Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Mis-Spent Youth Redux

Got a "Best of" CD on. Jimi Hendrix. Whew! I knew I needed him in the collection. I was right. "Hey Joe" turned up to WOW - - I thought I was having a Flashback to the 1970's. One out of control night in particular comes to mind.

Snake and I had scored some Orange Barrels. Don't know how many mics, but one would hurt you and 2 would incapacitate you. In our hurry to get off, we dropped as soon as we got back in the old VW microbus. The run back to Snake's house was spent smoking lots of weed to blunt that trippy edge that had begun to sneak up us as we cruised through Bethesda.

Down in Snake's basement we began passing a bong and a joint, and laughing uncontrollably. I decide to put an LP on the record player. I pick Jimi Hendrix. I figured his guitar riffs would be felt more than they would be heard. By this time we were off solidly, but in that foggy period between sanity and stupidity. A very vulnerable time period. Snake pulls out the bag with the Barrels in it. " I think I’m starting to come down. Let’s pop a couple more hits" .

I’m in a stupor but I manage to mumble, "Uh, OK. But didn’t we just eat the first two 45minutes ago?"

But, happy as if I had a brain, I take the offered hit and gobble it down. Just as the it passes into my stomach, I realize we haven’t even started to peak from the first 2 hits. And I know deep in my soul, I’m am soon to be one of the mumblers. And all the while, Jimi, always Jimi pushing those Radio Shack speakers to their limit.

25 minutes pass. The shape I’m in, it is an eternity. Something from the deep recesses of my brain tickles my funny bone. I begin to laugh. It starts slowly and builds to a piss my pants crescendo. Tears shoot from my eyes and I see nothing but colors and trails. I am one screwed up buckaroo. But Jimi keeps me in this dimension. He sounds further away now, but I can hear "Red Bird" coming through the irridescent fog. Any movement creates trails that seem to take minutes to settle down. Like our bodies are having trouble keeping up with our minds.

And then "The Words" begin to appear in brilliantly colored fonts. Flashing words like "God", "Marijuana", and "Blast-off" form out of colors that dance around my brain and in front of my eyes. I get quiet. I focus what is left of my grip on reality and attempt to draw some conclusions. Can’t do it. The bright colors, the trails, and the ever increasing words win out. I fall back and settle into a haze. Eyes open, but not seeing. Lights on but definitely no one home.
At some point, I come out of it. I get some control. Shaking my head, I am able to focus for a second. I spot Snake crumpled in the corner, mumbling something about "the Wall People".

This sets off my funny bone and as the first licks of "Watchtower" erupt from the stereo, a rush runs the length of my body, and I know Acid is the grandest substance I have ever abused.
I saw God that night. And when I clicked back into reality 12 or so hours later, Jimi was still having his way with the Hi Fi. The same record had played over and over for 12 hours. Thank you Jimi. You probably saved my life that night.

I sometimes wonder, but not very often, just how and where I would have turned up if I hadn’t ingested so many drugs, so much alcohol and, in such large quantities. My memory of that 12 year period wouldn’t be so shaky. I am lucky to be here typing this tail at the age of 52. I pushed things so close to the abyss, I can only conclude that I have something important to do. The life giver has plans for me. It’s the only scenario that makes sense.

Disclaimer, or in Retrospect. Take your pick
Re-reading the previous yarn, I could see where someone could get the impression I am pro-drug. Not! When it is all said and done, avoiding the life I lead would have been a wiser choice. I had fun. Lot’s of Fun. I just can’t remember most of it. So where's the worth in that?

I also remember intermittent moments of negativity. Tripping a night away in the Ocean City lock-up. Crashing hard too many times to recollect. Getting an abcess in my arm from not being fastidious enough with my works. Staying up for three days, stinking and nasty from puking each time I got off. Hearing of friends who died as a result of drug use. Sleeping on the concrete in Oakland County Jail in Michigan for 6 straight days. Get out. Get on a plane Fly to Boone County, Kentucky. Get drunk in the airport and then spend yet another night in jail. Yeah, a really good time. A time to look back on with misting eyes. I wasted too many hours. Scratch that. I wasted too many days looking to score. No scratch that also. I wasted too much of my life in the pursuit, ingestion, and culture of drugs.

Spending 12 years out of control has a way of making the mundane and ordinary look mighty appealing. The last 24 years or so in the slow lane have been excellent. Raising a child, growing a garden, running a business have been the hardest things I have ever done. I am so glad I snapped out of it in time to watch it happen.

I won’t preach. In good conscience, I cannot. We all do what we do. Self-determination and all that shit. I will offer some suggestions though:

~If it seems like it is too much fun, it probably is. You might want to crank it back a couple of notches and re-assess.
~Moderation, Moderation, Moderation.
~Learn where the line is and don’t even come close.
~Thinking the answers to all that perplexes us can be had through
ingesting stupid amounts of drugs is just that-stupid.
~Assuming a posture of invincibility will haunt you. If not sooner, then later for sure.
~Learn to pace yourself. Massive drug use can dramatically reduce your time on this planet.
~Drugs & Alcohol will suck the life out of you. Leave you at best running at 75% or so. Worst case, you become a permanent member amongst the Mumblers. Dying would be kinder.

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