I’ve been a teetotaler all my life. The kids these day call it “Straight Edge” but I prefer teetotaler because it’s old fashioned and sounds funny. Straight Edge might even be old fashioned by now. I first heard that as a term for someone who doesn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs back in the early 1990s but I’m told it was around in the 1980s too. I’m not sure how I missed it then since the late 80s were my college years and with all the partying going on in college I would think it should have come up. But it could have been more of a music scene phrase back then and only creeped more into the mainstream in the early 90s when it caught my ear.

As a consequence of not being in the mainstream of the world of drinking I don’t have any stories of being so drunk out of my mind that such-and-such happened. I may be out of my mind in an everyday sort of way but can’t start any tales with the phrase, “I was so wasted that…”. I certainly understand drinking and getting high in that it allows people to relax and have some fun or it allows some people to just plain escape the relentless drone of everyday life but it’s never been something I’ve enjoyed. For whatever reason I enjoy the way my mind works in its natural state.

I’ve been to plenty of parties in my lifetime and am perfectly capable of hanging out with the drinkers and having a good time but on occasion things elude me. There are sometimes I have to have certain things about the getting high world explained to me. One of them was huffing. That’s when a person inhales paint fumes or some such. I mean, seriously, paint fumes? I guess it’s mostly kids who do it since they don’t have access to alcohol or drugs but it’s not always kids. Sometimes full grown adults get addicted to huffing. That I did not get. Inhaling toxic fumes can make you die.

Huffing always seemed like a really bizarre way to get high to me but a friend of mine explained it to me once as, “There can sometimes be a really fine line between being sick and being high”. I must say that I found that explanation strange and could never quite understand it until now. No, I haven’t started huffing or getting high but I did just get over being sick.

It wasn’t a dread disease or any long illness but it was some sort of cold, flu, or sinus infection that knocked me off my feet for a few days. It took me over a full week to recover and I rarely get sick like that so it was significant to me. Oddly enough the last time I was that sick was the week after the Giants won the Super Bowl back in February 2008. I think the game made me so tense and nervous that something snuck in under my immune system. With the memory of that I tried to stay calmer as the Giants won the Super Bowl this past February and managed not to repeat the events of 2008 but something got me anyway these couple of months later.

My main symptoms were fatigue and dizziness. My head was stuffy and my throat a bit sore but I’ve had worse in both those areas. It was when I stood up that things spun around and I just plain wanted to sit down again. Lay down again would be more accurate. Thursday I was still up and working a little bit but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was flat on my back. I was mostly on my couch sleeping the day away. Sometimes I’d have the TV on. For some reason I like to nap to documentaries and even though I wasn’t technically napping since I was sick I put the docs on anyway. They soothe me somehow. I had seen them all before and was barely awake for them but they added a small bit of something pleasant to my sick days.

For some reason I also got up at my regular 7 AM wake up time every morning. Despite fatigue being my main symptom and my not setting my alarm I still woke up at my regular time, got out of bed, and showered after which I immediately lay down on the couch for the day. A couple of those mornings I questioned my sanity for being up and showering as normal but in the end it did make me feel better. The thought of not getting up and showering brought me down.

So here is the part where I tie this all in to getting high and it wasn’t because of any cold medicine I was on. That stuff can make me sleepy or wired but not high. At least the over-the-counter stuff that I get. This part of the story takes place on Saturday morning. That was my second out of three days flat on my back. I had just gotten out of the shower, dressed, and had eaten breakfast. After that I lay down on the couch at about 7:30 AM. I didn’t turn the TV on and was lying there in the quiet of the morning.

As the time passed I drifted in and out of a dream-like state. I wasn’t really asleep but I wasn’t awake either. Being that I was sick I had a water bottle next to me to drink from to keep hydrated. I knew I was thirsty because I would dream/imagine I was drinking from the bottle. That’s when I’d reach down and drink from it for real. It was weird to see myself drink once in my mind and then in reality. I stayed on the couch until about 10 AM when I sat up to watch TV.

The dream-like time from 7:30-10 AM passed fairly quickly. The next hour of TV time seemed to drag on for twice as long. I looked back on my morning on the couch as pleasant. That’s when I realized I was experiencing the fine line that, “There can sometimes be a really fine line between being sick and being high” was describing. I’m not saying I was high but for the first time ever I could see the fine line.

Of course that was two hours out of a week of being sick the rest of which was in no way pleasant or like being high but it is the first time I can actually understand that statement. Now I wonder the percentage of time that huffing actually makes a person sick as compared to high. I gotta figure at best it’s 50/50. I mean they’re poisonous fumes! Alright, I still don’t get huffing. It’s seems crazy to me.