I avoided illegal drugs in my younger days has nothing to do with a fear of addiction or to protect my health. I was young and bulletproof and none of that sort of thing scared me.
The real reason I steered clear of that silly game had a whole lot to do with the people that were into it. I didn't really want a whole lot to do with the people involved or the headaches that went along with it.
What is interesting is that for a pretty close to a decade I lived on the fringes of society. By today's standards I would be considered homeless as I officially had no fixed address.
The closest thing I had during this decade that remotely can be considered a fixed address was when I lived aboard a 25 foot sailbot but that was even dubious. It was against the law to be a liveaboard in the harbor, but the law was selectively enforced. I was considered one of the good guys.
I had a quiet conversation with a harbor cop over this. When I asked what the deal was he grew sort of 'Joe Friday'-ish.
"It is hereby against the law to live aboard a vessel in this harbor. However, it is recognized that fishermen work hard and work odd hours. Sometimes they get tired and need a nap. Your boat is registered as a fishing boat and that makes you a fisherman. We would like it if you are not working or taking a nap that you keep your eyes open and report any suspicous activity," He said.
"Got it," I replied.
That was as close as I had during the decade plus to having a legitimate address.
Anyway, during that time I noticed that there were a lot of people living outside the fringes of society that seemed to alway be getting ripped off or otherwise being victims of some sort of crime or misfortune.
In fact I know for sure of two murders that took place over drugs and I believe to this date neither of them were ever solved. One of them I believe to be a sniping with a hunting rifle and the other was a basic shooting of opportunity. I knew neither of the two victims, though.
Most of these were immersed in the drug culture in some form or another. Looking back on it, most of the crimes went unreported. Actually it makes sense when you think about it.
How do you report that you have been beaten up for ripping someone off for a couple ounces of cocaine?
Incidentally one of the places I lived where there were kindred souls was on board my boat. There was an interesting community there and the thing I notice looking back on it is that we all had goals and dreams while the drug/criminal set on the streets didn't. They were looking for their next high or rip-off to pull so as to get high.
Frankly it was none of my doings and I really didn't want to get wrapped up in it.
Looking back on things I can say that it is likely that I didn't get wrapped up in being stoned all the time is because I had my dreams to follow and refused to let cocaine get in the way.
I suppose I did party like an animal by stateside standards but by local standards I was kind of a light weight.
This isn't to say I wouldn't pull a cork frequently, and the week before Christmas until a few days after I frequently lived in a whisky bottle. What it does mean is that I didn't sidetrack from my dreams for any appreciable amount of time.
I've kicked this around on a police forum board and from what some seem to think is that most of the victims they run into are not snow white and that most victimization can be avoided simply by avoiding the wrong people to begin with.
I suppose it's pretty hard to get ripped off for $2500 worth of coke if you don't have any. You're also not likely to get the living daylights beat out of you for selling stepped-on coke if you don't sell it.
I think I managed to walk the edge of being around a lot of stuff and not get dragged into it quite nicely. Truth is if someone asked me where they could buy a gram of blow I would tell them as a favor if I trusted them. Sometimes the dealer would look me up and offer me a few bucks as a finder's fee but I'd refuse because by accepting it I knew it would make me a party to it.
I'd also tell someone looking for a whore where to look and if the hooker offered me a finder's fee I'd let her buy me a beer and I'd call it good.
When I decided to follow my dream and buy myself a sailboat I simply focused on that. I was living in a trailer next to a bar/liquor store and had a gig there both keeping the club and the store in repairs and upgrades as needed.
I suppose I could have drummed a lot of cash up quick via the dope route but I chose the carpentry route and did a few odd jobs and kept books to make sure I could cover myself come tax time.
I found out that a lot of self-employed people got whaled by the IRS when they tried to play it coy and didn't report their income. I paid my taxes.
Meanwhile a lot of people around me were dying like flies.
While most came from fishing accidents, there were a lot of other things killing young people off. Flying accidents were another thing but these as well as fishing were legitimate.
I knew a pair of brothers that died of overdoses. There were also a number of other drug and drug related lifestyle things that killed people off, too. These were people I knew and was friendly towards.
Still, I plugged away at my goal to be a sailboat owner and finally I flew to Seattle and in a borrowed car hit the road and located one after a hunt of about two weeks, living out of the car.
I looked like a bum and although I had credibility issues with yacht brokers, the truth is I was running around with over $10K in the inside pocket of an old flight jacket. Nobody bothered me as I looked like a bum.
I guess I can attribute my not having the problems most of my fellow street people seemed to simply by not getting involved in things that seemed to breed problems.
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