Tom Bissell is a young book author and contributor to The New Yorker and Harper’s. He is also a cocaine addict and Grand Theft Auto enthusiast. In The Observer this week, he wrote a fascinating piece about the relationship between blow and gaming, and the impact of both on his life. From The Observer:
In Vegas I had made a friend who shared my sacramental devotion to marijuana, my dilated obsession with gaming and my ballistic impatience to play GTA IV. When I was walking home from my neighbourhood game store with my reserved copy of GTA IV in hand, I called my friend to tell him. He let me know that, to celebrate the occasion, he was bringing over some “extra sweetener”. My friend’s taste in recreational drug abuse vastly exceeded my own, and this extra sweetener turned out to be an alarming quantity of cocaine, a substance with which I had one prior and unexpectedly amiable experience, though I had not seen a frangible white nugget of the stuff since.
While the GTA IV load screen appeared on my television screen, my friend chopped up a dozen lines, reminded me of basic snorting protocol and handed me the straw. I hesitated before taking the tiny hollow sceptre, but not for too long. Know this: I was not someone whose life had been marked by the meticulous collection of bad habits. I chewed tobacco, regularly drank about 10 Diet Cokes a day, and liked marijuana. Beyond that, my greatest vice was probably reading poetry for pleasure. The coke sailed up my nasal passage, leaving behind the delicious smell of a hot leather car seat on the way back from the beach. My previous coke experience had made feeling good an emergency, but this was something else, softer and almost relaxing. This coke, my friend told me, had not been “stepped on” with any amphetamine, and I pretended to know what that meant. I felt as intensely focused as a diamond-cutting laser; Grand Theft Auto IV was ready to go. My friend and I played it for the next 30 hours straight.