Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness. - Allen Ginsberg
With other jocks I was the hippie. With hippies I was the jock. With squares I was a stoner with stoners I was a square. How did you want me? I’d be the opposite. But I was never confused I was always true to my inner whirling dervish of a brain all its high dives and pratfalls and whopping contradictions. I just wanted to be oppositional. And I was.
Mom finally came out. I guess she couldn’t contain it anymore. She moved from dad’s room and treated everyone to her own raging raving madness. Big brother came home one weekend from college and got the full dose. I heard him cry that night. I never had the luxury. Mom had always just been that way it had been my reality. Poor Dad. Figuratively a two by four had bashed him in the head. No sense to be of made of it. They had -- as he said to me years later -- "a good thing going." He was living the American dream. Now it was a nightmare. There was his loving wife screaming utter nonsense at him. At me. At the air. Well welcome to my world everyone. My misery at last had company.
For as long as I could remember I had hid in my imagination. Creating entire worlds. In some of them dwelled great athletes performing amazing exploits (like the imaginary basketball star Horatio Kumquat.) Others took place on European battlefields during World War II where I -- hopelessly outnumbered -- killed or captured dozens of Nazis. In still others I was a James Bond like super spy. My vivid imagination took me on some wild trips. Now some more serious if artificial trips were to come. Whippee!
The terrifying sounds of my own life pounding desperately against my ear drums from inside. The sense that my life force was ebbing away from my body and heading to the stratosphere. The sheer terror of being. Of being a being. Of living. Alive felt like pure horror. Depression would have seemed bliss in comparison. The room felt a quarter of the size and there could not be any stopping the walls from growing ever closer until they consumed my being. It felt like nothingness would follow. A void that I’d live through fully aware. Taunted by the spacial reality of my own hell. You see the LSD had turned on me. It was twisting me inside out.
What a good friend it had started out to be.
Was Mooney and Norman who encouraged me. They’d tripped a couple of times. Surely this must be the next logical step for me in my progression. My raising awareness. Taking consciousness to a new height. Discovery of self and answers to age old questions about the nature of the universe. I was on my way to great times and answers. Enlightenment.
I was 16 years old.
It was less than a year since I’d first gotten drunk. I hadn’t yet gotten stoned. I was a virgin. I was a junior in high school. I was about to have my mind blown for the cost of one hit of acid -- $1. One dollar to expand my brain. I would never be the same.
The three of us went up to Tilden Park atop and among the Berkeley Hills. A wooded area would be ideal, or so I was told.
Dropped the acid. It would take about an hour for it to “come on.”
Where was a I first where was I last how do you conquer a brain so fast. Rolling hills rolling trees moving flowers and stationary bees. Suddenly I was watching myself from a far. As if. Gone then back. This was trippin’. Whole new concept to perception. Wild weird and wonderful mix with whole grain natural adolescent confusion. A profusion of thought coming from deeper recesses of my mind. Loss of control. It had been given to the drug which told me where to go. Freedom from the conventional thinking slavery to the Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. But I did not care.
The world of my dad’s Oldsmobile little league record players grandma’s peanut butter cookies cub scouts Gomer Pyle and even on out of whack mother seemed decent silly arcane and so fucking square. I was in the world of understanding I had left common Earth bound thinking and was in another universe. Floating through the thoughts and ideas and conceptions only accessible to mind expanders.
And it was fun.
Oh I was having fun. Rolling down a grassy hill, tumbling and squealing was the most -- the -- most fun. Fun. Wow. I’d ever. Had. Wonderful this was all of it and
I walked and talked we said so much that was so profound as we watched the colors and experienced this man. We walked through a picnic site where a family was picnicking. “I’m back” I said with amazement. For my brain had gone elsewhere for a bit and had returned just as I passed by these people. They stared at me in wonder as I continued: “I was gone but now I’m back.”
Squares! Straight people who didn’t trip who weren’t so cool as we were. We were the coolest people on Earth. Est. Most. Superlatives. How I teach them now to my foreign students. Comparatives and superlatives and how I lived them then. Comparing always myself with the norm and being the superlative most. LSD was making me even more fucking arrogant because I was no smarter and cooler than the rest of the world. So far out.
So really really really really really really really really really far. Far fucking out. Man.
The trip was a pure joy and Mooney and Norman and I were kings of our worlds. And when I came down it was a gentle peaceful landing. Thank you tour guides thank you for taking me on this trip. My first. Memorable like you wouldn’t understand the word memorable ever again because you had a new way of looking at the world. Zowie. High!
Now it all made sense. We were part of something bigger. This huge collective consciousness that was all intertwined and wrapped up in one huge psychedelic sense of otherness. We were beyond the squares the Nixons the suits the dead end livers and business people. We were really on to something special. Had access, the key to really understanding things like what that monolith was in 2001. We were riding high. Young and in love with life and for peace and rock music and ending all war. The world didn’t have to black and white (Leave it to Beaver -- you’re out!) there were colors man. So many and they could dance and swirl and so could we. Dropping acid was the way to get out by getting inside our own brains and seeing how they related to the universe...or some shit like that.
Man we were going to have fun.
And the truth of course was that I had no fucking idea what was going on just that I wanted to be part of it and be able to keep doing what I wanted to especially if it meant not really having to work hard at things except maybe playing soccer which I was really so good at and dug doing because of that and I was going to be a superstar and it was cool to play soccer because it wasn’t a sport for the squares or the Nixons or the suits but a European South American kind of thing that the squares didn’t really dig but it was so much cooler than baseball and football and basketball (which by the way I still dug but that was a separate issue although I’m not sure how I couldn’t think of all that shit at once you know plus there was still a bunch of that shit on TV that I liked to watch though I’d admit to few that I did). So I was part of something but my own person who’d do his own thing high. High. Hi.
Bleeding orange and rapid fire raspberry and digging the tools of the decadent likeness of the sapphire wonderings of later people and dances of rebellion and sticking those purple guitar notes into the darkness and creating the light and the bright and the out of the sight and I could and would and should and there was wood and carpet and larger and lime and fuck the slime of the establishment and no war in Vietnam or any place and me me me me me me I was the one. Let’s all have fun and if you don’t follow our grooviness then you’re part of the problem and the enemy unless you’re like my Dad or another Finn or a soccer player or one of my favorite athletes but not if you’re like a conservative. Blasting the rhymes and stopping the crimes against us. Privilege. Wap! Smash and grab the perfection of this wonderful being of beingness and I understand it all or at least how to get there. Another hit of acid. Okay?
And I did. Next time it was still good but not as. Next next time there was a hard landing coming down and I did not dig. Eventually I got to the point where the landings started early and they were horrific crashes in which misery was multiplied by like a thousand and I needed to take thorazine which Mooney had to keep from flipping out completely. Maybe booze and coke and weed would do for me. This trip pin' stuff was too fucking much if you fell.