Something SmellsNovember 7th, 2007 by josh farley
Andrew Binion writes:
WARNING TO READERS: A former editor of mine called it the “breakfast test.”
If you could read the story over a plate of eggs and bacon without retching, it could go in the paper.
The following story without a doubt does not pass the before-mentioned test. It is not meant to be printed in the paper, but still, do not attempt to eat or prepare food during or shortly after reading it. And wash your hands for crying out loud.
When I was a high school student back in the sepia-toned 1990s, kids used to drink a beverage called “malt liquor” and smoke what our Spanish-speaking brethren called “marihuana.”
But that was before MySpace.com and thong underpants for prepubescents.
The latest innovation from teenagers — the people that brought us glue-sniffing, satanic vivisection of cows and the everlasting popularity of Britney Spears — comes a new way of getting high by inhaling the vapors from fermented human waste.
It’s called “Jenkem,” but it is also referred to “butt hash,” and it was discovered among African street urchins who can’t score aerosol cans or gasoline. The noxious mixture of aged No. 1 and No. 2 was the subject of an awkwardly-worded Florida law enforcement bulletin, complete with an innocent-enough looking boy getting, uh, high.
“Jenkem is now a popular drug in American Schools,” the bulletin says. Oh, really?
No, really. The bulletin was posted on that bastion of top-quality public affairs news, The Smoking Gun. And two television stations ran stories on it. If it’s on the Internet and television news, it must be true. One station even went out on a limb to say the mysterious practice sent a “shockwave of disgust through our staff.” That line could have been worded better, friends.
“Inhaling the gas is said to have a euphoric high similar to ingesting cocaine but with strong hallucinations of times past,” the bulletin said.
I know, I know, when you’re strung out on human waste how can you tell the difference between “strong hallucinations of times past” and “robust clairvoyant glimpses into the future?” The bulletin also reports that Jenkem users compared the feeling to “talking to dead people.”
That’s the least of your concerns, Jenkem junkies. Pass the breath mints.
“All subjects who used the Jenkem disliked the taste of sewage in their mouth and the fact that the taste continued for several days.”
It certainly sounds like an authentic bureaucratic communiqué. Is it for real? The Smoking Gun expressed doubts.
There have been previous reports of teenagers huffing the methane from fresh cow pies in countries where drug dealing is punishable by death. An entry on Wikipedia, another reliable source, had reports from the 1990s about African kids huffing the noxious cocktail.
In the interest in getting to the bottom of the important stories, I went to Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilson, the usual target of my stupid questions, who cautioned me that it could be an Internet hoax.
“No, I have never heard of that,” Wilson said, who immediately wondered how a person could stand the stench. “It would be like Napoleon’s army walking across your taste buds.”
The good news for Jenkem users is that it may not be illegal, Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Casad said.
“I would think that if it concerned a child under 18, CPS might become involved, but I can’t think of any crime that fits,” he said.
Although Wilson hadn’t heard of kids huffing waste to get high doesn’t mean that he won’t.
“Maybe kids in Washington state are more fastidious with chances they take,” Wilson said.