(Originally published in 2004)
The next day when I came down from the experience–that’s assuming you EVER really come down–I felt stunned in a pleasant sort of way. LSD had definitely lived up to its billing. It had been a powerful, magical, and exhilarating experience with curiously uplifting spiritual and–YES!–even cosmic overtones. So LSD was quickly added to our repertoire of weekend party drugs along with beer, pot, vodka, and Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine.
One night Donna and I tripped on acid and staggered across the street to the big strawberry farm by my house. Strawberry Fields Forever, literally. We laid on our backs in the wet dewy strawberry patch staring up at the black sky and the twinkling stars of forever feeling like we were lying on top of a massive space-ship that was hurtling us through the endless expanses of time and space at amazing speed. Which it was, of course.
Another night on another trip, we snuck into my father’s church, which was a spooky experience in itself after dark with the creepy cemetery behind it. I sat down behind the big church organ, Phantom of the Opera style, and noodled out the opening riff from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” each note dripping into the air like golden drops of electric quicklsilver. As Lennon once said about the mind-boggling soul-warmth of psychedelic sounds: “You don’t just HEAR the music on acid.” And as the music touched my soul I realized why Lennon and so many other rock musicians had been taken by LSD in such a big way. The LSD added this other indescribable dimension to music, this other-worldly sensual pleasure, like consuming the nectar of the gods, this most exquisite mind-candy that reverberated and echoed through your psyche and touched the deepest levels of soul-meaning. As I sat behind the big church organ tripping on the haunting keyboard riffs I intuitively understood how psychedelic rock music had been at the very epicenter of the ’60s revolution. Donna and Suzie Q in their stoned-out craziness picked up the big church speakers off the ground and began rocking them back and forth in their arms while I played at top volume, setting of the most amazing series of musical explosions and sizzles and sonic crackles. I sat there in stoned-out awe at the mind-boggling, never-before heard sounds we were creating, aural sculptures in the air, as we methodically blew out the circuits of the big church speakers. And I realized in that moment that perhaps I was a musical genius after all.
Near the end of the school year I got busted by the cops for smoking a bowl of pot in my car. My Mom and Dad had to come down to the police station to pick me up. My Mom was distraught to the verge of tears. My son the drug addict. My father sternly said: “We’re going to search you bedroom for drugs and if we find anything we’re going to turn you into the police.” Fortunately they didn’t find the 20 hits of blotter acid I had stashed between a book. A couple weeks later, my parents discreetly slipped a copy of the book “Helter Skelter” about the Manson family and their LSD rampages, into my collection of books, I guess to warn me about where I was headed.
Alas, my high school acid-tripping career would end on a sour note. Finally it was June, the last big weekend of our Senior year, the end of the line, the culmination of 13 long years on the scholastic assembly line. And now, here we all were, poised on the verge of leaving the cocoon of school and stepping out for the first time into the mysterious Adult World of jobs, careers and marriages. But first there would be the big graduation party on the last Friday of the school year, the last gathering of the tribe that was the Doomed Class of 1974.
The big graduation party was at the home of Stan Oinst, the star quarterback of the football team. Just about the entire senior class was there that night crammed into Stan’s suburban house. Donna and I decided to add a little sparkle to the occasion by gobbling down some LSD, naturally. We were “the stoners” of course so we had to live up to our high school roles. Party on, dude. We entered Stan Oinst’s house just as the first rush of the acid was kicking in. There was a rock band playing in the living rooms, the coolest kids from the cool crowd, naturally, and they were playing the hits of the day, mostly “folk rock” which was the thing that year. The room was jam-packed with people and I tripped out on all the faces, my classmates, all the fuckheads I had known for the last 6 years, and all the secret stories between us. The band was playing a cover of the Eagles big hit “Take It Easy” and I wanted to get a good look at the band so I made my way to the front of the room. It was extremely crowded but I managed to find what seemed like a good place to sit and groove to the tunes. Unbeknownst to me, what I was sitting on was, alas, a glass coffee table. Suddenly there was some kind of loud explosion and shards of glass went flying straight up into in the in slow motion like the coolest hallucination. And then I noticed I was sitting on the floor amidst the broken shards of glass that only moments before had been Stan Oinst’s glass coffee table. Suddenly it had gotten very quiet and everyone was staring at me. The band had stopped playing their instruments like THAT–! which was a jolt in itself, the first inkling that something had gone tragically awry. Everyone from the Doomed Class of 1974 was staring at me, it was like a frozen painting and only I was moving. I sat there amidst the broken glass, tripping on powerful LSD as my brain struggled to make sense of this queer scene. Surely this was one of those strange hallucinations that occur with regularity on acid. Wait’ll I tell Donna about this one, she’ll laugh good about that. And I had a momentary sense of hopefulness. Which quickly passed.
Next thing I knew I was in the kitchen and Donna was helping to wash the blood and glass splinters from my hands. Everyone was glaring daggers at me. I caught a glimpse of Stan Oinst–star quarterback–as he was rushing back and forth from room to room with his hand on his forehead in an anguished pose. I felt an urgent need to talk to Stan Oinst at that moment, to straighten out this misunderstanding. Whatever it was. Surely he would understand. Perhaps there was some way I could fix the shattered glass coffee table and make things right, possibly with glue or tape. Then Stan Oinst was standing in front of me. We went back a long ways, me and Stan. We had been the 11th and 12th men on the end of the bench of the Jay Vee basketball team in 1971, and we had spent a lot of time at the end of the bench over the course of the season arguing over which one of us was actually the worst player on the team (it was Stan). I momentarily considered mentioning to Stan an amusing anecdote from that season past, but Stan cut me short.
“Just leave!” he said.
Next thing I knew Donna was driving me around in her car as I slipped into a subhuman funk. “Just don’t think,” said Donna. I thought about that for awhile. I was the cosmic loser of all-time (but at least it was cosmic). I had made a fool out of myself in front of the entire class. One final memory of me to last a life time. “So long kids, I’ll never forget YOU!” I had cemented my reputation as High School Loser forever. Plus the fiendish intensity of the LSD drug was magnifying everything a thousand percent. Donna pulled her car over to the shoulder of an off-ramp and we got out for some fresh air. We stood there on top of a bridge overlooking the buzzing traffic of the car headlights below, and I just wanted to fly away to somewhere else, and to BE somebody else, forever.
The next day was the big cap-and-gown graduation ceremony on the football field behind the high school. I listlessly pushed my way through my acid-hangover knowing that I had made a fool of myself in front of everybody and that they all knew.
“I heard you had a smashing time last night,” smirked sexpot Suzie Q. She had always thought of me as a fool, and now I had officially confirmed it. My high school career was now over, so I threw my cap in the garbage and went off to face my so-called adult life, whatever that would be.