Mini Thins, the Gas Station Speed of Oklahoma Teens in the 90s

I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs. I used to be ashamed to admit that, but I’m 42 now and really don’t care what people think anymore.

But that’s not to say I haven’t done a few of those things in my past. Though my drug use has been practically nil—chances are if I ever bragged about doing drugs, I was probably lying to earn cool points with whoever I was with—but there was a small period of time where I downed the occasional bottle of Mini Thins, mostly as a speed-driven attempt to lose weight in the 90s.

Being an overweight teen wasn’t easy. At that age, if you’re pudgy, portly or stout you typically have two routes to go down: the grotesque bully or the corpulent depressive. Though there were times I wavered between the two—my belated apologies to any underclassmen I picked on—I mostly aimed for a chubbier Moz, sequestering myself from others at school dances and so on, with a hidden penchant for razor slashes up and down my right arm.

I did everything as a teen to lose weight, from bouts of unwavering exercise to regurgitating my dinner on the side of the house. Nothing I did seemed to help, until I found Mini Thins. Back then, this miracle drug was mainly sold behind the counters of the long-gone filling stations that were scattered around my high school, Classen School of Advanced Studies; they were also the ones that sold individual cigarettes, nudie magazines and God knows what else to kids.

I had heard about this wonder-drug from the excessively attractive alternative girls that secretly ran the arts program of my high school, on one of the rare moments when they granted me a sweet taste of benign coolness to actually hang out with them. Although, back then, it had a now-withdrawn drug (I think it was phen-phen, but don’t quote me) that gave my young body a speedy high that would get me through the day as the pounds mercifully sloughed off.

At only a few dollars a bottle—even cheaper if you got the vacuum-sealed packet of around four pills—it was an easy way to lose the excess poundage, with many people starting to accept a slimmer me into their vaunted lives, a person who was now worthy of their skinny love. Too bad high school was over by then.

Even though I wouldn’t say I was addicted to this legal drug, I would always run to it when times were tougher than they needed to be, because of my weight or otherwise, like when my father died, for example. It was around that time when I partook in my last binge. I was working at the AMC at Memorial Square 8 Theatre in my new position as staff trainer.

I started panicking when I couldn’t fit into my new burgundy polyester vest, so I started taking a few to lose extra girth, bought from a now-gone convenience store out where the old Toys R Us once sat. It was all well and good and soon enough, the clothing started to fit snugly, with mildly bursting buttons. But then, one day, I took far too many, more than any young boy should have.

In the middle of training a new bunch of bright-eyed AMC employees, readying them for a summer of stale popcorn and flat soda, I had a major freakout; my heart began beating rapidly, with frequent flutters that rippled through my body. I started to panic, thinking I was going to die; as soon as I got home, I threw the bottle away, never to touch it ever again.

Not that there haven’t been a few tempting times.

Last year, when I was in the middle of a disastrous relationship, one of our numerous discussions invariably turned to drug use, her stories one-upping me on every level; I won’t lie when I say I felt like a high school loser once again. As we compared Mini Thins tales—hers was one of outdoor vomit and other unmentionable acts and mine was, sadly, trying to lose the gut—I thought up the not-so-bright idea to try this new, weaker Mini Thins, currently on most convenience store shelves.

I drove to the nearest place in Norman and bought a vacuum-sealed pack, staring at it for days, eventually forgetting about it and the bitter relationship they reminded me of. They sat hidden in my bookcase, never to be used. I found them the other day and threw them out.

Although I want to be thin and attractive like everyone else seems to be—and I know these new Mini Thins are tantamount to a couple of cans of Red Bull, or so I’m told—the terrible heart flutter came back when I held the pack in my hand. I just couldn’t do that to myself again. I have to be happy with me, even if very few people are.

I guess, in many ways, when it comes to drugs, I will always be a true loser.

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