This particular year our choice of getting a buzz was cutex nail polish remover and every household had it and if there was more than one female in the house no one kept track of it. All the neighbourhood stores sold it and in the beginning before the entire neighbourhood’s youth were found to be sniffing it, it was not uncommon for a kid to buy it for his mom. The use of cutex nail polish remover to get high by children of all ages in my neighbourhood grew to epidemic proportions before the adults even knew we were doing it. In fact not until little stores started to report the thefts of it did the police start to put it together and began to realize what a problem this was turning into. Here is one of my more memorable trips and it only took ten deep breaths and millions of my brain cells.
I slid the plastic bread bag over my nose and mouth and took ten large breaths. I was on the way to wonder land before the tenth inhale as the bag contained a generous amount of cutex nail polish remover. We were in our club house which was located floor on the third floor of an old shed building. We had been talking about God and religion just before we started to inhale and that seemed to be affecting my high. The guy whose mother owned the shed was not in the club house yet, but he was a member of the gang if not a high-ranking one. I was thinking about God and standing in the mouth of the doorway when the last member of our group started up the long stairs. Having gone to Sunday school and church all of my life my hallucinations were getting a religious flavour and this was not good for the guy coming up the stairs.
The shed in my mind was being transformed into heaven and I was God. My other friends were angels and the guy coming up from hell was the devil. The stairs were straight and you could see right down to the bottom. As he started up the first section of stairs I threw down a small stone and told him that he would not be allowed to enter heaven. Everyone thought it to be funny at first and we all laughed and the devil kept coming. I kept telling him that if he kept trying to climb the ladder to heaven I would be forced to use more drastic measures and again we all laughed and he kept on coming up the stairs to the next landing and the brick that I had thrown bounced of a wall and hit him in the ankle. Down he went howling in pain holding his ankle and looking up at me. He was not moving now and no body was laughing any more.
The rest of the gang was trying desperately to talk me down and the leader was threatening me with a sound beating if I continued to throw things at the person’s whose shed we were using as a club house. I was not afraid of him to begin with so now that I was feeling like God, I turned to him with a sneer and said, “Maybe you should be down in hell with him fallen angel.” He smiled with a look of confidence and told the guy in the stairs to come ahead.
It was at this moment that I picked up an old board with a nail on it and said,” take your hell spawn get back to hell with you Satan, or I will smote you with this club. The guys on top tried to rush me, but I swung the stick in a wide arc and they all jumped back. The guy in the stairwell had not dared budge, but he never took his eyes from me. I was at the peak of my hallucination now and felt that if I was to send Satan back to hell it had to be soon.
I raised the club nail protruding to the front and slowly began descending down the stairs towards the guy who was slowly backing down the stairs. I said, “It is too late for that now, I have decided to rid the world of you once and for all. I swung the club with all of my might and just missed him as he ducked through the door at the bottom of the shed. The nail pierced the tin and stuck in the wooden wall of the shed. If I had hit him in the head as I tried to do he would be dead today.
When I stepped out into the sun the glare had an awakening affect and I came to, hard and fast. I was surrounded by the gang and they were not amused. I did not get a chance to recover before the leader of our gang shoved me hard in the chest calling me all kinds of names and saying he should kick my butt. The fight was on in the middle of the street and we nearly got hit by a passing cab. It screeched to a halt and I heard a familiar voice asking me why I was not in school. The person driving the cab was my uncle, the passenger was one of the high-ranking members of the gang’s mother and we were all now in deep trouble. They told us to all get back to school and stop the fighting. The cab left and we stopped fighting and I listened as the gang told me how I was speaking funny and acting weird, saying dumb stuff like they should all kneel down to God. We all started to laugh again, but I do not think any of us ever really forgot it. I never did as is evidenced by my telling of this story now.
Friends again, we soon forgot the real danger of what had almost happened and in the days to come continued to sniff cutex remover. It wasn’t until the big meeting of all the parents and youth in our area was called to discuss the serious problems related to sniffing things like paint thinner and nail polish remover that we stopped. They talked about your brain cells dying and not getting them back that scared us. When they talked of the permanent brain damage and the possibility of dying that stopped us.
This was not to be the end of taking drugs for us, but merely another adventure in a long saga of drug addiction, alcoholism; failed marriages ruined lives and shattered dreams that stayed with us through adult hood with some of us still there.
Does anyone still want to try gasoline, paint thinner, or my personal favourite at the time cutex nail polish remover? It will kill you for sure and at best kill off your brain cells. The truth is they do not grow back once they are dead that is it. If you lose enough in a certain section you lose whatever function that section of the brain controlled. If you lose enough brain cells you just stop existing, you are no more, you are dead.