My parents have been doing their best to drive me insane lately. I am 19 years old and I have yet to move out of their house. I often refer to myself as "the kid the fifties forgot" because my fashion sense would be at home on "Happy Days" and my sister and I call my parents house a "cultural bomb-shelter."

As a gay kid living in a strict Irish Catholic house, my life alternates between listening to my parents arguing, listening to my siblings arguing, and the occasional time of peace and laughter. It can get to be a bit much and when it does I go and spend time with my sister.

Today, my parents want to talk to me about my orientation again. As always, it degenerates into a shouting match. We all need some time to cool off, so they let me borrow the car and go hang out with my sister.

The Insane Asylum, as we call my sister's former home, is never quiet. At the moment I am using the computer in the back bedroom to check my email while her friends play Mario Kart and listen to music. The game and radio fight for dominance, the volume creeping up over time until someone starts yelling to be heard over the din. Then both are turned down, and the battle begins again.

I am here to see my sister but, as is so often the case, she is working late. She tries to avoid coming here, as some of the people who live in this house still dislike her in the aftermath of one former roommate's machinations.

So I find myself wasting time on the computer, hoping that she can still come over after dealing with her perpetually nasty customers. Someone knocks on the door behind me and asks me if everything is all right. The voice belongs to my sister's ex, Ben. Despite the fact that his current flame is responsible for my sister's exile, he and I are still friends.

I nod, and ask him "What's up?"

"We're getting ready to smoke," he responds. In a house of chain smokers, that can only mean pot. "I know it's not your thing dude," he continues, "but it won't kill you to try."

His voice has taken on a cajoling tone, and no one does 'sad puppy' eyes like Ben. I'm seriously starting to think about it as another friend, Zack, pops up behind Ben. "Come on, dude! You gotta try it at least once in your life before you decide you hate it!"

As the rest of the household crowds into the hallway, all of them attempting to convince me of the raptures of weed, Ben switches sides. He starts telling them to "lay off" and give me room to think. Unfortunately, among my many faults is the habit of making snap decisions.

This being apparently one of those times, it flashes across my mind that it might not be so bad to try it just this once. Which is what I tell Ben as he starts arguing with his girlfriend Chrissy. After a few surprised exclamations, and more than a few repeats of "are you sure?" we head out into the living room to introduce me to the glorious Mary Jane.

To be honest, the first few hits are not that bad. It seems to curl around my mind, softly and seductively, whispering thoughts of pleasure into my ear as it draws me down into a place where things like time and space have no meaning. They keep telling me how impressive it is that I have not coughed yet. Caring about this is a little beyond me at the moment, as the world has suddenly become a wonderfully "floaty" place. Why did I not try this stuff before? The world is slowing down, everything is hilarious, and are those Pringles?!

As I satisfy my sudden urge to eat something crunchy, I remember to thank Zack for passing me the chips. For no particular reason, I use a British accent while doing so and discover that this sends Amy, his wife, into helpless fits of giggling. Giggling being something that the normally restrained Amy does not do, it amuses me to spend the next few minutes reducing her to a gasping puddle of laughter. By the time we get her calmed down, it is my turn to get up and grab more munchies. After a few failed attempts to stand I finally manage to get upright and—

Gods in heaven and hell! The world seems to have gotten bored with floating and decided to spin instead. I remember standing up, so why am I leaning over the counter of the kitchen trying desperately not to retch? And why is everyone standing around me telling me it's going to be okay? Ben leads me to his bedroom and gets me to lie down on the bed. Just as I tell him that I am fine, the world starts oscillating up and down.

As I clutch the bed to prevent myself from falling off the planet, it dawns on me that perhaps I may not be fine after all. It feels like I am fighting against all the forces of creation just to stay still and not let the vertigo get to me, because I know I will not be able to stand and walk to a toilet if I need to throw up.

Two pieces of bread, and about thirty gravitational shifts later, everything seems to be back to normal. Zack tells me that it sounds like I came down off my high, since that is what it feels like sometimes, but he has never seen anyone come down that fast or that hard. "Uncomplimentary" would be a mild way to describe my reply, but no one seems to hold it against me. I call my parents and tell them that I feel too tired to make it home safely and crash out on the couch.

I spend the next few weeks shuddering every time I think of weed, and wondering why it had that effect on me. No legal drugs have that effect on me. In fact, most prescription drugs have no effect on me at all.

The answer arrives in the form of a routine visit to the doctor almost a month later. I have severely strained a muscle in my back, and the doctor wants me to take hydrocodone for the pain. I explain that medication rarely works on me, and the doctor frowns and asks me to describe my reactions.

He listens and then tells me that both my mother and grandfather have three kidneys, and it might be possible that I have the same. Apparently this would render most medication, and nearly all illegal drugs, ineffective. He tells me that even if the drugs did have an affect it would be very accelerated, and incredibly brief.

Knowing now that any drug might have that effect on me, I have decided to stay away from them. I have the greatest respect for those who avoid drugs of their own accord, but as the "try anything" sort of person I try to be, I guess I needed a reason. There are times my resolve wavers as I remember the laughter and sense of belonging of that night. But then the crystal clear memory of lying on a bed, clutching at the sheets, as the room bucks and spins around me flashes across my mind.

Though laughter and joy can be found in the oh so seductive arms of the Lady Mary Jane, for me the pain she brings far outweighs the few sweet moments outside of time that I am able to enjoy.