I was just nine-years-old when I became a junkie. The monkey that jumped on my young, hairless back was legal and as suburban as Etobicoke, the suburb of Toronto where I lived as a kid.
Mom was my dealer, even though she didn’t know it at the time.
My actual fix was pathetic as street drugs go, but I still thought I was pretty hard-core. After all, I was in grade four, and I was using.
My drug of choice was something you mixed with water; you’d drink it when your stomach got upset. It was known as an, over the counter remedy, a simple everyday antacid that’s no longer sold in powder form — Bromo Seltzer.
I got hooked on the Bromo because of my other weakness at the time; comic books. Superhero comic books to be exact.
As a young lad, I read every superhero comic book I could get my ink-stained hands on. I was obsessed. I’d beg, buy, and even steal from my younger cousin, to devour the latest adventures of a super-somebody.
When I was growing up, back in the mid-1960s, superhero comics were all the rage; every comic book publisher had their own line of masked avengers. The stories, especially the ones from Marvel Comics, changed the way I viewed superheroes and comics forever.
Every issue had the usual story of a super someone fighting some blabber-mouthed villain who was trying to loot a bank or rule the world.
But those weren’t the stories that got me walking on the junkie path.
When Dr. Strange, exhausted after another battle with Baron Mordo, went back to his sanctuary to rest, the writers revealed he was going to his pad in Greenwich Village.
The locations were important because it grounded the supers in reality.
As revolutionary as that was for comic books, it still didn’t get my buzz cut of a brain working overtime. It was the sub-plots of the sub-plot in the stories that did it.