by Margaret Atwood
When I was fifteen, I dropped out of high school. I did it for a number of reasons; high school sucks, everyone knows that. But the biggest reason, the crucible factor, was methamphetamine. I had begun to hang around The Ex, who had used his characteristic mixture of charm, threat, and manipulation to get me to try meth.
Meth wasn’t my favorite drug in terms of effects, but let me tell you: the comedown is harsh. I mean, once that drug leaves your system for the first time, you feel like you’ve been thrown into a garbage truck and run through the masher. I don’t know what the “normal” response is to that feeling, but the addict-mentality response is to take more of the drug. Which is what I did, and I became hooked. I’d get clean within two years; like I said, it wasn’t really my thing. But it did cause me to drop out of high school.
As a result, my basic scientific knowledge is lacking. Of course, I took the requisite science class in college, but my lab science was a study abroad in Costa Rica where I basically counted twigs while sunbathing and flirting with the Ticos. My MFA had no science requirements. I’m a smart person, but fundamentally uneducated on certain topics. So, when I hear about the marvels and dangers of genetic engineering, I’m kind of in the dark. I get it, I get the basic concept, but not the details. I certainly could not have written this weeks’ choice book, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.