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Wednesday, 16 June
A Shroom Of His Own

Remember college? All of it? Jesus, I hope not, otherwise you were doing it wrong.

I sure do, except for parts of it. This is one of those parts.

My senior year, I finally got up the gumption to do mushrooms. For the first time, and the last time. I haven't done any illegal drugs in a long time, actually; not out of any kind of newborn morality or some vague sense of civic fervor, but mainly just because it's kind of unseemly and weird (in my mind) for people in their mid-30s to be scrabbling at the doors of 20-year-olds looking for drugs. I just can't be bothered, and it's icky. I'm hardly a model adult--it could be argued that I am an adult in purely denotational terms only, for that matter--but I'm just not going to go out and try and "score" some "sticky buds" from any "mary jane vendors." I assume my command of the vernacular is still strong.

It was the closing night of a show I was in, and I joined three of my good friends in the bathroom during the closing party to divvy up the mushrooms. This task was handled by J., who had actually procured them. In addition to J. and myself, there were also two women, unfortunately for me both initialed A. But as it turned out, it won't matter. J. portioned out the mushrooms, and we chewed them grimacingly, gnawing the vile little nubs into oblivion. Thus began my mushroom experience. Afterwards, we rejoined the party taking place in the theater greenroom.

Nothing happened for a long time, and I was beginning to doubt the Castanedaesque rhetoric that I had always encountered when discussing mushrooms. Where were the opening doors, where were the third eyes? Where were the tuxedoed panther dancers who made omelettes? Nothing. I chatted calmly with an alarmingy pretty blonde whom I one day vowed to sleep with. [Ed. note--I'm sorry, but male pride forces me to interrupt this narrative to mention that I did one day sleep with her. Thank you.]

Minutes into the conversation with the blonde, I got a tap on my shoulder. It was J. and the A.s, looking noticably glassy. "We can't stay here," gasped J. "It's happening. Let's go."

I felt nothing at all, and felt restive at having my smoothtalk at blondie interrupted. "You guys go," I snapped. "I'm cool." J. looked less than convinced. "Are you sure?" he said. "We're kind of . . . ah . . . " He waved his arms vaguely. "Go ahead," I said. "Maybe I'll catch up to you."

They went.

I returned to my talks with blondie, and she was a warm conversationalist. I listened to her with fascination--and not a little wonder. What the fuck was she talking about? I couldn't make heads nor tails of anything she said, but, boy, was it interesting. I began to analyze her vowels clinically, evaluating their resonance; I also began to detect certain fricative errors in her speaking that I felt strongly could be corrected with some minor alterations to her mouth.

She continued talking, and it dawned on me with no little horror that I hadn't the faintest idea of what she was talking about, nor had I for some time. She had been drinking, and so had managed to happily not realize that she was speaking to a grinning, uncomprehending rictus-thing who was dementedly evaluating her vocal performance via some fantastical critera. But I knew. And I realized that I had voluntarily separated myself from the only people on campus who could possibly deal with me on my own vastly ruined level: those who gave me the shrooms.

I lurched out of my chair abruptly, saying something like "Ineedagonow" and slammed into the door several times before rapturously discovering the waist-level pushbar that opened it. Blondie stared after me quizzically, but all I knew was, I had to get the fuck out of there.

The rest of the night consists of reconstruction. I remember some of it hellishly, and other parts I do not remember at all, and were relayed to me by patient friends.

I do vividly remember trying to hobble home to my apartment, mere blocks away. Unfortunately, said hobbling consisted of wandering right in the road, on 12th Avenue in Salem, Oregon, a rather busy thoroughfare. It's miraculous I wasn't (a) run over, or (b) arrested, since this is usually frowned upon. All I know is, I couldn't find a fucking sidewalk to save my life, and on the rare occasion that I did, I couldn't fucking stay on it. Sidewalk! I remember screaming into my brain, I'll never leave you! Then, two minuutes later, I would see the sidewalk sliding inexorably away from me as I drifted off onto blacktop. NO! DON'T ABANDON ME, SIDEWALK! I mentally howled. My body refused to obey me. I can't believe I wasn't arrested.

I finally made it to my apartment, upon which my whirling body informed me of a very basic fact: You need to pee. RIGHT NOW. My bladder was very insistent upon this. I grabbed my groin and wobbled into a wall. Fuck! Where did this come from? My motor skills were decidedly unmotored; after an eternity, I finally stumbled upon the baffling solution to my button-fly and as I hurled myself into the bathroom . . .

