Friday, November 25, 2005

Much Ado About Nopium

Once upon a time in a land far far away, there was a kid who was on Penikese Island. He was a self-proclaimed rebel who upon asserting he’ll never comply with the staff’s directions would promptly follow instructions. During a certain two-week period he was so good at his revolutionary compliance that he was permitted to leave the island and visit his home and family for a weekend.

On the trip home from the island he took a bus to South Station in Boston where he transferred to the train. South Station is kind of notorious as a roughish place and, to my understanding, functions almost as a sort of shopping mall for illegal substances. As the clich├ęs would insist, he was a kid in a candy shop with money burning a hole in his pocket. Being more of a recreational drug user than a self-medicator he wanted to know what the flavor of the week was. His curious mind was pleased to discover that it was opium.

Now a couple hundred years ago the streets might have been paved with opium and people might have heated their houses with it. But these days, in these parts, it’s a bit of a rare and foreign treat. So our would-be anarchist picked himself up a bag, and at length he smuggled it out to the island.

Smuggled items from candy, gum, and porno magazines to cigarettes and marijuana are a kind of capital at our school. Though there is a significant trade in such goods, frequently such material can be more useful for establishing alliances and obtaining a form of social dominance. So one day Luke Skywalker shared the baggie of opium with some of his buddies. They smoked it all down and to their confusion and surprise, no one got high.

Later that day a staff member was sitting around during a break talking with the kids about what they did over home pass. Luke talked about parting ways with one of the other students at the subway station and happened to mention “that guy who sells the opium.” A red flag went up in the staff member’s mind and he decided that a little drug test was soon to be in order.

The next morning the boys were all rounded up for a cup peeing party. The realization that their substance abusing antics were about to come to light churned their bowels and demonized their minds. One by one, each student who’d smoked for nothing, made his way to a staff confessor praying that the belated honesty would bring a lighter sentence. One by one they lost their future home passes and received the usual substance abuse fines.

About a week later the drug test results came back to our office. They were all clean. The money, the smuggling, the planning, the smoking, and the confessions were all for nothing. There was no opium, just a piece of cow patty.