One of the strangest things that I got up to in my childhood came to me last night when Suolas and I were getting our fix of Battlestar Galactica (okay we’re geeks, Moving swiftly on). In the episode one character is receiving some mind altering drugs to manipulate information he could possibly be harbouring . What has this got to do with my childhood you say? A very good question. The thing is whilst watching it , the image of me sniffing a cleaning powder burst into my minds eye and suddenly I found myself saying to Suolas matter of factly, ‘Yknow when I was about 9 I went through a few weeks of sniffing ‘Flash’ powder’. He slowly turned around , eyes wide, brow down and said ‘What??’
I went on to explain to him that one Saturday evening I was cleaning the kitchen with my mother and I was asking her if I could have the responsible job of washing the floor. It was 1980 , the wonderful world of cleaning products had not expanded much by washing crystals and flakes but ‘Flash Powder’ was the new kid in stain town with its neon green dissolvable powder and the smell of Norwegian spruces it was fallout chemicals to germs all over Irish kitchens. Mum prepared the water and mop for me and I set about doing the floor with gusto, Mum on the other hand went outside to the sitting room with a deserving cup of tea that I made for her and a crossword. When I had finished the floor I went about the business of showing my mother what a good job I had done before setting down the obligatory newspapers to give the clean floor extended life. Congratulated and feeling very mature I put away the mop bucket and reached for the packet of flash to store under the sink. I closed the door and rubbed my nose.
On the tips of my fingers some of the powder had lingered and it promptly went up my hooter which resulted in a ridiculous sneezing frenzy. Call me strange but I actually got a hilarious buzz off it, sneezing so much, tickled nostrils and feeling light-headed after so much sneezing was probably the most euphoric feeling I knew in all my youthful years.
This went on for a couple of weeks until I showed My older brother , who even though was only two years older than me still had the good sense to know that I was ‘stupid is as stupid does’ . The ‘hey watch this’ boastful line was promptly met with the siren and threatening ‘ M-u-u-u-m Jude’s sniffing flash’. Its kinda hard to tell your brother to shut the fuck up when you’re in the middle of a sneezing frenzy. Mum entered the kitchen , a swift hard clip around the ear was dealt and the terse question of ‘what the fuck are you playing' at was delivered through gritted teeth. My explanation was lost in a torrent stupidity labels and my mum threw out the Flash. After a grounding and period of being watched like a hawk, that was the end of that.
Now I have never tried coke, have been offered it but never did it. I don’t think it would ever give me the hit that the green booger sugar could top. And besides Charlie might give you nosebleeds but at least for my brief foray into substance abuse as a kid , I had clean pipes and smelled pine fresh everywhere I went.