I’m hopelessly addicted to drugs. You name a pill, syrup, lotion, cream, antacid, vitamin, tranquilizer, hormone, douche or suppository and I’ve not only taken it, but I’ve abused it. Largely because I have an addictive personality. Anything worth taking is worth taking a lot.
In all fairness, I can’t take the blame for my wayward behavior. It began the day I popped out of my mother’s womb when the pediatric nurses started basting me with petroleum jelly and baby lotion like I was a Thanksgiving turkey. In those days, babies were always covered with something. Pediatricians were convinced by the drug companies that it was dangerous for a baby’s skin to come in direct contact with the air or sunlight without a protective layer of gook. Then came the decongestant drops and saline nasal sprays they shot up my nose – which would come in handy years later when I got addicted to cocaine.
Expectant mothers today are lucky if they spend 24 hours in the maternity ward. Doctors almost recommend that new dads just leave the engine running. Thanks to new insurance guidelines, babies are delivered faster than you can lance a boil. When I was born, new mothers were allowed to wile away a week or more in the hospital after giving birth before they were sent home. That gave newborns plenty of opportunities to get strung out on all sorts of drugs and be exposed to leprosy from the guy down the hall. There wasn’t much to do in the pediatric ward as a child, so I started smoking cigarettes and hanging out with a rough bunch of newborns in “The Cribs.” We were constantly in trouble with the staff for soiling our diapers, spitting up our breakfast and peeing on people whenever they picked us up. By the time I left the hospital, I was hopelessly strung out on the Pedialyte they gave me to counter the dehydration from a week of projectile vomiting and diarrhea.