If Rob Ford Really Smoked Crack, He’d Have a Hell of a Time Governing Toronto

Could the mayor of a major city really smoke crack and still do his job?

Mark Blinch/Reuters, via Landov

The good thing regarding Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s suspected crack use, if indeed the reports are true, is that he hasn’t been dancing with the devil for very long. Overweight crackheads simply don’t exist; who’s got the time (or desire) to eat?

But the bad thing is that he’d still be in big trouble, addiction-wise, even if the incident in which he was supposedly caught on a cell-phone camera with a crackpipe in mouth was his first time.

In fact, crack is such an overbearing, life-ruining monster that the idea of an addict running the affairs of Toronto is difficult to imagine.

Crack is just about the only drug known to man that can cause addiction on the very first hit. As the saying goes on the street, one hit is too many, a million ain’t enough. Otherwise sane and stable people wouldn’t forsake their families, destroy their careers, and eventually pawn everything they own (or can get their hands on, no matter who owns it) over a passing fancy. Crack eventually owns its victims. The addiction really is that strong.

If the allegations, which Ford denies, were true, the alleged video really wouldn’t have to surface. He’d just do it again, and again, and again until he’s physically restrained, either by family or friends who get him into rehab, or by the police when they catch him dirty. I don’t know of anyone who quit smoking crack of their own volition; it’s just not that kind of party. Smoking crack is like fucking a gorilla: it feels good, but you can’t stop until the gorilla is ready to stop. And this is a gorilla that doesn’t even want to slow down, let alone stop.

Other drugs, like, say heroin, allow for a respite; a person can self-medicate two, three, or maybe four times in a 24-hour period and then go on with their day or night, often with no one the wiser. High-functioning heroin junkies are a dime a dozen in most population centers, often working as servers in fine dining establishments since getting paid daily in the form of tips keeps their drug suppliers very happy. Nothing like cash on the barrelhead in the dope game.

The problem with crack is that the high doesn’t last very long; it wears off in less than a half hour, sometimes a lot quicker. And then the craving is right back with an unremitting, overwhelming vengeance that makes it very hard to do anything else but satisfy the urge to the point of exhaustion. Exhaustion can come in one of two ways: either the supply is exhausted, or the body simply is too tuckered out. Then it’s reach for the NyQuil, which helps to bring the mind and body down.

In the early stages of addiction, it’s easier to “hit it and quit it,” but the progression from full-fledged addiction to functionality, even at a lower level, is just about out of the question. How is one to think about something like governance when crack is calling every waking moment? Indeed, all crack addicts, when they go through withdrawal (it’s a mental high, not a physical one) only have one dream, in which they are getting high. Remission can’t even begin until those dreams stop, which in most individuals takes about six to nine months.

Much was made last Friday in regards to the brevity of the press conference Mayor Ford held. Indeed, if the charges that he vehemently denied were true, that’d be the reason—his mind just wouldn’t have been there. It would have been on the next hit of that pipe. He’d have had to get out of there so he could plot his next score. Crack is a very tough and demanding mistress, and she’s jealous about the mind entertaining any other thoughts. It always, and I do mean always, has to be about her, to the virtual exclusion of anything else. Crack crowds out any other thoughts or desires, and you can’t will the mind to quit thinking about that last hit, and how the next hit just might be the one you’re looking and hoping for; that one where you finally bust your nuts and find relief…satisfaction.

Crack, you see, is all about sexual gratification, all about achieving that orgasm that’s tantalizingly just one hit away. But no one has ever gotten there; junkies do when they overdose, but crackheads aren’t decent enough to kill themselves and thereby thin the herd out a bit. They just steal everything and take it to the dope man. City Hall security in Toronto had better be on high alert if Ford really has been bitten by the snake.

If I were a drug dealer in possession of this alleged video, the first person I’d offer to sell it to would be my customer; hey, there has to be some loyalty in business relationships. But when and if my customer blew me off, then I’d show it to a reporter, knowing full well no self-respecting publication is going to pay money for it.

Then, once the story broke, I’d sit and wait for my customer, who has by now come at least to some of his senses and offers to pay—in spite of the fact the price just doubled. Then I’d wait for the big boys to call.

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There are a couple of tabloids who know their newsstand sales would go through the roof with a picture of Rob Ford on the cover smoking crack. Then the bidding wars would really begin.

The question is, if Ford were already an addict, could he keep it together enough to somehow finesse his way out of this, or would he just do what most crackheads do and say “Fuck it, I’m just going to get higher than Charles Manson”? Not for nothing do they call it “Fightin’ that Giant.”

And the Giant always wins.