“Dooth somme goode dedes that the devel, which is oure enemy, ne fynde yow nat unoccupied.” – The Tale of Melibee, Geoffrey Chaucer.
Essentially, the previous quotation suggests that idle hands are the devil’s tools, workshop, or playground. Outside of once reading The Canterbury Tales when I was in high school, I’m not really familiar with Chaucer’s work. Of course, I hesitate to write “reading” considering I almost certainly skimmed just enough of the stories not to fail. I do remember the class got hung up debating the minutia of a scene in “The Miller’s Tale” in which a cuckold scalds his wife’s lover with a red hot coulter.
As my physical recovery from a ruptured brain aneurysm started to taper off, I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. I had returned to my old school as a substitute teacher, and I would meet with a therapist weekly to address the ongoing emotional adjustment.
I knew I needed to do something else, so I decided to look into various Meet Up Group possibilities. I saw there was a trivia team that met every Thursday night at the backroom of a bar/restaurant about a half an hour walk from where I lived. This seemed like it would be a perfect fit. One of my favorite trivia team memories happened during the summer of 2012. I was at a bar with my brother and the question posed:
“Who directed Robocop?”
My brother handed the slip of paper to the quizmaster within a minute.
“How the Hell did you know that so quickly? The guy said.
“You don’t know my brother,” my brother replied.
Joining a trivia team seemed like it would address all of my concerns. However, I didn’t know yet I had lost most of the understanding I had developed during my teen years concerning cultivating friendships that included such things as reading subtext or having realistic expectations. For example, I had to relearn that if I texted someone at ten o’clock in the morning, and they didn’t respond until that evening, or the following day, it had nothing to do with the tenure of our friendship. Or, perhaps, some people who I’d only spoke to in person might not be good at keeping in contact online. For some reason, the aneurysm had erased all of that.
I went to the trivia group thinking that I would immediately become friends with everyone because we were all interested in the same thing; especially when I read one of the group organizers was a self-proclaimed John “Stumpy” Pepys Specialist. John “Stumpy” Pepys was one of Spinal Tap’s Drummers.
I thought it might be a good omen.
They all seemed like nice people and very knowledgeable. I was able to be “value-added” as my old finance colleagues would say by providing some pop culture answers. Whereas my acumen was movies or music, they had a comprehensive general knowledge. However, I also noticed something. They were good enough to have secured first place, but they would still spend time second-guessing some answers even after it had become moot. It reminded me of a scene in The Big Lebowski when Maude suggests her stepmother Bunny is a nympho.
“Someone who engages in it [sex] compulsively and without joy.”
That first meeting of the trivia team I attended, I spoke with the woman sitting next to me and told her about my recent trauma and recovery. She said she was a pharmacist or a clinical researcher? Perhaps, she was just a fan of chemistry. Either way, she suggested I look into Ketamine to help with my recovery. While Ketamine therapy is probably helpful if administered and overseen by a licensed physician, she seemed to imply I could do it myself. Of course, I could have misread her suggestion. If you need a refresher, this was information I got from a parent’s advisory website: Ketamine hydrochloride is a quick-acting anesthetic that is legally used in both humans (as a sedative for minor surgery) and animals (as a tranquilizer). (Note: I’ve heard it referred to as “horse tranquilizer.”) At high doses, it causes intoxication and hallucinations similar to LSD. Other names: K, Special K, vitamin K, bump, cat Valium, Kit Kat, Super acid, Purple.
In different forms, ketamine can be snorted, swallowed, smoked, or injected. Users often use it along with other drugs such as Ecstacy (called kitty flipping) or Cocaine or sprinkle it on marijuana blunts.
People who use ketamine can become psychologically dependent on it to feel good. Users may become delirious, hallucinate, and lose their sense of time and reality.
Vitamin K, not the street name for ketamine, is a vitamin necessary for blood clotting. I learned that from the movie Suicide Kings.
Andrew Davie has worked in theater, finance, and education. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant and has survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. He has published short stories at various places, a chapbook with The Daily Drunk, crime fiction novellas with All Due Respect and Close to the Bone, and an upcoming memoir. His other work can be found in links on his website https://andrew-davie.com/