Nitrous Oxide

Reality is a toxic oxidant that we inhale at least eight hours a day. We take in the redolent whiff of the shit-stained social contract that we never got a chance to revise or look over. Learn the language and you get lost in clauses, becoming one of the lawdogs barking a sweet song in court just after spooning oodles of corn-based sugar in a rushed breakfast of dry cereal. It is hard to dwell on this nightmare without sounding like a strident agitator. They’ve taken our passions and transmuted them into cliches. Those great quotidian moments are corrupted by the sharp clacks of harsh teeth clasping upon a small shred of meat that has to be chewed up to go around six times. The portions are wrong. The plates are big. The eyes are bigger. The stomachs grow. And any decent gesture is declared a collective and contrarian sully upon all the agents pumping savagely into the air.

Reality. Confess it and you’ll be deemed pathetic. Sing true only in code. Don’t mention the pennies you’re collecting from the insides of the couch. Don’t mention the finite nature of this sad copper supply. Bring up the Socratic method and you’ll see your queries misconstrued as endorsement. Your options are the limp pose of reason and the unsettling truth of passion, but never anything in between. The eccentric’s teeth is a bit crooked. Never mind all the good ideas she’s had. Throw her out on her ass. She’ll be homeless in six weeks. Then maybe she’ll change.

Can’t handle that? There’s plenty of fantasies and parallel universes to choose from. Take your pick. If you don’t have cash to nurse a beer in a bar or you can’t trust anybody, there’s always the men confessing their private griefs to strangers over the microphones during a first-person shooter. Be careful with what you disseminate though. It could be picked up later. They haven’t quite put a microphone on every street light. But that camera wasn’t there last year. That’s not paranoia. It’s reality. Or is that fantasy? Open your eyes long enough and you’ll believe they’ve stayed closed.

Simulacra are dangerous. But several realities run atop and intertwine with each other. There are cities within cities. People within people. Nobility within nobility. Boxes within boxes. It’s just a question of how far you want to dig, and most people are getting a bit tired with the shovel.

Effects of nitrous oxide: dizziness, depersonalization, analgesia. We could all use a little analgesia right now, right? But who will narc on the narcotics? When the rubber bullets send you to a rubber room, the linguistic symmetry becomes a discordant shock to the system. We talked of the Bush Doctrine, but nobody knows the Obama Doctrine. They raise their voices with hysteria and the truth gets confused with lunacy. Hold the line. Love isn’t always on time. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, but that was forty years ago. When nouns were customizable shoes rather than rigid marketing terms. Hope. Just do it. Dance your ass off. Who wants to be a millionaire? Who really can be a millionaire?


  1. Tell it! “Open your eyes long enough and you’ll believe they’ve stayed closed.” Reality is infuriating and exhausting and multifarious and should be more up to us than it seems to be. It is up to *somebody! The whole thing is crashing and burning and we can see the inner skeleton but it’s still going, the crash isn’t over. Help! But we’re all inside.

  2. Beautiful. I have been using Nitrous Oxide to hack my reality for many many years. My mom is a dental assistant an when I was young I used to go to the dentist office when she was cleaning it and sit on a tank and watch cartoons. Now I am older and still love it. I hate reality, it sucks, but trust me you can mold it to your will. Force it to behave sister. Life’s a bitch and I’m her pimp!

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