It’s so bad that cocaine is so cool
I’ve seen people hunched over white powder strewn on countertops and cut up with razor blades into fine lines. Then, they fucking danced, drank, and trembled ecstatically in the wake of hipster electro-punk dirges, like Quakers at some incestuous, pseudo-sermon. How bizarre. It is bizarre, being accosted by the reality of hard drugs while transitioning to a city college, myself previously only being used to the ominously potent pot plants of the rednecks of rurality. Additionally, Adderall is a veritable right of passage in college. It seems so playfully hysterical to see somebody suspiciously wide-eyed and spitting fire into their keyboard at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday night in the lib. Cocaine, however, threw me off.
The first thing I learned about cocaine at Fordham was that the nervous fellow I bought weed from the first week of school sold it, presumably as overpriced as his other product. Upon learning this, my mother’s permeating maxim echoed in my head: “Cocaine es no bueno.” That being said, I was fascinated.
I started to do my research with respect to information pertinent to Fordham, and dug up several anecdotes, which lead me to believe that not only was this polite, charming young entrepreneur not an anomaly, but that in fact he set a subcultural standard. People told me of times at bars or at parties where they drunkenly sniffed out this subculture in small doses, taking an impulsive bump and consequently crossing the deed off their bucket list. And of course, with these encounters, my curiosity grew.
Eventually I came into contact with accounts of a higher intensity. Imagine: you’re standing, drunk and disheveled, swishing around the eclectic aftertaste in your mouth from all the liquor that brought you to a late-night gathering at an acquaintance’s apartment, when suddenly, you witness a disturbing amount of cocaine and cash exchanged between two young men. These men were almost definitely affiliated with the sale of cocaine at Fordham.
Cocaine is systematically distributed to this area. This is evident both in purchases akin to that of the large-quantity drug deal and in the prevalence of individual dealers accessible to students. Twice, in interacting with mere friends of acquaintances, I have received a short but enthusiastic invitation to buy coke. Here it is important to remember that not only is cocaine distributed, but it is also purchased. I feel that people outside of Fordham’s cocaine culture don’t recognize the systematic nature of its distribution to Fordham, as well as the fact that the systematic distribution is due to Fordham students actually purchasing the stuff.
Furthermore, I feel there is a mentality of the act of doing cocaine as being highly stylish, sexy, and liberatingly deviant. This might even be grounded in how the experience feels, but nevertheless, I think it’s especially malicious to aestheticize cocaine. When cocaine is painted in this way, it is in pursuit of a particular aesthetic. For example, over this summer, I went to an underground Brooklyn EDM dance party. I remember seeing a topless girl with black tape on her nipples mesmerizingly gyrating her torso and slowly raising her buoyant arms above her head. She was surreal and purple in the cool lights. Stylish. Sexy. Liberating and deviant. Then, she dipped into the bathroom with a friend, shut the canvas-covered door behind them, and cast a silhouette of a figure with its nose pressed ravenously against the corner of the bathroom sink.
Upon reflection, this actually seems and, I would assume, was extremely fun. However, I think there are two stipulations to this fun. One: most of the time one is not in a context that would yield this amount of fun with the drug, but rather the aesthetic of this type of scenario is imposed on the much more common and, in comparison, lackluster settings in which college kids do cocaine. Two: however enormously fun doing cocaine would be, particularly in a scenario that lends itself to the drug, the loss of control and the consequences of this loss are too large and realistic possible outcomes of partaking in this fun. Though all this is tough to consider when we are already in an altered state of mind.
Truly, then, I feel submitting to cocaine is submitting to fatalism. To shove poison—special, world-ending poison—into ones body should be a decision only to be expected of the drunk or the stoned. Most, or at least many of us have done weird or crazy shit while intoxicated. Making good decisions isn’t the specialty of the intoxicated. However, when one plans while sober to do coke (at Fordham), one is giving in to circumstantial availability. Also, and more importantly, one is ignoring ones self worth. It may be lame, cliché, or corny to shit on drug culture, but I feel like it is overwhelmingly pertinent given cocaine, as I have seen it, is the most accessible hard drug to a college student in New York. In addition, no matter the enormous ecstasy it could bring us, doing cocaine in a setting where it’s “worth it,” so to speak, means risking the loss of self-control. But then again…it would probably be pretty amazing to have my cake and eat it too.