When I was a kid, my parents got me a book called The Good Drug and The Bad Drug, which, if I remember correctly, described the effects of a whole bunch of drugs, and probably had some kind of lecture as to why I shouldn’t use any of the “bad” drugs.
Instead, I used it as a guide as to which drugs I was interested in trying when I got older (alcohol, marijuana), which ones I’d never try (tobacco, heroin) and which ones seemed scary but kinda cool (cocaine, LSD). Which, I’m guessing, probably wasn’t the point.
BTW, doing a little bit of research, it turns out that The Good Drug and The Bad Drug was John S. Marr, who — of course — went on to renown as the guitarist of The Smiths. OK, not really, but according to Wikipedia, we was a consultant for Bill Cosby, whose anti-drug campaigns of the early 1970s include an NBC TV special and the immortal Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs album, both of which I consumed as a kid, because I thought Bill Cosby was awesome and hilarious.
And he clearly knew a lot about drugs, as well.
Fast-forward a couple of decades later and I’d tried the drugs that I was going to try. And for some reason I still quite can’t explain they suddenly lost their appeal to me. Except for alcohol, of course. Maybe because of the toll I’d seen them take on my family and friends, or maybe because I felt like I’d been lucky to waltz through the minefield of my own bad behavior and come out with everything relatively intact.
And I think that’s what John Easdale is getting at with “Don’t Feel Like Doing Drugs.” While his experiences seem more desperate than mine — and his drummer was certainly better — I kinda knew what he meant when he sang:
Always lookin’ for an alibi
A sad excuse, what’s the use?
A kinda thing that woulda never crossed my mind
Just say no . . . duh!
It was the “duh” that always got me. As far as I was concerned, it turned the whole “Just Say No” campaign on its head. To me that campaign was an edict, an imperative, a command from people who purported to be our betters. It was also complete and utter denial of a very basic fact about human beings — fucking with your consciousness is one of the most interesting things about having a consciousness in the first place.
“JUST SAY NO” reduced an incredibly complicated topic to black-and-white. And that ain’t how drugs work.
But Easdale’s “duh” was an expression of his choice. To not do drugs. Right now. But reserving the right to do them at some point in the future. Or not. The whole point was the choice. His choice. My choice.
Fan-made video for “Don’t Feel Like Doing Drugs”