All The Dumb Things

A cautionary tale in development

Cocaine is a fool’s paradise. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 1980

Posted by razzbuffnik on July 1st, 2008

After working a couple of years as a laser light show operator in the US.  I was looking for a change so I hooked up with some guys who had an electronic drag racing simulator game.  One of the guys, Mark was the son of the fellow who had invented the game and he invited me to come and stay with him in Minneapolis during the winter off-season.

Most carnies head south down to Florida for the winter, but what the heck I was always one to tread the path less travelled so I headed up north to freeze my arse off for 5 months.

When I first met Mark, I was in awe of what a go-getter he was.  Here was a guy that was 22 years old that had already bought his own house, a large pickup truck with a snow plough and a 1969 MG  “C” convertible.  Mark would work all summer in the carnival, and then he used to snow plough supermarket parking lots in the winter.  He seemed to embody the enterprising American can-do spirit.

Not only was Mark, a go-getter, he was quite athletic, being an excellent skier and ski jumper.  The cherry on top of all of this was his personality.  He was a great guy, very friendly and a lot of fun to be around.

Mark demonstrates ski jumping without skis

When I first arrived to stay with Mark it was one long non-stop party.  It was just go, go, go and I soon found out why. 

The first clue I had that things weren’t quite right with Mark were all the children’s baseball bats and various other types of clubs in nearly every corner of the house. There was a baseball bat behind the front door, another one just near the door in the kitchen two in the living room, another at the top of the stairs, one in the bathroom, and I know he kept a big one in his bedroom.

Mark was a cocaine dealer. 

There was a constant stream of people coming to Mark’s place, and because they would snort some coke while they were there, it would instantly turn into a motor-mouthing party as all the various hangers-on, gas-bagged on, about nothing in particular, but at high speed and with great enthusiasm.

It’s easy to see why cocaine is so popular as it makes everyone feel as though they are the most witty and intelligent person in the room.  It gives them confidence to make conversation (even if it is about absolutely nothing), with just about anybody, in any situation. 

No wonder they call it the party drug. 

The trouble is, that if you aren’t on coke and you’re in a room full of people high on coke, it can be extremely boring.  The reason for this is that conversation doesn’t actually happen when someone is in the presence of a cocaine user, because a person high on coke could talk the leg off a table whilst under water, but doesn’t actually converse. They just rabbit on non-stop in the most inane fashion, only stopping occasionally to laugh at their own jokes. Basically they talk at you like you’re some kind of cardboard cut-out, not with you, like you’re a person that might also have something to say.

Mark was everybody’s best friend when we used to go out. Beautiful girls used to come up and give him a big hug and squeeze to rub their breasts against his arm while trying to charm him into fronting them a dime of coke.

“Awww common Maaaaark! You know meeeee, I’ll be good for it.”

“Pleeeeeze.”

Mark always said no and it was quite entertaining to see the demeanour of these young vixens change so quickly.

Another sort of perk of selling cocaine was that Mark used to get invited to all the rich kids parties and it was not uncommon for us to go to huge houses with a multitude of exotic cars parked outside.  When Mark arrived, it was as though a hero had returned, and very quickly a throng would form around him, and he would be dragged this way and that, so they could complete their deals with him.

Yes I have done that cliché “nude in the hot tub with the bimbos snorting coke” at the big parties thing…. numerous times. 

Because of the high price of cocaine (it was selling for $200 a gram in 1980) people without very much money would fake friendship with people who did, so they could get some coke. It was not uncommon, for guys on the make to go up to pretty young women at any social event and whisper in their ear, “I’ve got some coke, what some?” Forget about pickup lines, it was all about coke in the early 80s as far as I could see.

Cocaine is a selfish drug. It’s all about money and what it can buy.

“I’ve got some coke, wanna come and do some lines?” “Jus’ you an me.”

