "That's not realistic. Any idiot knows that coefficient of
drag rules that out.", "Hey, isn't that going to cause structural
Apparently it's a simple equations:
chemical castration = freedom from sexual urges = higher
efficiency. The desire to trancend 'the meat' has strong roots in
hacker culture -- partly caused by the dating traumas that litter the
adolescence of most hackers like so many overturned police cars in
_The Blues Brothers_, partly because of the arrogant disdain hackers
feel for those who are hits with the chicks, and partly because it's
just so fucking inconvenient to pop a recalcitrant woody when you
haven't tracked down that C++ memory leak yet.
Go back to the hacker lifestyle Old
Testament -- Apostle William's _Neuromancer_ -- it's there. We have to
admit, Case did get to nail Molly, although at least he had mixed
feelings about it.
This trend is spreading, but slowly --
there aren't a lot of colleges where male students voluntarily remove
the means and desire to take advantage of a drunken freshman coed at a
wop-drenched frat party -- but the kindred spirits in women-challenged
and teraflop-blessed places like Caltech, CMU, and the U. of Chicago
seem to be stumbling onto the bandwagon.
It's only a matter of time, I suppose,
before _Hard Copy_ puts this in the 'what are those crazy kids up to
now' bin, or maybe the 'see, computer people really are ugly nerds'
bin, and the trend begins its full roll-out into the dens, basements,
and computer rooms of suburban America that house the MIT students of
tomorrow. At least teen pregnancy might go down. Or, considering which
17-year old males will sign up for this, maybe not.
Sex and drugs. These twin pillars of the
id cry out to be combined and, oh, how I've tried to oblige. But my
experimentation yeilded only bitter fruit.
Acid makes sex difficult and just too
weird for words. How can you keep a stiffy when naked skin is a
squirming yellow mass of half-visible shapes? Pot makes sex feel
great, but one little moment of paranoia can ruin the whole thing. X
makes me want to teach the world to sing, not to shoot a slippery load
across its chops. Speed had potential, but the deathless,
diamond-etching erections aren't worth the jitters and sixteen hours
of stomach cramps that come along with them.
By my senior year of college I'd given up
on my quest for the ultimate sex drug. It wasn't until I'd moved to
Houston and made friends with the drug-crazed drag queen who lived
next door that a possible holy grail was given to me and my quest
Like every other drug, it came in an
unassuming package. A handful of something that looked like cedar
bark in a ziplock baggie. Krys handed it over with a smile but
refused payment. "I got it free, honey, and I'm just passing on the
His instructions for preparation were
easy enough -- brew it like tea and drink the liquid -- but along with
these instructions came a bizarre list of forbidden foods. No alcohol
or pills, she said, and no caffeine, no chocolate and no cheeses. No
M any days later, I found out that this
bark -- yohimbe -- inhibits the production of an important enzyme and
eating certain foods or taking certain medications while under the
influence can kill you. I didn't know this frightening factoid at the
time but innocently took Krys' word along with his drug.
The shreds of bark smelled of dust and
the forest floor and the resulting tea tasted downright foul. Like
stewed dirt mixed with vomit and a tablespoon of fine grit. My
girlfriend and I choked down two mugfuls each after mixing it heavily
with honey and lemon. We sat on the back porch and sipped orange
juice, waiting for the effects to settle in.
The yohimbe came on like any other
stimulant: a tightening behind my stomach and tingling in my
fingertips. Nothing special. It wasn't until nearly a half-hour
after drinking the tea that I noticed I had a hard-on. It was only a
run-of-the-mill, sitting-in-math-class, tent-pitching chubby, but I
"It works!" I cried out, and pointed out
my swelling shorts to Sarah. She was unimpressed.
And that, in a microcosm, is how the
whole experience played out. Sarah enjoyed the speedy effects of the
tea but didn't gain any "aphrodisaic" advantages. I'm glad she still
held enough affection for me to submit to my desperate rutting, or I
would have spent the next four hours in the bathroom, jerking myself
raw. Because, yes, the tea DID work for me.
Although no more interested in sex than I
ever am, I was certainly able to have sex for longer -- and more times
-- than usual. How long? How many times? In pursuit of journalistic
credibility, I know I should quote numbers, give times and generally
brag. But some part of me thinks that's, well, a bit crude.
But that's exactly what this drug is
like: it's crude. It's a fierce injection of Hardness that increases
the quantity of sex, but without affecting its quality. I didn't
become any more sensual or affectionate -- there is no personal
transformation in this drug -- I just had the Stiffy That Would Not
So, for the record, I came four times in
as many hours. My final orgasm was a painful release, a shuddering
punch of teeth-gritting fire that left a taste of metal in the back of
my throat and made me more glad it was over than happy it had
happened. And, yes, this last spasm went unnoticed by Sarah who had
fallen asleep, sore and exhausted, an hour before.