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              It was a blustery weekend in Muskrat Flats. The wind was conducting a symphony as the poplars bordering the vineyard...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Forever Young

There have been a very strange conglomeration of events in the last few days, which have really sent my mind wandering. This time it has wandered into some of the dark shadows of my past. I say dark shadows not because they are bad memories, but good memories of me doing bad things, by today's standards of what is not only socially acceptable by the mainstream, but acceptable trying to live a life free of drugs and alcohol.

I had a flashback the other day. Call it what you will, but to me it was a flashback. It could have been a very vivid memory, it could have been a lucid day dream, perhaps my sugar was low and I was in need of some nourishment to get that glycemic index level back to where it needed to be.

I was in my studio, I was listening to the Grateful Dead. I was being quiet and contemplative. All of the sudden I was aware that Jerry was ripping out an incredible solo during a Scarlet Begonias from 1977. I got goosebumps, I felt that metallic electric sensation floating around my tongue. I closed my eyes and felt that floating feeling. I flashed back to a show in Providence, RI in 1987. When I left the Veterans Memorial Auditorium after the show, downtown Providence was bathed in the most delicious glow of purple neon. I mean the whole city looked like it had a black light trained on it. Whoa!

The next day I was carousing through my bookmarks and F. Alex Johnson had posted another entry to his blog, Fearless By Default. Oddly, the subject matter centered around a time when he and his girlfriend had taken some really strong LSD, while they were spending the summer in Oak Bluffs, on the Vineyard. It was very well written and amusing. I must say I was somewhat disappointed that I could not read part two of the tale when I recently sat down to my computer.

Last night, He called me at about 10:45 PM.


"Duuuuuude ! I'm freaking out!" Being the sarcastic bastard I am I asked,

"Why did you take some LSD?"

"So you read my post?"

"Yeah, I read it it was pretty good"

"You are not going to believe this ... Are you ready?"

"Yeah, what's going on?" I was slightly concerned, but not really.

"Albert Hoffman died, today ... he was 102."

"Are you fucking shitting me, today?"

"Today, when I write about acid, Albert Hoffman died."


Seriously, wow is right. How uncanny is it that we both have our own LSD related memories and within hours, the Doctor who invented LSD or fathered what he described as his "problem child" Dies at the ripe old age of 102. I wonder if people all over the world were having similar experiences. It is hard to describe what LSD does to you. But I can assure you it puts you on a different plane of reality, where a different and more structured and sentient life energy prevails.

I have many regrets when it comes to my history of drug and alcohol use and abuse. My addiction has prevented me from getting decent well paying jobs because I would not apply for a job where you had to submit to drug testing. It has affected my life, adversely in so many embarrassing and indescribable ways. But that is the past and those are the experiences I had to have in order to get to the point where I had no choice but to accept that I could not drink or use like other people.

I'm sorry, but I can not group LSD in with the rest of the "bad" drugs which eventually brought me to my knees. LSD opened up the world to me. It jarred my thinking to be more accepting of others. The thought processes I experienced while tripping made me a more compassionate, trusting and honest man. The experiences I had at Grateful Dead and Phish concerts where there was a communal positive vibe of acceptance are priceless to me, and I have no regrets. Being able to just "be" in a crowded auditorium with no hassles and to thoroughly enjoy a powerful ego disintegrating communal experience which would seem so foreign and unacceptable to the greater segment of the population we call society, Is priceless.

The last time I took LSD was at a memorial service for a dear departed friend, Richard Petlock. Richard lost his very rich and adventuresome life style to cancer. He was a Grateful Dead historian, He was a contributor to the Deadbase and Dupree's Diamond News. He was a member of the WELL the Grand daddy of online community chat rooms. His life revolved around the Grateful Dead. He was the first person to congratulate me when my daughter was born on the second anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death. He was so very excited that she and Jerry shared that date. I can still see his smile during that encounter.

I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer and he faded fast. I attempted to contact him a few days before he passed but it was in the stars that we would not speak to each other. He died in December of 2000. It was his wish that a party would be thrown in his memory for people on a guest list written by his own hand.

It was a great party. Max Creek, Flipper Dave and the Lobsterz from Marz played. His widow was a gracious hostess, dosing anyone who cared to partake. I had not taken LSD in years, but knew I could not pass on such an opportunity. There were jugglers, acrobats, costumed freaks, dancers. hula hoopers. Everyone was letting their freak flags fly to celebrate our folkways, our customs, our way of life. And most importantly we danced and we sang, we cried and we honored and celebrated the life of our friend, then only way we could truly do so. Just one more communal group explosion of positive energy and music. One More Saturday Night.

Somewhere packed away in all of my stuff is an invitation to that party. It is a picture of Richard, smiling and striking a pose. He is wearing a whimsical shirt with planets, stars, quasars and a milky ways. The kind of shirt you can only get at a specialty shop in Haight-Ashbury. Since he died when he was a mere 38 years old, the party was appropriately named ...

Forever Young.

The above opinions are that of the author, they in no way condone the use or misuse of illicit drugs. Even though this contradicts what I just wrote about ...

LSD is bad ... mmmmkay?

As always, you will find me ... Running Hard out of Muskrat Flats.


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