the ramones almost killed my ass

for about a month (or maybe 2, i honestly don't remember), i had been a diet pill addict. the pills were called YELLOWJACKETS, and ran for about a-buck-thirty for 3 pills. the active drug in them was called ephedrine, which (later on i was told) is one of the main ingredients in crystal meth. they also contain alot of herbal uppers, like ginseng, as well as caffeine.

these things will wire your ass.

the rules i imposed on myself before and during my "speeding ventures" were as follows:

get 6-8 hours of sleep each night... make sure you eat something, preferrably with meat in it, beforehand... get plenty of water in your system to stay hydrated... and NO CAFFEINE (like coffee or pepsi).

even with these guidelines (which, in retrospect, i think i made up along the way), i still developed the characteristics of your typical speed-freak:

mean, irritable, paranoid, and uptight behavior, the shakes, and i was dropping weight like a poseur drops band names.

i believe i may have ADD. i can never concentrate at work. i daydream alot, i'm the slowest motherfucker you'd ever work with, and i'm constantly trying to come up with short-cuts. i just can't get the hang of anything. and i was becoming fat. not that it matters, but i really liked how i looked and felt when i was thin (my stepmother was a health food, fat-free idiot). so i thought maybe these problems could be corrected with a little bit of a booster.

i didn't wanna do the no-dose thing, because i always heard bad things about it, and i figured if i wanted caffeine i could chug down a bunch of coffee. then one day, i came accrossed yellowjackets. it said on the package "HERBAL ENERGIZER", and i thought, "COOL!" herbal, to me, always meant natural and good for you. and it was a pack of 3 for less than a dollar fifty.

so i bought em and started taking them.

about 4 or 5 days a week i would be all wired and flying through my work with no problems. speed makes you motivated to keep moving (which is what makes it a diet product), and gives you the illusion that you're stronger. i would take one when i got to work, one after lunch break, and sometimes, one after work. then gradually i could feel myself wanting to take them more and more.

i started wanting them on the weekends, too. i even got my girlfriend to take em a couple times with me. we had fun!!!

once we fucked like porn stars in the back of my van (i guess speed makes you horny, too), and another time we went to the movies, forgetting not to buy a large mountain dew while watching the nail-biting "murder by numbers". haha, when we left the theater we were walking so fast our legs hurt by the time we got to the car.

so let's review: speed makes you a paranoid asshole who can't sit still and always wants to fuck.

sure, it's fun! but here's another important piece of info: once you're addicted to one type of pill, you're gonna be addicted to EVERY type of pill. diet pills are a gateway. you'll probably take anything someone gives you, as long as the right words are presented with it. and those temptations were definately starting to creep up in me.

but thank gawd for THE RAMONES.

i know, you thought the title of this essay was a mistake right? WRONG!!! the ramones are in here, really. it's just a little further, and then you'll see, stay with with me.

after my aunt (a former drug addict) told me that they use ephedrine to make crystal meth, i heard all sorts of horror stories about this shit. one friend told me that some kid took it the first time and his heart beat so fast it stopped and he died. this was the story that fucked with me the most, even though i said the story was bullshit and insisted that i was alright.

but i wasn't alright. by this time (about a week before i quit cold turkey, but we'll get to that in a minute) i was taking them every day. i just thought it was fun and that i was finally getting the kick in the ass i needed to be a good worker. and i swore to my aunt and my girlfriend that i wasn't going to take them anymore. yeah, i LIED.

one of my jobs at the ford dealership (besides being the janitor) was to provide the service department's customers transportation to and from the service department (the garage). one day, i was driving down PA route 60 (the major highway that goes through new castle) in the company van, listening to the ramones' "all the stuff and more", bouncing up and down behind the wheel and singing along. it got to the last 2 tracks, which are live versions of "california sun" and "i don't wanna walk around with you". if you know anything about the ramones, you know that they're even faster and harder live than they are on their records. i was pogoing in the driver's seat and getting so excited that i sent my heart into overtime.

when your heart beats so fast, you get all these symptoms: dizziness, pins and needles, cold hands, distorted perception (like the way everything looks when you're high), heavy breathing, and the list goes on. these symptoms are also common in heart attack victims. so after all these stories i heard about people who took yellowjackets and died, i started thinking i was dying, too.

and i had what's called a PANIC ATTACK.

by this time i had already picked up the old lady i was sent to retrieve, and i'm freakin out. i had to pull over to the side of the highway, and she's askin me all these questions, and i spilled my guts about taking this shit that was helping me stay alert and keep my mind on my work and lose weight. all i could think about was getting something to drink and some air and getting to the ER so i could live to see another day with my girlfriend.

we got off at the next exit and i got halfway to the dealership when i pulled over at mcdonalds to get some water. and i had to argue with the bastards cos i didn't have any money!!! ever had someone tell you you can't have what you want while you're wiggin out? it goes something like this...

"hello, welcome to mcdonald's, would you like to try an extra value-"

"no, i need WATER!!!"

"okay, anything-"

"no! just water!!! PLEASE!!!"

"okay, that'll be one-O-six, please pull-"

"ummmm... i need a FREE water, please!!! oh GAWD, please..."

old lady in the passenger seat: "HE'S ILL!!!"

by now the manager is at the pay window. "okay... please pull around..."

we get the water and i pull around to the parking area and call my manager and spill my guts to him and tell him to come pick up this poor senior citizen being held captive by me.

we get back to the garage and i call poison control, still fucked up. at first they thought i got STUNG by a yellowjacket. after i finally got through to them that a yellowjacket is an over-the-counter diet pill, they told me to get to the emergency room.

so i got someone to take me to the ER, and this BITCH of a nurse is treating me like a fuckin drug addict. i was there for like 2 hours before they finally gave me some kind of downer (paxil?) to level me out.

needless to say i stifled my temptations to take any more of that shit. now i'm terrified of pills. this isn't an anti-drug lecture. do what you want, it's your life and your body. just make sure you know what you're doing beforehand.