Rickter Scale: A step ahead of the great abyss

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column that runs in the Goldstream Gazette

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

If fentanyl had scourged the streets when I was in my teens, the odds of probable cause dictate that I wouldn’t have lived long enough to write this.

The topic came up during a recent discussion with a close friend, one of a group of us who made the exodus from Montreal to the West Coast in 1974. The fearful foursome of friendships that continues to endure finds us all alive in the Capital Region. We are a builder of homes, a renovator of houses, a successful salesman and a semi-retired journalist whose writings and rants continues to confuse and dismay readers and editors alike.

We all survived countless nights of ingesting whatever we could scrounge up or stumble upon on any given weekend, and agreed that one or all of us wouldn’t have made it if fentanyl had been around back then.

Second chances are fewer and further between since that opioid of mass destruction found its way into the buffet of today’s drugs of choice.

There was no science to fall back on during the days of our psychedelic hazing; we were mobile testing clinics haphazardly gathering research on the fly with every trip. The only rule was if there were doubts on the effects of whatever we were dropping, we let someone else try it first. If they were okay after the first hour, that was enough for us to hop on board for the ride.

READ MORE: Rickter Scale

In hindsight, it’s hard to fathom how often we plunged off a cliff to wherever the tablet, capsule, gelatin piece of window pane or barrel of sunshine half the size of a match head would take us.

Those are experiences I will never forget, where laughter, music and the company of the best of friends blended together in extended stretches of electrified euphoria, the depth and pleasures of which I will never experience again.

Almost 50 years later, moments triggered by a song or circumstances unlock the dusty vaults in my memory bank long enough to reinforce that I don’t regret those midnight journeys wrapped in magic and mystery. That’s despite the occasional night I spent trapped in the Asylum Hotel, promising the good Lord that I would never do it again if he would only dial me back to normal. Broken promises to higher powers rarely outweighed the urge to let the good times roll again.

Fortunately, we all managed to grow up within the lines, put away our psychedelic playthings and help raise children we’re extremely proud of, thanks in large part to our good fortune in choosing brides. Somehow, we dodged the bullets, pitfalls and collateral damage the collection of chemical-soaked voyages may have wreaked.

The consensus is that despite our common, senseless approach, we managed to work our way onto the path that leads to happy endings. Whether we deserve that or not will remain for someone else to decide or form the fodder for a future column.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Rickter Scale

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Neighbours help Sidney woman mark 103rd birthday with surprise parade

Barbara Chorlton celebrates her ‘best birthday so far’

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read