The word illicit implies something more than a bit dodgy. Something that is definitely not wrapped in holy unction and available only at church. The illicit in life lurks on a dark street corner and whispers, “pssst, hey you. Over here.”

Everyone should at least toy with the illicit once in a while. It gives you perspective in life, makes you a more interesting conversationalist at gatherings, and allows you to say to those who are innocent of original sin -“hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”

Danger lurks for those too eager or enthusiastic in adopting alternatives to the staid. In specific nomadic communities, guideposts are set out to indicate the presence of watering spots in the desert. Eventually, you come to one that is specially marked. It’s the final one; no water beyond this point. You travel beyond the guideposts at your own risk. Will you have enough water to last through the long passage to the other side?

I joke about toying with the illicit only because I nibbled about its edges. I encourage cautious experimentation, not overindulgence. How do I know? I’ve been shot at, experimented with substances I should not have, and run for my life. To use an expression popular with the old Mountain Men – “I’ve gone to see the varmint.”

Allow your toes to become dampened by the wild sides’ tide. It can be an enriching experience. But remember, there are no lifeguards at this particular beach, and swimming here is risky business.

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