People say there are things that should be taught in school but they are never in the curriculum. I graduated from Harvard with high honors (Magna cum laude). That’s very good. Yet I was completely uninformed about predatory people. It would have been fascinating to my student self to learn that people notice the things you have and do not have and draw conclusions about how useful you would be to fiurthering their own drug habit if they could get you addicted. People are not necessarily nice becauise they like a person or find the person attractive. People are intentionally friendly to targets. People who have jobs that they go to every work day. People notice what kind of card you put into an ATM. Is it one of those pre-paid cards for people who do not have bank accounts and seldom get money but they need a legitimate account in their own names into which the federal government can deposit stimulus checks. Or do they carry a card from a physical, local bank. This means they have not overdrawn their account so severely or at so many local banks that no bank will allow them to open a checking account because they are on a list the banks share. This ATM card indicates their name still has some credibility at the very least, and they are likely to have a regular source of income in the form of employment, disability, welfare. These sources of income are not held in equal esteem but each of them will disqualify a person by firing them or cutting of their benefits if fraud is discovered. Predators do not need the card in their possesion to make use of the account. I recently discovered that some places will allow a customer to punch the numbers of a card that is not in their possession into the keypad at the register. If the place is a small store they are far less likely to require a pin number for a purchase because the merchants have to pay a fee every time a customer uses a pin number instead of a transaction going through if there is enough money in the account to cover the cost of the purchase. If I had known any of these tactics of predators, I would have understood the motives of the inexplicably friendly, exciting new people I had met, when on Christmas break from my Manhattan private school teaching job. It would have made all of the difference to know that anyone, and I do mean anyone, who encourages a person who has never used drugs to use hard drugs, with the promise that not everyone experiences negative consequences from drug use. I would have been tipped off when I saw, or did not see, that this new crowd had no visible means of support. How were they getting the money to live without jobs. How helpful would it have been to know that people can make a living off of victimizing others. If I could have seen myself through their eyes I would have known that I was almost a perfect target. I knew nothing about drugs, including what they looked like. I had a good job that I went to every day. I had no significant other, or anyone looking out for me. And I wanted friends. If they could get a person who knows nothing about addiction to start using a drug, that person will be unable to imagine that they could ever lose control over what they are doing. In fact, it is likely that an inexperienced person would not believe in the existence of addiction or any compulsion beyond one’s mental control. Combine all of that vulnerability with the feeling of complete invulnerability that is natural for 23 year olds and there you have it! The perfect mark gift wrapped in a bow for the use and disposal of scammers and dope pushers who all the while smiled and offered me the chance to experience something new. Once or twice. Where was the harm? I would discover the answer was far more radical than I would have been able to imagine because the truth of drug addiction is that it is in a parallel world co-existing and only intermittently overlapping with the world I thought I knew as a new Harvard grad and young professional. The decision to try drugs was one of the few experiences that I believe was a truly innocent mistake on my part. I knew what i had been taught in school because I was dedicated student as an orphan. All other lessons I have had to learn from experience. To put a positive spin on what happened, at least I can say it has been interesting. If you have come to this point in the writing it is obvious that your interest has been held by the story of the young woman who started smoking she knew not what out of a short glass tube, half way through her second year of teaching and her Master’s degree. Thank you, Caroleena, Tuesday July 27, 2021
I want to give you some if my thinking in the early days of the blog. In a nutshell, I went to crack bc I had done everything I was supposed to do to be successful and happy yet I still felt empty. I met some new people. I was desperate to stop feeling all the hurt and emptiness and no action seemed like self pity.