And So it Begins
by Jim Murray
Bob Haag has a lot to answer for, pimping stardust to
the masses. I can emphatically declare that its
because of him, I am in the state I am today.
Trained many years ago as a pharmacologist I am well
familiar with signs, symptoms and morphology of a
It started one Thursday night, browsing through the TV
channels, I came across a story about a man and his
rocks. Holding up a thick slice of shiny metal, Bob
was explaining the nature of iron meteorites, but most
of it managed to pass right by me because I was
mesmerized by the patterns shown on the metal slice.
I didnít know it then but I was hooked!
Later I was to learn all about exotic phrases such as
"Widmanstštten" and "Neumann lines", but at this stage
I was just fascinated about how structured a piece of
sky rock could look inside, and it was right then I
decided that I just had to get me a piece of the
"Seek and ye shall find". EBay came immediately to
mind and right after the show ended I searched for
"meteorite" and was inundated with hits. I had no
idea that there would be so much of it out there going
Well it appeared that everyone was doing it and one
hit couldnít do me any harm, could it? So I plunged
headlong into a bidding war for a slice of iron with
pretty patterns. Got it! And then the wait, it had
to come all the way from the USA. Hoping that it
would pass through the border authorities unnoticed it
finally arrived. Unwrapping it like a three year old
at Xmas my first dose was unveiled in all its glory
and it looked even nicer than I had hoped.
Fascinating symmetry and asymmetry in one and all this
in a simple chunk of iron.
And so it began. One after another, pieces, slices,
fragments, chunks and complete stones start to arrive
in my letterbox from all over the world.
We have two methods here by which normal post is
delivered, either by the normal postie or by
contracted courier. Both came to know us very well.
Knock, Knock another parcel. Many times Iím sure the
two would vie to see who could deliver the largest
number of parcels to us in the one day.
Even one day, while I was watering the front garden,
the courier van passing by, stops and our trusty
courier gets out to profusely apologize. "Sorry but
thereís none for you today!"
They really must wonder what was going on, but as
professional as they are, never once did they ask just
what it was they were continually delivering to our
front door from all corners of the planet.
I suppose as a number of the packages would arrive
with the "Inspected by Quarantine" taped all over
them, the postie could at least re-assure himself that
he was not acting as an unsuspecting runner of
prohibited substances! He was, in a manner, helping
feed a habit as addictive as any of the drugs I
learned about in my pharmacology days!
Starting off with the "soft" stuff, irons, the buzz
quickly attenuated, especially after seeing some of my
beautiful slices start off pristine and fairly
quickly, before my very eyes as it were, form
disfiguring spots of rust. I could have weaned myself
off right then and there, and perhaps should have, but
then I discovered the other non-earthly delights.
I progressed through common chondrites to the harder
stuff, eucrites, aubrites and diogenites and all sorts
of other "ites". The hardest stuff I have gotten into
so far is carbonaceous rock. Thankfully I couldnít
get up the resources to get some of the really hard
stuff, lunar and mars dust. I can thank the stars
for small mercies; for I believe once hooked on these
insidious compounds, the cost of getting the next fix
can send you and your family to the skids.
Not that there is any shortage of the stuff or of the
dealers out there that will readily tout it.
Brazenly and without remorse they display their goods
on the World Wide Web, selling to anyone with enough
funds to pay.
I have even heard that a number of these dealers have
been seen in schools, extolling the virtues of these
heavenly, or is that demonic, substances and selling
inexpensive hits to children as young as ten to get
them hooked on their merchandise.
The annual "WoodStock for Rock-Fiends" in Arizona, is
yet another place where you can see these dealers
blatantly and shamelessly flaunting their goods.
Slices, cubes, blocks, crystals, rocks and dust change
hands in the dark corridors of the innocent looking
In the all-night raves, a major part of the
festivities, it is not unusual to see zip-locked bags
of capsules of moon-dust travel from pocket to hand to
hand to pocket without a word being said.
But in some ways I feel sorry for these unfortunate
creatures, the dealers. Most starting off as simple
users themselves, find that to get enough funds
together to satisfy the almost mind-numbing cravings
they need to deal in the stuff themselves. There, but
for happenstances of fate, go I.
Then even the proceeds from selling doesnít meet the
financial obligations of the habit, and so evolves the
rock-runner, that retched individual who smuggles the
goods OUT of the country, recklessly flaunting laws
and regulations put in place to try to keep some of
this valuable, heritagely significant material where
it was found.
But the financial stakes are too high, and while the
demand is there and there exists shameless buyers with
the full knowledge of these laws who will still buy at
any cost, the rock-runner will flourish.
The trade is not without its danger. Large sums of
money are at stake, so sometimes territories are
encroached and tempers flare.
In the back-alleys of the web we call blogs and
mailing-lists, a raging war is fought unnoticed by the
public at large. At the end, bloodied corpses of once
vital reputations lay still and abandoned. But life
And so it goes, new stuff arrives from the depths of
the Saharan golden triangle, rumoured to be traded in
a Moroccan caravanserai and couried unnoticed through
umpteen border crossings. Dealers vie with each other
for a piece of this new action, then on-sell cut or
pure to us the hapless victims.
You canít fight it. There is a well oiled propaganda
and marketing engine at its centre, knowing exactly
what the user is craving and making sure that they get
just enough at prices they can just afford.
Over time I found peering at my cut slices under the
microscope, although interesting enough, no longer as
satisfying as it used to be. I had to find a more
In my travels I had heard of a technique that was
guaranteed to give you an even greater high. Buying
the appropriate gear off the web I set myself up to
Finer ever finer before I knew it and before I could
control it I was mainlining, creating thin sections
that, under the microscope sent me on wild psychedelic
trips. Day in, day out pondering the micro universes
that were the brightly coloured chondrules I could see
in front of my eyes.
By now my wife was getting concerned, I had lost
interest in every thing else, especially my
maintenance duties around the house. All of my spare
time was taken up looking for more stuff to feed my
habit, and when some new stuff was found, spending
hours on end quietly transfixed staring into the inner
space of those cosmic visitors.
But I think I have finally plateaued, thankfully
before hitting the real hard stuff, and can now get on
with my life.
You rock-lords and rock-barons out there, you know who
you are. Have you no compassion? Do you not see what
you are doing to us, and even worse, to our young and
Unable to gather the strength to go cold-turkey, I
have been gradually weaning myself off. Things are
starting to get back to normal and I can proudly say I
am now purely a recreational user only! Now where
did I hide that chunk of Murch?