“LSD is a drug that produces fear in people who don’t take it.” –Timothy Leary
At the gym today the topic of conversation turned to the recent revelation that Steve Jobs had done acid. My first thought was how could anyone be surprised by that. I have long said that there are two types of people in the world. Those who have done acid and those who have not. Once you do acid you realize how truly powerful the brain is as an organ. You really do become invested in the proposition, “what if …?” Frankly, if a class of drugs was legalized, and regulated and taxed it would be a plus, plus plus. The addiction programs could be fully funded. The ER’s would see fewer people who end up taking drugs cut with rat poison. And the excess taxes could support a host of projects. Anyone who watched the Ken Burns program on prohibition realize the folly of the current approach.
The US has a “War on Drugs” – more people are doing drugs. We have a “War on Poverty” – more people in poverty. Drugs are scary only to those who have not tried them.
I started college in 1976 and by 1977 I was at the University of Maryland. Prior to that time I had only shared a hit with a person at a party. The effects were fun. The light and the heat from the campfire were amplified and the sex was on a different plane. Once on campus and moved into a fraternity house I discovered the Deadhead and Punkers who spent weekends experimenting. My horizons had been expanded and there was no retreat. Our week days were normal school routine, but come the weekends we traveled. Sometimes without ever leaving the house.
Later I started to take the train to New York for the weekends on Fridays. My cousin Matt was a bartender at the Saint. When I arrived I’d meet him and his friends, we drop our acid (or MDA) on the way to get Chinese (I think Chinese food and acid are a rule somewhere). By the time we ate, the acid would just be taking hold. We would head to the bar. I would send hours under the canopy of the Saint analyzing the light show and dancing. Taking a break every so often to climb to the seats and watch the people on the dance floor. Feed on their energy and maybe a good fck. Then back to dance. After a few hours of this I would head to the Mineshaft until the sun was out and full. I would make my way back to 14th street and sleep until it was time to do it again. That’s why weekends were created.
I could go on about some wonderful trips (and I will later) but there was one very important trip that I think changed my life. Shortly after Time magazine had an actual picture of the virus (magnified 135,000) on their cover in August 1985, I spent a weekend on Acid. Once I was able to visualize the virus, we had a chat. The virus and I. I told it that if it kills me it will kill its’ self. We both want to survive so we need to get along. I don’t believe that conversation did shit. But from that point on I realized that this was not just a battle fought only with drugs (Anti-viral kind). I had to keep the state of mind that one day I will be the longest survived PWA in the world. It became my goal, but not my obsession. Unlike many people of that period I did not get my identity from having AIDS. In fact, it was moved to the back burner as much as possible. I took my meds but everything else continued to be the same.
Nothing frustrates me more than people who make a cottage industry of being sick. I had an ex who, after he was diagnosed, seemed to always stay just sick enough to be the center of attention. He seemed to enjoy the pity. After 25 years of volunteering in AIDS service organizations, it still amazes me that people have this sense of entitlement. It’s as though they feel the world owes them something because they meet a technical definition of disabled. It was just a few years ago that we were fighting to get orderly’s to actually bring hospital food into a patients room.
It is my belief that life deals you a hand. Play it or fold. Every one has baggage to carry and few have the energy to carry yours too. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful I had the support of family and friend during my chemo. But the journey and the experiences were mine. As were the mistakes. But exploring the mind with acid was not among the mistakes and made the trip so much more enjoyable.
Continued sooner rather than later. Coming up – Acid and meeting Ed.