Inhalants Awareness Day at Theodore Dreiser Middle School

May 31, 2011

Like magic and God's love, it's invisible and all around you.

Who knows what this is? Anyone? Laurie Anne?

That’s right, it’s a sock. You put it on your foot to keep your shoes from getting smelly. And to slide around the living room like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

You’re right, Principal Andrews. Absolutely right. None of you kids have probably seen Risky Business. Nor should you for a few years yet. And it is unwise to slide around in your socks.

It is also unwise to spray any number of aerosolized substances into this sock and inhale them.

That’s right. Ewww. Nobody wants to breathe rapidly in and out on a dirty old sock, do they?

No, Casio, you don’t. Put your hand back down.

And of course we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that non-aerosolized substances could also be applied to this sock and inhaled for a very short-lived if incredibly intense high. You could put paint thinner on this gross old sock and get stoned to the bejeebus belt…

You’re absolutely right, Pricipal Andrews. That was probably out of line. Kids, I was quoting just then from Caddyshack, which again you probably have not seen…

Caden, Hunter, put your hands down, please.

…and which you maybe should not see for a few years yet. Although when you are legally entitled to watch Caddyshack, you should.

Vice-principal Matthews, you’re probably thinking to yourselves, why would someone want to take the compressed air computer cleaner from their father’s home office desk drawer and-without tipping the can, because that’s how you freezer-burn your lungs-inhale the contents from that can? Why would someone want to go out into their parent’s garage and just open the lids on things and breathe deeply and repeatedly until the world is bathed in a syrupy haze?

Because life is hard. And although the inhalants will ultimately betray you, they will tell you they can make things better. Just for a little while. And I would be lying if I tried to claim that in the short term, the inhalants were relating falsehoods to you in their near-inaudible angel’s voices.

They can make it better. But only for a little while. Because while inhalants are cheap-you could take this old dirty sock, for instance, and get free gasoline from the filling station, excess gas in the hose you could pour just a dribble of onto…

…I’m sorry, Principal Andrews. I was just trying to inform them. But maybe you’d like to do this instead?


You see children, Principal Andrews doesn’t need inhalants. Because he has power.

Those who are drunk on power don’t need anything else. But for the rest of us, we must resist the inhalant’s siren song.

Because as shitty as life can be, kids, it can always get worse.



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