The (Unfortunately) Elusive Pill Etiquette
by Ginger Vitas
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For the past three years, I had (note the past tense) the good fortune
of having an almost constant supply of Vicodin and Xanax. As expected,
I also had a never-ending supply of "best friends" more than willing to
help me partake. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to have a good
stock, be it pills, pot, or any other "illicit" material knows what I'm
talking about. Freeloaders come in many forms...girls who flirt
excessively, then hit you up for "just one...please?" or fakers who
complain of whatever ailment that you happen to have the pill for.
Actually, my most favorite was when I was at school and this girl
sitting in my group saw me slip (I thought covertly) a Vic to my friend
(who happens to kick down when he's got it good). "Oooh," she squealed,
"what's that? I want some, whatever it is!" She's fabulous, really.
So now the whole table "wants some". This raises the issue of drug/pill
etiquette. I think that if one follows two basic rules, everyone is happy.
I like to think of pill etiquette as just plain good manners, also known
as the law of "do unto others". If you find yourself constantly on the
receiving end of pills, something is awry; conversely, if you are
continually handing out your stash, while you may be racking up some good
karma points (what goes around, comes around), you may also be known as
a sucker. A little (pointless) anecdote to illustrate: I gave out more
Xanax to Nadia and Wenny than to be believed. I'm serious, I practically
kept them medicated throughout our entire last year of college. I mean,
I figureed I was getting, I may as well spread it around a little. They
would take like four hits at a time, so my prescriptions would go pretty
quick. Never did they bring me anything... I figured they didn't have a
line to anything (except pot, and I don't smoke). Well up to Seattle
these two piggies trotted to visit me. Of course, they stayed with me.
Hogged the Xanax and the tv. Come to find out, Wenny has a hot line to
Soma and Darvocett. You'd think she'd have gotten the hint and given me
a handful, but no... she kicked down ONE. Needless to say, I was much
less generous from then on.
Basically, the first rule of thumb is equitability (I think I made this
word up... you know what I mean). If you're constantly receiving, by all
means, GIVE A LITTLE! IT WON'T KILL YA! If you have three pills, give
one. If you have fifty, give five. It's cool... you get high and you
spread the wealth. That's what it's all about. It's not even how much
you give, per se, it's how generous you are.
The second rule (one I broke in the anecdote above) is DON'T ASK! People
will give when they want to give. The chick I was talking about in the
beginning asked all the time... and every time I told her to forget it.
I really resented being placed in that position. Jesus, if she wanted
some, why didn't she just get her own? There was another girl, Judy, who
found out that I dug/had Vic. Turns out she's a major pillhead, too, but
of the worst kind. "Man, my head really hurts," she'd moan, always looking
straight at me. "Try some aspirin..." I'd say, kind of cornered-like.
She'd reply "I did, but it's not helping. Hey, do you have, you know,
anything?" "I, um, ran out, um, yesterday," I'd say. Then I'd have to
spend the rest of the day hiding my own consumption. That really sucks.
Generally, she'd hit up my friend Joker and ask him if he knew if I had
"gone to the doctor lately". He'd cover for me, report back, and it
would assure her not getting any. Once again, DON'T ASK! Sure, there
are ways of hinting, but you have to be subtle, staying within the lines
of good manners. If you want painkillers, mention a little pain. If you
want speed, complain of being tired, but for god's sake, don't push it...
even with friends. It's the surest way to end a friendship... and a good
"Upon Diligent Thought of Pill Etiquette"
Okay, so the anecdotes were mildly amusing, but what about the practical
aspects of pill etiquette? To be honest, there really are more than two.
The following should make the phenomenon of PE a little more clear.
1. Kick Down. I think this was covered well enough earlier. If you
haven't got the idea by now, you probably never will.
2. Don't Ask. This was covered previously as well. I would like to
make it clear(er) that this rule is based on subtlety. Take a good,
close look at the nature of the relationship you have with your
provider. Instinct (do not confuse with greed) should be a good
3. If You're Gettin' For Free, Don't Complain. Very little is as
irritating as giving away your last Vicodin (or Darvocett, or Xanax,
or...) and having the idiot you gave it to tell you that they "don't
feel anything". There are plenty of adjectives which come to mind,
including (but not limited to): ungrateful, unthankful, wreched,
unappreciative, and inconsiderate. If you pay for something, by all
means, expect to get your money's worth, if it was a gift, be
gracious. The person gave it to you with the best intentions.
4. Expect A Reasonable Return Rate. This one is tricky. What is gold
to one person may be silver to another, but get real. Ten Xanax is
not going to get you ten Percodan. Ten Xanax may get you two Percs,
and that would be if the person is generous. Sometimes dealing is
the best policy here. It can avoid hurt feelings and feelings of
being taken advantage of. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but
most often if things are discussed in advance, the trade works out
for the best.
5. If You Accept 'Em, Take 'Em. Otherwise don't accept them. You're
only wasting the goods and depriving someone else of a high (bad
6. If You Accept 'Em, Don't Lose 'Em. Or if you do, don't tell. A
mistake's a mistake, but you don't have to rub it in.