I GOT A NEW DRUG
He really does. And he says it's better than any pot he's ever smoked, and he can get as much of it as he wants— any time he wants—and what's more, it's free. Interested?
I want to tell you about a new drug. A fabulous drug, better than grass. It costs practically nothing; gets you higher than Colombian Gold in a profound, lasting way; doesn't give you a hangover the next day. And best of all—it's legal.
You know that song by Huey Lewis and the News, "I Wanna New Drug"? Well, this is the one he's talking about.
Remember, he wants one "that don't cost too much" but "makes you feel real good." Well, this one doesn't cost a cent and it allows you to feel just about as good as it's humanly possible to feel. And it's all natural, nonsynthetic, guaranteed not to cause any adverse bodily reaction. And no hangover. None. The only thing you get that approaches a hangover is the desire to get some of this drug into your system every day, because it feels so great. And it's not merely a narcissistic pleasure trip. It gives you enthusiasm for dealing with complex people and the difficult problems of life; it doesn't make you withdraw. On the contrary, scientific studies have proven that it's a dependable nontoxic antidepressant that can reawaken the sense of joy in living life fully, that sense that many often lack. It motivates your best instincts.
And that's not all. It's the perfect drug for dealing with stress. It doesn't forcibly tranquilize you, it just gives you such a powerful feeling of confidence and well-being that the multiple annoyances of life no longer trigger your adrenalinjangled fright-flight mechanism to the point of overload.
What's more, it's always available, and available in a pure, unadulterated form. No more endless hanging around dope dealers' pads hoping you'll be able to be there the one day every five years some genuine Jamaican lamb's bread comes through, while putting up with stale Colombian or soporific indica for the long stretches in between.
No, if you follow my directions carefully you'll be able to get enough of this drug every single day to completely satisfy you. As your Connoisseur, as the one man in America who knows best in these matters, I stake my reputation on my judgment that this drug is superior to any marijuana I've ever smoked— except maybe that Philippine grass— the Thrilla from Manila—that's disappeared from the market, anyway. Let's put it this way: You give the Connoisseur a choice between smoking the finest grass available in America on any given day, and this drug; a choice between spending the day without one or the other, and "R" will unhesitatingly choose this one.
I guess by now a few of you might be interested in learning what this amazing substance is. But I'm not going to tell you.
No, just kidding. I'll tell you, but I'm a little worried that some of you are going to be taken aback; it's going to be too much for you to accept. But what the hell, you're the ones who'll be missing out on the greatest drug experience known to man.
The drug is called "beta-endorphin." You get it, free, from your own body, simply by running half an hour a day at least five times a week. Think of it: that's a mere 150 minutes—you spend at least that much time on the phone trying to reach your dealer or waiting around in his—
Booo. Hiss. Get him out of there.
I knew this would happen. There are some people who are going to take this column the wrong way. A whole new sackful of angry letters to HIGH TIMES protesting another controversial Connoisseur column. "What's going on here? One month he came out in favor of prayer. He's asked us to boycott indica, told us to give up grass entirely for a month at a time. What is this guy, antidrug or something?"
No. Let me try to explain once again. I'm not for or against drugs as a category. I am for a broader definition of "drugs," one which would include substances produced by our own body that have yet to be declared illegal, but which nonetheless get us high. That's what this column has always been about: Getting high, not getting drugs. The name of the magazine, you might have noticed, is HIGH TIMES, not Drug Times. Founder Tom Forcade wanted a magazine that covered the phenomenon of "getting high... really high," and though I can't quite picture Tom in jogging clothes— his most strenuous exercise was turning the volume up on his monstrous speakers—nonetheless, I'm convinced he'd understand what I'm doing when I write about the runner's high. And besides, grass is so appallingly bad these days, Tom would be shocked at what garbage is being sold under the name "ganja" ; hed understand that one has to turn somewhere else for pleasure, even if it's to one's own brain.
The brain, you see, is the source of beta-endorphin, the body's own opiate, a many-times more concentrated highpower than any natural opiate, or heroin. And all you have to do to tap it is spend two and a half hours a week going for it. And you'll soon want to. And soon, that won't be enough. You'll want more and you'll get more, and your mind and your body will grow healthier and you'll experience the daily bliss of a soaring high of well-being, and you'll feel generous and loving toward your fellow humans, and you'll look better, feel sexier, live longer...
These are not the ravings of a cult groupie, nor the religious euphoria of a Calvin Klein-clad jogging-suited Yuppie. This is someone who knows a pretty good range of the exquisite highs available to man's sensorium, and would choose this high for the pleasure alone, even if it took years off my life.
It's that good.
Do you know the story of beta-endorphin? How the name endorphin is formed by a fusion of "endogenous [internal] morphine." How it's been shown to be produced in the brain as a reaction to prolonged physical exertion, pain or stressing of the organism. How some scientists believe that it's the secret of the acupuncture effect—piercing the skin with needles triggers release of the body's powerful natural painkiller. How its role in running probably served an important evolutionary function. Release of endorphins allowed hunters for hungry tribes to range miles further in their search for game, and lifted their spirits enough to run back to their families with it. So the activity of running to trigger endorphins is not some suburbanfitness-craze aberration, but a fulfillment of our very evolutionary nature.
In fact, I think historians of our era will come to recognize that the suburban-fitness, jogging craze was, in fact, a drug-addictive phenomenon. All the Yuppies out there becoming as addicted to their own internal morphine as the urban junkies (the Juppies) are to street heroin. And how all of it is part of a deeper phenomenon—the desire to be in touch with the undistorted precivilized high of natural man.
Not that the high itself is Neanderthal in any way. It's exquisite, dreamy, thoughtful, energetic; it taps the deepest, most ‘complex levels of consciousness, allows you to solve problems, to
come up with creative solutions to work and play by tapping all levels of being. And it just feels—in the most purely sensuous, hedonistic sense—terrific. And lasts a long time. Rim in the morning and you'll be buoyed up by the postrun release of endorphins till you fall asleep at night.
There's one problem. Talking about running to those people who haven't experienced the high is like talking about a psychedelic trip to someone who's afraid to try it. You just can't explain it in words. It's like trying to tell a stranger about rock 'ri roll. And the other thing: It doesn't happen right away. The first few times you'll feel sore rather than high, and you'll be tempted to write abusive letters to HIGH TIMES. But stay with it. Eventually, you'll be eternally grateful to the Connoisseur for turning you on to a drug experience you might otherwise have missed.
Here's some other advice designed to help you get over the first two-week
hard part and into the lifelong high part:
—Run on dirt or grass rather than pavement. If you have to run on pavement, wear well-cushioned sneakers.
—Ease into it gradually. You probably won't be able to run a full half hour at first. Go slowly, run awhile, when you tire, walk briskly, run a little more, then walk again. But just keep doing it, three times a week minimum.
—Don't give up. It's been scientifically verified that everyone has beta-endorphin in their brain, and that running is a reliable way to tap it. If you're tempted to give up, reread this column and say to yourself, " 'R' has never been wrong about highs before, everybody knows he knows what he's talking about. He wouldn't be writing this enthusiastically if he wasn't confident I'd get really high this way and then be eternally grateful to him." □