Let’s say, hypothetically, there lived a Victorian man named Eliot Smyth. He was a pleasant enough chap, but on the whole, rather subdued. So, he took a shine to alcohol when out with friends, because it enhanced his extroversion, inspired conversation, and led to small adventures.
He may have climbed the statue of Queen Anne outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral and toasted her with a bottle of whiskey. He may have streaked through St. James’ Park. He may have targeted any number of other saints in his frolics, come to think of it…we’ll never know for sure. Purely hypothetical, you know.
Let’s say this Mr. Smyth also discovered opium, laudanum, and hash along the way, because why not?
Let’s say this Mr. Smyth was, in fact, a recreational drug user with a penchant for seeking out safe but surely world-altering experiences.
Let’s also say that this Mr. Smyth died and became a ghost. And once a ghost, he realised three rather important things:
First, when one is a ghost, the risk of death by misadventure decreases significantly.
Second, in the years after his death and prior to his manifestation, the alively world created a vast number of new substances.
Third, in order to experience these new substances, all one had to do was borrow the happy memories and best trips out of vast memory banks, find a suitable club, and summon up instant bliss, just prime for personal variation. Instant legal bliss. (See realisation number one, and consider its applications to bodily autonomy.)
What would you do, if you were Mr. Smyth?
If you said that you would find yourself a fantastic club full of blinky lights, collect the memories to match little pills that make you feel like velvet houseplants are touching your eyes, and switch out your cravat for leather trousers, you’d be accurate in your estimations of Mr. Smyth’s character.
Now suppose, hypothetically, of course, that Mr. Smyth was having a rather excellent trip that resulted in the belief that he was, in fact, a mushroom. Leather pants wouldn’t do at all for a mushroom, right? So he locates another gent on the dance floor and suggests they should switch trousers on account of said gent wearing suede–much more mushroom suitable. Gent says, by all means! I’m actually a snake! I think leather would be perfect!
Trousers are switched.
And let’s suppose that the following morning, Mr. Smyth watches footage of the trouser exchange on his husband’s mobile, shakes his head at himself, and giggles into his cereal.
But later in the day….more footage comes in. Along with a memo from Mr. Smyth’s PR firm alerting him to the ongoing Twitter auction for a pair of his leather trousers worn home from the club by one @YASSLAYJOSE.
Mr. Smyth may have swaddled himself in Victorian attire at this point, picked out a stuffy book, and considered the merits of clean living.
AND LET’S SUPPOSE that this bloody Twitter auction ended at $80k Canadian for a pair of damn trousers. And Mr. Smyth had to pony up for the quid, to keep the designer of said trousers happy. Mr. Smyth also had to take meetings with his charitable board of investors, who allowed he should blow off steam on occasion, thank god. And Mr. Smyth also had to contact each of his contractual designers and explain the situation to chortling fashionistas, as well as apologise to his mentored models, because while drugs are legal in Ghost World, they are still surrounded by bullshit moralistic tripe.
So…depending on the sort of person you are, and whether or not you become a ghost, these suppositions could read as either a cautionary or curious tale. Choices between libertarian and sober lifestyle will be entirely up to you.
I think I shall keep my boots laced and my cravat tied for at least another little while, as dealing with hypotheticals can become rather time-consuming. And I promised my PR consultant a vacation at the winter holidays…