Well, I didn't make it. Having nicely befouled myself, I peeled off my sodden jeans. (Not my shirt, mind you.) So there I was, covered in my own piss, pantsless, stoned, and freaking out.

It was apparently a ripe time for me to invent a new horrible scenario. Which I promptly did. In my addled state, I then decided that I was stuck in a "time-loop" (thanks, Star Trek). That is, convinced that I was reliving the same horrible pantsless experience over and over and over et cetera, and I couldn't break out of it. But oh how I tried. I would stalk the apartment in circles, thinking, "Fuck, I've done this before. I've done this before. I've done this before . . . until . . . NOW!" Then I would launch myself onto the sofa or the TV or something. It's a great image: unstable guy with no pants wanders apartment, occasionally throwing himself into the fireplace.

Finally, I came to with the First Wife (have I mentioned this before? I was married once when young, and it was a disaster) shaking me; I was stark naked in the corner of the bedrooms, stinking of urine. Yay! I can't imagine why things didn't work out. "Tom says he found you staring at the wall! For an hour!" Tom was our roommate; he tried to break me out of my spell, but I refused to not stare at wall while I envisioned God knows what. Tom eventually went to bed, choosing to ignore my wallstaring. I heart Tom. "You're covered in piss!" she continued to wail.

I tried to focus, but it was hard. She was right, though. I was disoriented, naked, and smelled of piss. I tried to remember the fractured night before, and only came up with fragments.

"Jesus," I moaned. "That was awful." I found out later that J. had inadvertantly given us way too many shrooms (though that group came out famously; they had stayed together, after all, which I suppose made all the difference). I tried to think back, and a weird memory surfaced. "God," I said, "I remember D. coming to vist. He had his guitar, and I remember him playing songs for me. I remember those!" I had warmed to my memories. "I should call D.! Fuck, he saved my life."

Later, I asked D. how he knew to come to my house and console me in my drug-fueled weirdness.

D. didn't have any idea what I was talking about. He was positively militant about the fact that he hadn't been there. I guess I don't know.

But I remember him so well, casually leaning against the wall, playing chords on his guitar, and I felt so much better. I still remember that. D. taught me D and G and C and E, and now I can write a rock song. I remember that. But not enough.

Here's what I'd like to do, in order of preference: I'd like to have D. back, so he can teach me rock songs.

And what I'd like least is to do mushrooms.

Come on back, D., any time you like.

| Skot | 16 Jun, 2004 |

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


I think D. was your own personal Don Juan, who came in the midst of your trip to actually teach you some cords, dude.

Comment number: 003418   Posted by: frobly on June 16, 2004 08:43 AM from IP:

The scary thing is that this post reveals that you went to Willamette. You voluntarily spent time in Salem. No wonder you're bitter.

Comment number: 003419   Posted by: MattW on June 16, 2004 09:39 AM from IP:

Oh, what is it with college students (and theater majors) and the accidental over-ingestion of drugs? I fell prey to too much acid at a party one time. Out of everyone there, I'd been given a double dose and I was out of my head. I think I was rescued from trying to hide in a washing machine. Shouldn't we go back to college and start up a course in proper drug dosing??

Comment number: 003420   Posted by: myra on June 16, 2004 10:26 AM from IP:

I wondered if this story might rear it's head here. Just for the record, my own personal evening did not come out "famously" -- it involved multiple manic circuits of campus due to an overwhelming need to "keep moving", a harrowing misadventure involving a duck, a raccoon, and Officer Beaver, and eventually cowering in the darkened basement of the theater praying nobody would find me. Great retelling Skot! I think of this night at least 5 or 6 times a year and laugh heartily.

Comment number: 003421   Posted by: J. on June 16, 2004 11:36 AM from IP:

One of the reasons I never took shrooms and won't knowingly choose to be around people who are shrooming is my freshman year of college boyfriend took too many shrooms, freaked out, and nearly killed a couple of people, including me. Seriously.

It was after his last final Fall semester and he had stayed up all week studying by taking No-Doz, not sleeping and not eating very much, so he was already pretty much fucked. He then started drinking at about 3:30pm after our Calc final and took something like two grams of shrooms at 7:30pm. Good thinking!

