The curious similarities between Junkies and Mormons
Randy spanked his vein to attention and it swelled with blood like a cock. He quickly began fishing around for the vein's urethra with an old point he'd just sharpened on a matchbook. Soon pulling up blood, he pressed the brown juice against gravity and relaxed.
Slowly, as he nodded off, he began to grasp a sense of his imminent stardom.
Then, sinking into the couch, he reminded himself it was all just a temporary experiment, a phase, a right of passage he needed to take just to help him stay sane and survive in a world greedy capitalists had fucked up. Junkies defied the status quo... The needle dangling from his arm equated waving a middle finger at those bastards in Washington and at power-hungry cops on the street.
Randy smiled and made a low, guttural sound. He would write about it all later, when he got good at playing the guitar he didn't take out of the closet very often. He'd sing the way Burroughs spoke, detached and raunchy. With Cobain gone, somebody had to take over the mantle--why shouldn't it be him. Most everyone else, even Veder, had sold out. So why shouldn't it be him? After a few more months of education in this street school of hard knocks, he too would be able to speak in cloven tongues of fire and cut through the bullshit.
Floating along on apathetic clouds, Randy rubbed his nose raw and mumbled, 'Kurt! Fuck, man...Kurt.'
Ever since Salt Lake's premier investigative journal, the Private Eye, published Ben Fulton's superfluous article about local junkies a few months ago, the coffee shops and brew pubs of this fair valley have been a-buzz with talk about these young, green-skinned dope zombies. Having earned my Ph.D. in Primatology back at Harvard in "odd-six," and taught budding young students about Australopithecines for over 40 years, I consider myself well qualified to now extend my perusing eye at the curious hominid sub-species known popularly as "The Junkie."
While discussing "The Junkie," people often debate over cranial and cerebral anomalies, behavioral dysfunction, emotional atrophy, adolescent aspirations towards the rock and roll junkie cliché, and etc.
Undeniably, these and other characteristics may help an investigator dig under "The Junkie's" skin, so to speak. But, I thought to myself one early A.M. in a deep Socratic trance, I have seen this all before. . . As synapses opened and closed, it hit me-"The Junkie" closely parallels a phenomena all too familiar to native Utahns, "The Mormon."
Although I am sure this will not surprise many of you, some readers--esp. Junkies and Mormons--may initially resist such comparisons. In defense of my position, I simply ask critics to think for a moment about how easily and frequently ex-Mormons become Junkies as if already familiar with a territory which, on the surface, seems to exist in stark contrast with the safe, padded existence of Mormon life. (Hold onto this thought lustily, as if it were a sexual organ in your hand, and read on.)
As a scientist, allow me to compare and contrast these two categories.
First, let's compare the two groups in a binary list:
As a scientist, I find myself often amazed at how thoroughly members from each group seek to adhere to stereotype. It must be remembered though, that some diversity exists even among Mormons and Junkies. Some Mormons don't go to General Conference. Some Junkies don't go to Pioneer Park. Some Mormons don't get married in the temple. Some Junkies don't whore themselves for dope. Some Mormons don't obey their "Word of Wisdom." Some Junkies don't do speed balls. Some Mormons don't go on missions. Some Junkies don't sell.
Far from complex, both groups have analogous roles, gestures, and slang.
Let's compare just a few:
What Mormons refer to as "special," Junkies call "fucked up." Mormons ask each other, during moments of illumination, "can you feel it?" (Holy Ghost); and Junkies, at similar moments, ask, "can you feel it?" (smack). When Mormons choose to dedicate themselves fully to their cause, they announce, "I'm going on a mission," and Junkies, as they realize the depth of their commitment to heroin , will sometimes announce, "I think I'm getting strung out." Finally, Mormons give away "fast offerings" and tithing (10%). Junkies share the "wash" from their cottons (10%) as well as their (bleached?) needles with those in need. Although both groups offer little to a conversation, both can be pleasant and occasionally even generous.
Both groups have also developed ways to rationalize their behavior through denial. For Mormons, premarital intercourse is bad, but blow jobs are forgivable if you're in love; for Junkies, screwing over your buddies is bad, but sneaking a bigger chunk of the dope for yourself is forgivable if you "copped" it. Mormon men often say, "just this one blow job, honey, and then that's it" or, "we'll get married soon"; Junkies (of either sex, less sexist) often say, "just one more shot, honey," or, "we're gonna kick tomorrow."
Both groups seem to attract only knaves and the desperate. That is, only knaves and the desperate get themselves strung out, or join the Mormon church and go on Mormon missions. Although human beings, in general, are curious creatures who want to experiment, learn about new and strange things, and occasionally try to destroy themselves, only some have the capacity to defy common sense for extended periods of time. That is, while most of us drank Drano as children, sniffed glue during adolescence, and attended some religious service or banged a few speed balls in our early twenties, few choose to dedicate themselves to any one thing monomaniacally. Experimentation is all just part of growing up--like learning to drive, or that first kiss. Curiously, though, some folks end up getting caught up in such activities on a full time basis and either dedicate themselves to the Mormon religion as a convert, or missionary (sticking the Book of Mormon in their faces daily), or obsess over Heroin and poke themselves with needles.
Rather than criticize either choice, let's instead recognize the pursuit of both phenomena as the evidence of a white, middle class pathology wherein adherents to either extreme sense an emptiness in their lives that MTV alone cannot satisfy. A lucky few discover exploratory masturbation, homo/bi-sexuality, recreational sports, and/or alcohol, but the rest seek escape from middle class mayonnaise mediocrity either through Mormonism (zealously seeking to bleach their already pale souls until they feel like Scandinavian angels in clouds of cool whip), or heroin (attempting to "darken" their souls with "Mexican brown" until they feel like Home Boys, Fly Girls, and suave Cholos, or die trying).
Do either group threaten the fabric of our great land? Rarely do members of either group mean others harm. Mormons have staying power, and often remain Mormons throughout their entire lives. The guilt seems to leach away at one's willpower much slower, and yet more thoroughly than any narcotic. Like methadone, Mormonism isn't water soluble, and both seem to absorb into one's very bones.
And Junkies? In spite of the possibility that Junkies might rip you off, puke on you, or die in your apartment, more often than not they'll just sit complacently on your couch, or a public sidewalk, and scratch themselves. Through either death, boredom, or maturity, they'll eventually move on to something else.