Close encounters of the meth kind

According to recent statistics, there may more than one-half-million methamphetamine abusers hurrying hither and yon through the great state of California at this very minute.

Marvelous …

With those kind of population estimates, one can rest assured that there’s a pretty good chance each and every one of us will have an opportunity to encounter one of these enthusiastic, but notoriously short-tempered stimulant abusers, as we go about our day-to-day affairs.

And virtually anything can happen during one of these unexpected meetings.

Sometimes it’s a long-lost old buddy you never met.

One minute you’re strolling down the sidewalk at one with the blue skies, sunshine and chirping ravens, and the next you’re being bear-hugged by a a skeletal guy with wide eyes and a toothless grin.

“Duuuude, where ya been?! I haven’t seen you since high school graduation when we were in the Navy! Whaddya-whaddya? Still got that Buddha opium pipe? Whadda blast! Yer lookin’ good, buddy! How was Saskatchewan?”

Listen carefully, amigos: It doesn’t matter that you don’t remember this guy from high school. It doesn’t matter that you were never in the Navy, smoked opium from a Buddha-shaped pipe or ever visited Saskatchewan. Whatever you do, don’t try to deny any of this.

If you do, you’ll never get rid of this new meth-fueled friend, because he’ll spend the rest of the day trying to explain, quite vehemently, how you were a chief petty officer aboard the U.S.S. Swampus and both of you got obliterated on primo hashish during a three-day binge in a Saskatchewan trailer park in 1989.

Just keep nodding, smiling and agreeing and, eventually, your new acquaintance will blink rapidly 15 or 20 times and walk rapidly away while humming “Stairway to Heaven” really, really fast.

Unfortunately, your experiences may go beyond the chance encounter with a friend you never had. With 500,000 meth users galloping off in all directions statewide, you may discover that your gardener, physician, attorney or auto mechanic also may have fallen victim to the illegal stimulant.

If your gardener shows up one Saturday morning, promptly mows your lawn 15 times and then asks “Hey, where’s your lawnmower?” it would be safe for you to presume that methamphetamine might be involved.

Just keep him away from the chain saw …

When your normally slow-moving mechanic is suddenly in a big, big hurry and quickly replaces your car’s spark plugs with banana slugs, he also may be powered by meth. And if he insists that those banana slugs are way better than spark plugs, it’s a pretty good bet that he’s had a close encounter with the drug. Thank him profusely and, if your hyperactive gardener is still hanging around, have him help push your car to another repair facility.

Finally, if you go in for a check-up and it appears that your health care provider may have been self-medicating with methamphetamine, remember that surgery is no longer an option for anything – not even a nose-hair trimming.

Really, amigos. I wouldn’t kid you on this …

Originally published on May 6, 2007