Call it luck or call it reason, but I just missed by a few years the sentinel plea of a generation by Timothy Leary to “tune in, turn on, drop out”. Still, the creative burst of writers, musicians and artists of that era have been a soundtrack to many years of my life. Expressions of love, peace, community and equality – to name but a few – continued to reverberate in my early years.
As time past, I had more than a few blows on my psyche that may have dislodged or completely derailed such thinking – travails of a working life, the premature death of friends and a partner, the loss of extended family – but then came my diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease some 16 years ago. Now, that was a freak-out! A real bad trip, man. Bummer.
Ever since, my days have been characterized by a different kind of drug – those of a pharmaceutical nature (see Go Ask Alice or Pump It Up ). Not those inspired by acid rock or a psychedelic-infused or melancholic nature or condition. Just a batch of prescribed concoctions aimed at addressing my PD symptoms (or side effects of the same).
But recent news has me contemplating whether that might be changing. There’s something in the air these days – could it be the winds of change or is the answer in fact, blowin’ in the wind? (that’s the last 60’s metaphor I’ll use I promise).
First, there was the news that many patients with PD were experiencing the benefits of medicinal marijuana. Studies have trumpeted it’s success at pain relief, issues of anxiety and as an aid for those suffering from sleep deprivation. More and more people with PD seem to be turning to marijuana for relief.
Then, I read today, of a new set of headphones that have been developed that stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain. They will pump music into your ears as normal, but at the same time, “will deliver a low-power electrical signal through your ear canal to stimulate the Vagus nerve – a nerve that runs from the brainstem to the abdomen and plays a role in the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres”. In other words, if this works, just by listening to music on these headphones, we’re going to get high! How high is debatable given our dopamine- challenged condition.
Now, you might be skeptical that such an item as headphones could get you high but here was the kicker for me. This article appeared in a serious audiophile periodical and here’s what the seasoned journalist who wrote the piece said after testing out the headphones:
I felt like I reached a personal high point. I couldn’t stop smiling or laughing. I was like, ‘Oh wow’. For about 5 minutes, my happiness level was a 10 out of 10. Then it got foggier, but I was still unusually happy for about an hour.”
Oh wow, man! (I know, I promised. Chill) Don’t bogart that joint, my friend! Pass it over to me! If anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be down in the rec room in my bean bag chair with my new headphones on. Make your way through that purple haze and that’s where you’ll find me. Eight miles high.
A word from our legal department: this blog entry is not written or reproduced herein, to encourage or propagate the use or misuse of any and or all legal or illegal stimulants such as cannabis or dopamine-stimulant headphones under any or all circumstances. Any representation by the author of any activities or recreational pursuits undertaken in said locations, under said influences, are fictional in nature and are intended for the entertainment of the reader. Thank you for your attention and understanding and excuse me while I kiss the sky.