Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Victim Of Addiction

I was reading the comic Surviving The World.  I stopped on this one, which says, "It could always be worse - you could be addicted to sauteed panda."  I've heard this sentiment before, the idea of the horror that would come from being addicted to a particularly bizarre substance.

At its face, it is comedy.  You can imagine the zany antics involved in trying to procure this totally unusual thing.  In fact, Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons are based on this very premise.  One crazy trick after another, just to get one fix.

But deeper, it is deeply disturbing.  What happens when somebody does get a fix?  Are they happy?  How long does it last?  If it's something highly illegal like sauteed panda, how long can they keep at it without getting caught?  If they do get caught, what would it be like in prison, going so very, very long without it?

Addiction is a scary thing.  We tend to think of it with chemical drugs (alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, etc.), but people can be addicted to anything.  And what makes addiction so fascinating is that otherwise fine people can become trapped by it.  The desire, the compulsion to have that drug forces people to do things they would never do.  And when they are ripped away from that drug, they go through unfathomable anguish for it.

I am interested by characters who are compelled by forces outside of themselves.  Addiction is most definitely one of those forces.  What can you write, using such a character?

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