by Chris Haire
There is absolutely no reason that salvia should be legal.
After all, marijuana is illegal.
Shrooms are illegal.
LSD is illegal.
Ecstasy is illegal.
And, if those drugs are banned, then salvia should be too.
Now, I'm not a prude. Far from it. But I'm the kind of guy that believes in consistency. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?
And despite the best efforts of Miley Cyrus to bring attention to the dangers of smoking salvia — it makes you listen to Bush, a hackass Brit band that ripped off Nirvana — salvia remains legal. For now.
Of course, if you are a loyal City Paper reader, you already knew about salvia way before Miley got all smiley for TMZ.
A few years back, we sent intrepid City Paper druganaut Herb Huffington to the corner head shop to purchase a pack of salvia. Needless to say, Herb got all kinds of fucked up. Here's what Herb had to say back in '07.
None of us were "veteran Salvia users." So, we mixed, made Purple, and packed a pretty glass bubbler with the fine, deep green powder, resembling nothing like the papery crap I'd seen in college. Everyone had a notebook and a pen ready to scribble whatever thoughts came to mind during the experience, which is advertised as a three to five minute "Gust," followed by a mellower 15- to 20-minute "Glide," leading into "the Glow" that can linger for up to two hours.
For a substance advertised as facilitating meditative experiences, the "Gust" was comprised of uncontrollable laughter on everyone's part, several "WTFs," and in my case, buckets of tears streaming uncontrollably from my eye ducts. Everyone commented that their hands felt heavy, but that their whole body had the sensation of floating. "I'm swimming in mercury," I scratched onto my pad.
Now, make no mistake, salvia will eventually be banned. It happens to nearly every mind-altering substance at some point, K2 or spice being the most recent example.
But there's one legal high that will forever stay legal, and that high is smoking dryer lint.
Here's a little Onion-style piece I wrote back in 2005 about dryer lint. Enjoy.
The Dirty Truth about Dryer Lint
Teen access to dryer lint greater than alcohol and marijuana
(Knight-Rider) Atlanta, Ga.— Claudine Galviston always tried to protect her son Jack from the evils of the world. She only bought organic foods. No sodas. No sweetened breakfast cereal. No potato chips. She only rented edited copies of blockbuster movies from her local church. No nudity. No cursing. No lewd or crude behavior. And she tried to protect her children from the influence of secular ideas. No Darwin. No Freud. No Kinsey.
However, while washing her son’s school clothes, Claudine came face-to-face with her biggest fear. She had failed to steer her son Jack away from danger. Inside of the pocket of his blue jeans, Claudine found a thumbtack-size ball of lint.
Frantically, she began to search the pockets of all of Jack’s clothes — his pants, his shorts, his jackets. She went from the washroom to the bedroom to the hallway closet. Each investigation only confirmed her deepest fears. Her son was a dryer lint user. “First I catch my daughter using Instant Messenger, chatting with complete strangers, and now I find out my son is hoarding dryer lint. What’s a parent to do?” Claudine asks.
The Alpharetta mother of two didn’t hear about the dangers lurking in her laundry room until a July 22 Dateline report entitled The Lint Trap hit the airwaves. At first, she dismissed the warning. She thought knew her children. She thought knew her son. She didn’t. The truth was earth shattering. “I couldn’t believe it. My heart started racing, and I started shaking uncontrollably,” Claudine says. “Then I realized that I was leaning against the washing machine. It was on a spin cycle.”
On the program, reporter Stone Phillips profiled a recent study released by researchers at the Texas Institute of Technology revealing that America’s teens have greater access to dryer lint than alcohol and marijuana. According to the report, an astonishing 87 percent of all teens polled said they had easy access to dryer lint, while only 68 and 41 percent said they had similar access to alcohol and marijuana, respectively.
While many are shocked by the figures, the man who started the entire dryer lint phenomenon, Marshall Field, is startled for entirely different reasons. “I can’t believe the numbers are so low. Except for a few banjo-plucking, snake-handling inbreds in the Appalachians, what kid doesn’t have everyday access to a washer and dryer,” says Field, the owner of the Liv’ ‘N’ Sin chain of drug paraphernalia superstores. “I understand that these are hard economic times, but reports like this really make me wonder about the ability of today’s parents to raise their children. I mean, clean clothes rank up there with food, shelter and Ritalin.”
Field adds, “The way I see it, the problem isn’t that young folks are smoking dryer lint. It’s that we’ve got these little pig sties in our schools. That’s why test scores are down. What student can think about the Pythagorean Theorem and when little Lucy Landfill sitting next to them smells worse than Lance Armstrong’s lucky jockstrap?”