One night, a dentist with his wife and their girlfriend turned up at Mark’s placed to score.  I was talking to the dentist and their girlfriend when the dentist’s wife went upstairs looking for Mark. Mark told me later that he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom, when the dentist’s wife walked in and pulled up her dress to show that she was not wearing any underwear, and then proceeded to go to the toilet in front of him.  According to Mark this sort of thing was always happening to him. Women would throw themselves at him in the hope of that he would be like so many other men trying to use cocaine to get into their pants and that hopefully he would get them high for free.

Ahhh…. Men!  Sometimes we are so weak.

Meanwhile downstairs, the dentist was wondering where his wife was, so he went upstairs looking for her, and I was left talking to the girlfriend.  As soon as the dentist disappeared, the girlfriend undid her blouse to expose a breast and took my hand and placed it on it, while saying to me, ”if you are generous, you can have some”.

I said to her,”what do you mean?” “What about those other two?”

“I only hang out with them about two or three nights a week for a three-some and to do some coke, but I’d like to get together with you and party some time soon.”

With the sound of people coming down the stairs, the girlfriend quickly pulled away from me and did up her blouse.  It was obvious from the way how animatedly everybody was talking, that they had been sampling some of Mark’s product upstairs.

They were in a very good mood, strangely enough!

The dentist and his wife got out some of the cocaine that they just purchased and chopped up a few lines for the girlfriend and like the experienced drug hoover that she was, it was gone, with a quick snort. The three-some then invited us to go out with them.

Mark declined.

As soon as the dentist, and his harem left, Mark asked me if the girlfriend had come on to me. When I said yes, Mark warned me with, ” she’s tried it on with me and I guess she’s tried it on with you, because she figures she can get high for free since your my friend “.

“Stay away from her because she is bad news.”

No shit Sherlock!

Mark used to buy his coke of another dealer who had his own business, making sandblasted wooden signage for businesses. He was such a crocodile skin, cowboy boot wearing stereotype.  He exuded the smugness of somebody who lived by the ethos of, “if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich….. like me?” I found it very sad to see that Mark saw this arsehole as a mentor.

In the five months that I was in Minneapolis, I saw Mark go from a big healthy strapping confident guy who seemed to be master of his universe to a complete paranoid nervous wreck.

Mark loved coke and what it did for him, and the money that it brought in. He also liked the way how it made everybody love him. I guess that some people don’t really care where the love that comes from, or why it’s coming to them, but they’ll take it any way they can.

I remember very early one morning Mark came into my bedroom and excitedly woke me up, whilst shoving and mirror with a few lines of cocaine under my nose and saying “here, you’ve got to try this is, it’s amazing!” So I did as I was told and sat there high as a kite, as Mark motor-mouthed about what a great party he had just come home from and how good the latest coke was that he had just scored. Then, almost as suddenly as he came in, he said to me, ” I’ve got to dash, we’re going skiing.  See you tomorrow.”

So off he went and there I sat in bed at six o’clock in the morning by myself in a very vibrant state of wakefulness.  It just seemed so pointless. Mark was always offering me coke and he was quite surprised that I wasn’t into it as much as he was.  Cocaine is wasted on me, as I am naturally talkative and gregarious. I certainly don’t think it is worth the money, and I would never actually buy it.  Nowadays, I wouldn’t even go near the stuff even if it was free. 

About a week later, Mark told me that he and his sleaze-bag mentor were going to Aspen in Colorado to sell cocaine to well-heeled skiers.  I was asked if I wanted to join them, but I declined, as I knew that I wouldn’t enjoy the scene and plus it would cost a small fortune to try and keep up with those guys. So Mark bought a pound of cocaine, which at the time cost about $30,000 and he was hoping to realise about $50,000 or $60,000 in profit. Maybe even more if he cut it with the Italian laxative called Mennite, which I had seen him do many times.

Mark didn’t come home for three weeks, and during that time I got worried calls from his father, asking me if I knew where he was and that there were debt collectors looking for him.  Apparently, Mark’s father had been guarantor to all his loans, and Mark hadn’t been keeping up his payments for about the last two or three months.  The creditors were starting to circle around Mark’s father.

