City Paper is not for tourists
Regardless of whether or not the supposed drug jenkem warranted the buzz it generated in the last few weeks, the story of kids spaced out on fermented piss and feces proves once and for all an eternal truth: Regardless of how toxic, brain deadening or simply disgusting a substance may be, tell a 16-year-old it will get them wasted and it’s believable that he will huff it.
Jenkem is supposedly a drug made of human crap that may or may not be the narcotic of choice of street kids in Zambia. As Salon.com reported, the fear that American kids might be turned on to the poo stems from a hoaxed shit fumes snorting posted on the Internet. A sheriff’s office in Florida bought into the hoax and a jenkem scare followed with the help of Midwestern television crews.
In hindsight, I might claim that as a 16-year-old, I would have drawn the line at raiding baby diapers to get high. Probably a lie, though, if you consider the hash stashed in my Nova’s tail lights on return trips from Ontario, banana peals baked dry in my parents oven, and more to point, a mysterious substance called Rush.
In the Lake Huron town where I grew up, there was, and likely still is, a dry strip joint named Deja Vu. On your 18th birthday, the strippers tie you to a chair on the stage and perform a special show. When they finished on my 18th, a stripper grabbed my crotch and said, “you’ve been here before, haven’t you?”
In fact I had. Although those under 18 were barred from the show, the book shop was all ages. We didn’t buy books or movies. We went for Rush, the tiny bottles of liquid marketed as some kind of aphrodisiac incense.
Not sure about the aphrodisiac qualities of Rush, but at school dances, boys pre-buzzed on Natural Light and Bartels and James coolers filed into the bathroom to pass the Rush bottle. Unscrew the top and the liquid instantly began to evaporate. Fill you nose with the vapor and the buzz (if you could call it that) is immediate: your face turns red hot and warmth shudders through your head and is gone. If I remember correctly, it felt like the moment right before fainting.
Most guys would take a few blasts and head back out to dance to Billy Idol. A guy named Steve stayed in the bathroom snorting heroic doses. He claimed one night he breathed in so much his finger nails turned blue.
The trouble with Rush was the cap. Someone would always screw it down too tight. The plastic would crack, the goods would evaporate and you’d be back at Deja Vu.
Anyone with half a mind should have caught the jenkum hokum. It reeks of Joey Skaggs . But if it was a hoax, it certainly is not now. Somewhere in rural Michigan, a group of kids has heard the news. On Friday before the football game, they will raid a port-a-potty wondering if they can dry the shit in their parent’s oven, since the sun won’t shine until May.