Despite efforts made by educators at the local, state and national levels, the number of teenagers and young adults who use dryer lint continues to grow. As a result, former Drug Czar William Bennett is urging school boards across the nation to immediately adopt dryer lint education programs. “Parents need to abandon all their preconceived notions about the laundry room. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not a clean place. It’s a den of soiled clothes and, eventually, of soiled souls,” Bennett says. “A little Woolite and the delicate cycle might work for a pair of silk panties, hose and an angora sweater, but that’s not how we address the problem of dryer lint smoking. Believe me, I know.”
However, Bennett acknowledges that parents and educators face an uphill battle. The reason: dryer lint smoking is currently legal. “If we hope to stop the spread of this problem, we must apply the hot iron of justice to this wrinkle in the law. We must ban dryer lint,” Bennett says. “There is no more pressing issue in this country today.”
To combat this growing threat, some families are resorting to drastic tactics. “We no longer have a washer and dryer in our house. We send all of our clothes to the cleaners,” says Roger McCain. “We’ve had to take some money out of our children’s college funds, but that’s a small price to pay to protect our two sons.”
Unfortunately, some parents can’t afford to pay someone to dry clean their fears away. They have to take matters into their own hands. “I wash all of our clothes by hand now, and I hang them on the line,” says Kareen Washington, a Marietta mother raising her two-year-old daughter. “I have tendonitis in both hands, so it’s hard to get through an entire load, but I manage.”
Kareen has seen the affects of dryer lint abuse first hand. She used to spend nearly every waking hour inside the area’s numerous 24-hour Laundromats. She was a linthead. “Sometimes I’d go through five, maybe six, rolls of quarters a day,” Kareen says. “One time the cops found me at the Kings Cleaners curled up in a dryer covered in dryer sheets. The door was shut, and it was set to high. I could have died.”
Before she began abusing dryer lint, Kareen got pregnant by a snack machine vendor who serviced the machines at Kings. It was this man that introduced Kareen to smoking lint. “I thought [he] had it all. He always had plenty of change in his pocket, and he had the inside track on all the Laundromats in town. He knew what dryers made the most lint. He knew what type of lint traps got filled up the most. He knew what brand of dryer sheets got you the best highs,” Kareen says. “We all called him the Maytag man.”
Their relationship ended one night when Kareen caught him at one of their favorite haunts. He was helping another woman fold her clothes.
Months later, Kareen gave birth to Elizableach. As expected, there were complications brought on by her habit. “I was pushing and pushing, but my little girl wouldn’t budge an inch,” Ellie Mae says. “The doc said my cervix wasn’t dilated enough, but I knew better. It was static cling.”
Eventually, the doctor performed a C-section, and Elizableach was born, underweight and undersized. In fact, the child was smaller than when Kareen’s doctor had examined her months before. “I’ve seen it happen to wool sweaters and stuff, but I didn’t know that a baby could shrink like that,” Kareen says, tears welling up in her eyes. “If Elizableach hadn’t come early, she might have been no bigger than a cricket.”
Two years later, Elizableach is still undersized but healthy. The only other indication that she is a lint-baby is the blue tint of her skin. Doctors say the coloring will disappear over the years, but that does little to comfort Kareen. “When I was a little girl, I always thought my daughter would be Miss America or Julia Roberts. I didn’t know I’d give birth to a Smurf,” she says, pulling a tissue out of her purse and wiping her eyes. “I can’t tell you how many times a complete stranger has grabbed my child and start doing the Heimlich Maneuver.”
She adds, “I generally let them go through with it until Elizableach vomits just so I don’t have to tell them that she’s a lint-baby and I’m an ex-junkie.”
In spite of these moments, Kareen is happy. “I’ve cleaned up my life, and I didn’t need a washer and dryer to do it,” she says. “I’m finally free from the lint trap.”
For Claudine Galviston, her troubles are just beginning.
Her son Jack is now in a drug rehabilitation program where he is getting help for his addiction. So far, his progress has been poor. “He denies he smokes dryer lint, but who else but an addict would hide drugs in belly button? Nobody,” Claudine says.
Still, Claudine counts herself among the fortunate. Unlike scores of other parents across the country, her son is still alive.
Sitting in at her kitchen table, Claudine holds Jack’s senior picture in her hands. She wipes a tear from her eye. “Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for Stone Phillips,” she says. “He saved my son.”