When Mark came back he was a shadow of himself.  He had lost a lot of weight and seemed all nervous, irritable and jumpy. 

It turned out that he had spent his whole time in Aspen, constantly partying with new-found friends, and that somehow they had snorted all his coke and he didn’t make any money at all.  He was devastated that he had gone into debt so he could try and make some quick money in Aspen, and he had basically lost a lot. 

To top it all off, he seemed to be in some sort of cocaine induced paranoiac psychosis. 

The change in Mark was startling, and his father who was a born-again fundamentalist Christian could see his son was in deep trouble. 

Mark’s father took him under his wing promising to pay all of Mark’s debts, but only after he had made Mark sign over everything that he owned and stopped taking drugs.  Mark’s father also said to him that he would require him to undergo frequent drug testing.  Once he was assured that Mark was on the straight and narrow again, he would give him back his house and cars.

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8 Responses to “Cocaine is a fool’s paradise. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 1980”

  1. Pat Coakley Says:

    I’ve been meaning to comment on some of your artful phrases in your narrator of all things unbelievable..in this post for example there was:

    “They just rabbit on non-stop in the most inane fashion, only stopping occasionally to laugh at their own jokes. Basically they talk at you like you’re some kind of cardboard cut-out, not with you, like you’re a person that might also have something to say.”

    “rabbit non-stop”, “talk at you like you’re some kind of cardboard cut-out”

    There were many in the other posts as well.

    Perhaps, for me, the most unbelievable part of this post was that a woman thought that pulling up her dress and going to the toilet was going to be a come-on. I might have just discovered another reason why I am singleforareason.

    Seriously, it’s a come hither that wouldn’t have occurred to me.

    I never did coke, though.

  2. planetross Says:

    great story, well told as always.

  3. nathaliewithanh Says:

    I agree with Pat – that’s the strangest pick-me-up act ever (although I’ll have to tell you one day about the things I witnessed when my brother who sucks invited me to have tea in a salon and I was all excited because I thought “Oh how very sweet and distinguished of him” and he took me to a hard-core sado-masochistic bar instead…)

    Do you know what happened to Mark? Was he able to kick the habit?

  4. razzbuffnik Says:

    Pat

    Thanks. I try and write how I actually talk.

    As for the urination thing, I’ve come across it on three other occasions. Maybe it’s primal thing to do with scent and displaying a willingness to mate.

    I think that a lot people act out stuff that they are hardly aware off. If we ever get together for dinner I could bore you (and probably horrify) you for hours about my thoughts on subconscious biological imperatives.

    Planetross.

    Thanks for coming by again. By the way, what part of Japan do you live in?

    Nat

    Like I said to Pat, I’ve seen it several times. It always amazes me how so many women act so innocent when in fact most of them are so wild at heart. The things I’ve seen!

    I was never one to stay in touch, so I’ve got no idea what happened to Mark. I just moved on. I used to have an address book that I kept the names of people who I met on the road, but I stopped doing it because quite often I’d look at the names a few years later and wonder “who the heck is that?”

  5. Epicurienne Says:

    My favourite bit is when you call the girlfriend a “drug hoover”. I’ve never heard it put that way before, but it’s a perfect description.

    You certainly have lived an interesting life!

  6. razzbuffnik Says:

    Epic

    Thanks. Notice all the speech I’ve been putting in lately? I think you were dead right in saying that it livens things up.

  7. cafe selavy Says:

    Cocaine and Minnesota don’t seem a good match. That drug should be reserved for the tropical climes. I don’t understand the big meth craze in the midwest, either. But that is just part of globalization, I guess. The best part of the eighties for me was drinking on the tabs of the rich guys with coke. My girlfriends would always put my drinks on their bill and they never noticed. I guess that was pretty sleazy, but I told myself I was a prole hero at the time, drinking for the people.

  8. planetross Says:

    razzbuffnick: I’d come by more often, but have been busy lately. I live about 2 hours Northwest of Tokyo in Gunma Prefecture: very close to the border with Niigata.

    Love the photos and adventures :)

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