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Written by Claire Cornwall
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose a washing machine, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing gameshows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose some thin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?
This quote illustrates that the root of Renton's discontent is a disdain for a hatred of what is perceived as a normal life, and he implies that this life is something that most people stumble blindly into until they don't recognize themselves as individuals anymore. He explains his choice to become a heroin addict as a choice for something less ordinary and seems almost to look down on people who did not step outside of the box like that. His world view is very jaded and filled with contempt yet he chose to live a less ordinary life not by achieving more than the average person but by achieving nothing at all but a downward slide into addiction and crime. At the same time he is telling us that heroin is his everything; his car, his television, his washing machine. Heroin is everything and all that matters.
Living like this is a full-time business.
Being a drug addict is not something that can be done whilst living a normal life. There would not be time. Renton's life is a twenty-four hour cycle of buying drugs, injecting heroin, coming down, stupor, needing money, stealing money and buying drugs. There is no time to work, to spend time with friends who are not fellow addicts or to pay attention to anything that is not part of this cycle.
People think it's all about misery and desperation and death and all that shit which is not to be ignored, but what they forget us the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. After all, we're not fucking stupid. At least, we're not that fucking stupid.
Despite the physical pain and gut-wrenching discomfort that occurs when he is in need of another hit; despite what he has to do to get money for drugs, and what he misses out on because of his all consuming addiction, and of course the fact that every time he injects heroin it could kill him or infect him with the HIV virus, the out-of-body, incomparable rush of pleasure he feels when he is using heroin makes the danger and the impending misery so minimal that it is forgotten. The reason for using heroin is pure pleasure and to the non-addict this is a factor that is rarely taken into account.
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