They’ll go snort an eight ball of cocaine and play in traffic...

I didn't find any meaning in reliable online dictionaries.

Is this synonymous with go play in traffic?

To go away and leave one alone because what is being done or said is very irritating.

Could you help me please?

The fuller text is:

But the only thing that frees us is that truth: You and I and everyone we know will die, and little to nothing that we do will ever matter on a cosmic scale. And while some people fear that this truth will liberate them from all responsibility, that they’ll go snort an eight ball of cocaine and play in traffic, the reality is that this truth scares them because it liberates them to responsibility. It means that there’s no reason to not love ourselves and one another. That there’s no reason to not treat ourselves and our planet with respect. That there’s no reason to not live every moment of our lives as though it were to be lived in eternal recurrence.

  • 8
    I don't understand why people close vote a question because "it should be answered using a dictionary" when the question itself already shows prior research, including a link to an online dictionary with the word or phrase in question. We ask for two main things: context and research. This question shows both.
    – J.R.
    Jul 21, 2019 at 9:40

2 Answers 2


In this context, I think the author is simply saying:

they’ll go live recklessly and behave dangerously

The reason we might tell someone to "go play in traffic" when they are annoying us is that we want them to go away and not come back. I think the phrase is used in jest; if taken literally, it's almost like we are saying that we hope they will go get seriously injured. (I'd recommend most learners avoid the go play in traffic idiom.)

Similarly, and eight-ball of cocaine is a pretty large amount (3.5 grams), and according to one website:

The estimated minimal lethal dose of cocaine is 1.2 g, but individuals with hypersensitivity to cocaine have died from as little as 30 mg. Still, this is usually not the case with cocaine addicts, who develop a high tolerance to cocaine in the central nervous system. In fact, some cocaine addicts with considerable tolerance have reported that they can tolerate up to 5 g of cocaine daily.

So, your sentence begins with:

This truth [that everyone will die] will liberate them from all responsibility, and they'll go snort an eight ball of cocaine and play in traffic.

In other words, because they feel like nothing they do will prevent their ultimate, eventual death, they simply won't exercise caution while living. The author could have just as well said:

This truth will liberate them from all responsibility, and they'll go take lethal doses of drugs and do very dangerous recreational activities.

However, that paraphrasing is more bland than the original. I don't think the author is using established idioms per se, but rather simply furnishing some colorful examples.

  • 2
    Of course, telling an annoying person to go play in traffic really means that we hope they go "go live recklessly and behave dangerously" thereby dying and thus never coming back.
    – RonJohn
    Jul 21, 2019 at 19:23

What happens if you play in the traffic(a road full of vehicles), you will hurt right? Therefore "Play in traffic" means "get hurt yourself, I don't care".

This also could mean "Get lost" example, When adults arguing about something, a kid joins and start adding his/her input, Then dad could say "play in the traffic Tom" aka "get lost Tom" or "leave us alone Tom".

So in your example "they’ll go snort an eight ball of cocaine and play in traffic indicate that, risky behavior of cocaine usage, they don't care about their lives.

ref: https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/go+play+in+traffic

  • The link in your answer matches the link already posted by the OP in the question.
    – J.R.
    Jul 22, 2019 at 0:10

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