He was in full freak-out by 9pm, convinced if he went to sleep that he would die and the devil was waiting to take his soul. Chris & Dave were baby-sitting Todd, trying to keep him calm and get him to go to sleep. I was down the hall in his room with his roommate Craig. We could hear Todd shouting random things, so I went down the hall to make sure everything was okay.

As soon as I entered Chris's room, Todd pointed his finger at me and said "You're the devil!" I told him I wasn't and he then accused Chris & Dave each of being the devil. I wasn't entertained by this prospect, so I went back to Todd's room with Craig.

A few minutes later, we heard sounds of scuffle and destruction coming from Chris's room and Todd was shouting something. He was built like a football player, about 6'2" with broad shoulders and solid. Chris and Dave were both tall, but Dave was a toothpick, maybe 120 lbs. soaking wet with boots on. Craig and I looked at each other, and he went running down the hall to check on Todd.

Craig was a tall, skinny black guy from New Jersey with a round moon face and ears that slightly stuck out. As the result of an unfortunate clipper incident, Craig had recently shaved all of his hair off. When Todd opened the door and saw Craig standing there, he shouted "Craig, you're the devil and I'm going to kill you!"

I was afraid Craig & Destructo Todd were going to come back to their room (where I was) and all hell would break loose, so I hid in their closet until I heard Craig run past the room and out the dorm door with Todd in hot pursuit.

I went to see how Chris and Dave were and they had both pretty much gotten the shit kicked out of them. Dave told me that Todd had finally laid down on one of the beds in Chris's room and nearly fell asleep, but he rolled over and out of bed, onto the floor and freaked out, shouting I love God! I love God! You're the devil!" as he pounded his way to the door.

Several other black guys who lived in the dorm had heard Todd threaten to kill Craig, without understanding the full situation, and were threatening to kill Todd, so Chris tried to calm them down and explain the situation and as I heard Todd come back in the dorm at one end of the hall, I slipped out the other door to try to find Craig and make sure he was okay. "Don't let him see you!" Dave warned me.

I saw Craig running nearly over the hill and called to him. We started to head back to their dorm, but then Todd popped out again. Craig took off running again and I thought I would be safe ducking behind the dorm, but apparently this time Todd was chasing Dave around the dorm and I was going to run right into them. Craig shouted at me to stop, which I did, confused, not sure what was going on, since I hadn't seen Dave come out first. I started running up the hill in a different direction, just as Todd circled around from behind the dorm.

Right then, the Campus tram came by and dropped off a load of people. Todd stopped short, because he thought this was all a dream, and usually when you're being chased or chasing someone in a dream, there's no one else around. He looked around perplexedly and saw Craig running down the street. Todd shouted "Craig, you're the devil!" and started to take off after him.

I had started moving in slow motion, trying to blend in with the crowd who just got off the tram. I was about to take off in the opposite direction when Todd spotted me. He grabbed my face with his left hand and said "You're the devil and I'm going to kill you," as he pulled his right fist back to punch me. All I could think was that I was going to spend Christmas break in the hospital because he was going to bust my face open.

I told him I wasn't the devil, and he said "You're not?" and I said no, I wasn't the devil, I loved God. He seemed unsure, but lowered his fist. I suggested we go back to the dorm, and he said okay. I then made the mistake of suggesting he just calm down and go to sleep and he grabbed my face again and prepared to hit me, shouting "You're the devil! You're the devil! I love God! I love God! You're the devil! I'm going to kill you!"

At that point, I just started babbling a stream of inanity, saying no, I loved God, did he love God? Good, because God loved us and would protect us from the devil and we would be safe. He asked me if Craig was the devil, and at the point, I was more worried about saving my own life. I told him I didn't know, but God still loved us and would protect us from the devil, whether or not it was Craig.

We got back to the dorm and this Dick Butkus-looking guy named Tracy held the outer door open for us. Todd took one look at Tracy and shouted "Tracy's the devil!" and started punching him in the face. Tracy started punching back and they got into a big scuffle. I hovered around, telling Tracy to tell Todd that he loved God and that Todd would stop. He decided to tell Todd that he WAS God, which totally freaked Todd out, to think he was beating up God. The next day, Todd wanted to tell me about this crazy weird dream he had had, and I was the one who got to break it to him that it wasn't a dream and most of it had really happened.

Many years had to pass before a flickering street lamp didn't automatically put me in panic mode because the street light had flickered just before Todd spotted me in the crowd and grabbed my face.

