Altered States

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August 10, 2005 at 8:35 am

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The front page on story on CNN this morning (8:39 AM CST) is about a

(fixed url) — not with alcohol or other drugs, but through self-asphyxiation or what children apparently call the “.” (.)

First off, I’m 31 and this is the first I’ve ever heard of the supposedly common game among children and young teens. So, I’m assuming it’s something that’s developed/gained popularity

in the past 20 years or so?

I am aware that, among adults, it’s a sexualized activity — something that, IMHO, is a pretty good indicator that “something’s not quite right.”

But for children and teenagers to pick this up as a game or “safe” method of “getting high” — that’s especially disturbing.

When I was growing up we already had more than enough things we could do to ourselves and others, to inflict harm. For example, “” inhalants, like glue and aerosols. Enough young people died or were brain damaged by that, the result was aerosol paints being displayed in locked cases in stores.

I’m a geek, of course. And geeks are all about the evolution and expansion of technology and human knowledge. An unfortunate fact is even self-destructive things evolve and “advance”, over time. Drugs and other dangers to our kids, most often due to them seeking

of consciousness: high/euphoric, sedated, etc.

We just had a 17-year-old die the other day (San Antonio, TX) while “” — standing on a moving vehicle, often as fast as 50 to 60 mph, and “surfing” it.

It’s dangerous enough by itself, but it’s often engaged in when the driver and/or “surfer” are drunk. There’s even a story of a

attempting the stunt; for difficulty points, he engaged cruise control and tried to surf his own vehicle.

I have more to say, but I just realized that it’s way too dark outside to mean anything except really bad weather is nearby.

I’ve got loose deck furniture to push into a “fly free zone”, and a weather radar to review so I know what’s in store. Texas summer storms can be nasty!

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3 Comments

August 10, 2005

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I saw that story as well, and my first thought was to doubt whether this was really the epidemic that CNN would have you believe.

I remember the summer before 9/11, when you’d think that going to the beach was to put your life in mortal danger, for the supposed sudden epidemic of shark attacks we were having.

If fear-mongering stories didn’t exist, the media would find it necessary to invent them (and I tend to think they do).

August 11, 2005

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This was a practice that the members of my track team in high school used to talk about. Their particular take on it was to hyperventilate for a minute or two before choking themselves or each other. They never talked about using ropes or belts or anything that extreme…I remember one guy who showed me how he did it, which was to manually choke himself.

I never tried it, because it looked really stupid, but it’s not something new to me. I think that, if there’s a way to get high, people will find it. Weren’t there people licking toads in Australia to get high at one point?

August 11, 2005

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While the media does hype and fear-monger, I’m not sure it follows that it’s a non-issue.

That said, Google only has 56,000 hits on it (for “choking game” — like everything in childhood, it has many other names), so it is odd that it made front page news. But front page news is all relative anyway. If a household name died everyday (a la Peter Jennings), that is the first thing we’d hear about every night/website page view.

Well before the update on the body count (ours, since we don’t report their’s) in Iraq & Afghanistan, or even the price of oil.

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