Friday, March 31, 2017

No Need to get Huffy

A bright early Spring day found me with half an hour to kill while waiting for an errand to be completed.  Of course it was a perfect excuse for a walk.  After a long Wisconsin winter the sun was finally starting to take its duties of planetary heat supply seriously.

It was a little early for green growing things but its actually rather interesting to see the world with a degree of clarity that is lost when grass and weeds start their frenetic growth in a few weeks.

Down a dead end street I found myself in a little cul de sac.  No houses, no buildings. It seemed like the sort of infrastructure "left overs" that you get when a new highway transects an older road.

An isolated spot.  Hmmmm, what's this?

A can, presumably empty, of spray cleaner for electronics.  Note that the unused little red thing on it is the straw that is used to direct the spray to the right place.  A dead end road does seem like an unusual place to go to clean your computer, but I guess, "whatever".

Boy, that keyboard must have had some serious gunk on it!

But of course that is not what was happening here.

I had happened upon detritus left over from a sad little party.  At some point recently there had been a furtive gaggle of probably young folks sniffing this aerosol product for the high that comes from a combination of the chemicals and simple hypoxia.  The "bitterant" - a word I had never seen before - must not have had much effect.  Perhaps some people even like the stuff after the fashion of craft beer drinkers who favor triple hopped IPAs with names like "Bitter 'n Angry".

Abuse of anything, be it beer, pharmaceuticals or what have you, is always bad.  But our hypothetical craft beer drinker is probably going to do better than the Huffers. The convivial atmosphere of one's favorite pub is more wholesome than a trash strewn roadside. And while alcohol naturally can cause problems both short and long term, it will not in the course of prudent use just straight up and kill you as is the case with young people and inhalant abuse.

Back in my ER days we'd see inhalant abusers once in a while.  Usually there were extenuating circumstances.  You can for instance get some kind of a high from lots of different chemicals.  The electronics cleaner shown here is the Dom Perignon of huffing, but in a pinch there are less refined options.  Model glue for instance.  Even gasoline which can get interesting as pretty much all of these ill starred young people also smoke cigarettes.

And then there was that case a few years back where a guy was arrested at the local supermarket.  He had been seen by store employees going to a back aisle and opening up cans of "Kool Whip", an aerosol powered substance vaguely resembling whipped cream.  He naturally claimed that it was all a mistake, and that, "no officer, I was not inhaling from the cans".  

The fact that he had Kool Whip adherent to his hair, beard and mustache required an explanation that he just wasn't able to manage on short notice.....

1 comment:

jon spencer said...

The Cool Whip probably was the least damaging as they used to use Nitrous Oxide as its propellent.
I think they still do, but not really sure.
N2O is much easier on the body than 111 trichloroethane anyway.