Other friends of mine always insisted that shrooming was such a pleasant, mellow experience and that it was probably Todd's own fault for taking too much and being drunk and sleep-deprived to boot. Still, if other people want to shroom, that's their choice, but I dont' want to be anywhere near the vicinity if I can help it.

Comment number: 003422   Posted by: S on June 16, 2004 11:40 AM from IP:

Sorry if that was over-sharing. It surprises me how quickly all of those memories come flooding back. My bad! Sorry for posting such a long response!

Comment number: 003423   Posted by: S on June 16, 2004 03:32 PM from IP:

The Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries!

Comment number: 003424   Posted by: KOTWF on June 16, 2004 06:42 PM from IP:

Shroomies made me sick once, but I never had a freak out like that on them. I can relate to J's need to keep moving though from a particularly scary experience with acid in high school, I walked this loop in my neighborhood for what seemed like hours in the middle of the night, constantly calculating peak to crash...over and over. ugh.

Comment number: 003425   Posted by: El Robbo on June 16, 2004 07:58 PM from IP:

All I remember about acid in college is that ordering several meat-lovers pizzas is just a wickedly terrible idea. I still remember opening that box and seeing that pie turn into what I thought were maggots crawling all over it. Ergh.

Comment number: 003426   Posted by: Ombra on June 16, 2004 09:55 PM from IP:

Skot, did your first wife leave you to become a lesbian by any chance? For some reason, that's what happened to all my male friends who married (and divorced) young.

Comment number: 003427   Posted by: girlygirl on June 17, 2004 11:13 AM from IP:

Skot, did your first wife leave you to become a lesbian by any chance? For some reason, that's what happened to all my male friends who married (and divorced) young.

Nah. She was never that trendy.

Comment number: 003428   Posted by: Skot on June 17, 2004 11:23 AM from IP:

oh my god. i think you are an insanely gifted writer and i just had to leave a note and thank you for all the mad, suppressed, worktime giggling you've provoked in me.


Comment number: 003429   Posted by: jennifer on June 17, 2004 12:20 PM from IP:

Typical. Your spirit guide taught you how to play butt-rock.

See you at the Kurruk Appreciation Fest chez the Elysian at 7pm.

Comment number: 003430   Posted by: mike on June 18, 2004 07:52 AM from IP:

Heh. You'll have to be my proxy, Mike; too many MeFi people give me the horrors. Plus, I've said horrible things to lots of them. Have a good time.

Comment number: 003431   Posted by: Skot on June 18, 2004 08:07 AM from IP:

The mushrooms are kicking in, so when I introduce myself as you and wet myself everyone will take it in stride, I'm sure.

Some other time, then!

Comment number: 003432   Posted by: mike on June 18, 2004 03:42 PM from IP:

"It's a great image: unstable guy with no pants wanders apartment, occasionally throwing himself into the fireplace. "

It's always been safe to use mouthwash in front of the computer before.

But that's a great story. It makes me glad that I can read about such things instead of experiencing them for myself. Or something.

Comment number: 003433   Posted by: yensen on June 18, 2004 08:14 PM from IP:

Skot, I laughed so hard at your shroom-disaster that I nearly choked on a sesame seed. Ironic, no?

Comment number: 003434   Posted by: Tracy on June 19, 2004 11:33 AM from IP:

Ah, these stories remind me of why I've avoided drugs thus far. I can just picture myself frantically pacing the 600 sq ft of this apartment, convinced that my cats (who are demonic-looking when I'm sober) are going to eat my face if I try to sleep.

Hey, Skot, are you going to update soon? It feels like it's been longer than usual since the last one...

Comment number: 003435   Posted by: CG on June 21, 2004 12:38 PM from IP:

Your story made me sad for what you missed...but psychadelic drugs are not for everyone although everyone I knew who did them were pretty sold on their effects. I do remember one girl I know who took mushrooms and cried and cried because she realized that her only goal in life was to be "like the people in the American Express commercials." I can't remember what those people were like but I think they were able to buy a lot of stuff with their American Express cards. Shrooms were either supposed to change you and make you deeper or make you hate yourself for being so shallow.

The older I get the more I think that I should go knocking on the door of 20 somethings who would sell me drugs (with no risk of arrest)and the less likely I am to ever do such a thing.

I admit to wondering whether your plan to sleep with the blonde and the fact that your marriage did not work out were connected in some way.

Great story. Thanks!

Comment number: 003436   Posted by: Miel on June 22, 2004 02:21 AM from IP:

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