What was this article about drug use?
November 14, 2011 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I read a passage about a writer's drug use, and the drug use of his friends. The gist was "we wanted the party to go on too long, but the price was too high" and it had a list of people and what had happened to them (dead, liver disease, etc.). It was very touching. It might have been Kerouac. Does this ring any bells for anyone?
posted by teraspawn to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
If I remember correctly, it a coda at the end of A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K. Dick.
It's been a long time since I read the book, but I've seen the movie recently and it ends exactly that way.
posted by el riesgo sempre vive at 1:34 PM on November 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

sorry, it 'was' a coda.
Typing too fast and not previewing.
posted by el riesgo sempre vive at 1:35 PM on November 14, 2011

Yes, it's definitely the end to A Scanner Darkly.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:39 PM on November 14, 2011

Best answer:
This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed -- run over, maimed, destroyed -- but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it. For example, while I was writing this I learned that the person on whom the character Jerry Fabin is based killed himself. My friend on whom I based the character Ernie Luckman died before I began the novel. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each.

Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error, a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. "Take the cash and let the credit go," as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime.

There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled; it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because anyone of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself, I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful.

If there was any "sin," it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all. Here is the list, to whom I dedicate my love:

To Gaylene deceased
To Ray deceased
To Francy permanent psychosis
To Kathy permanent brain damage
To Jim deceased
To Val massive permanent brain damage
To Nancy permanent psychosis
To Joanne permanent brain damage
To Maren deceased
To Nick deceased
To Terry deceased
To Dennis deceased
To Phil permanent pancreatic damage
To Sue permanent vascular damage
To Jerri permanent psychosis and vascular

...and so forth.

In Memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
posted by griphus at 1:47 PM on November 14, 2011 [25 favorites]

As a point, the "Phil" that he references is himself.
posted by griphus at 1:48 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: AskMe, you always deliver :)
posted by teraspawn at 1:59 PM on November 14, 2011

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