I never did acid as a youth (or ever) even though I was around it all the time in high school. In fact, when I started hanging out in the suburbs, I got to meet people who did acid more or less every day, which was pretty weird. They seemed to be having fun, but clearly it wasn’t a very good ad for taking acid, because to this day the shit kind of creeps me out.
In the city, where I grew up, there were not that many drugs around. I mean, yeah, there were a couple of guys I knew who had weed but that was really it. In the suburbs however, once we got out to Oak Park, Barrington or Elgin (which were the three suburbs I hung out in the most…oak park because I had a band there, Barrington because I lived there for a year or two and Elgin because I had another, vastly better band there) the shit was everywhere. It wasn’t uncommon at any moment for someone to pull out some acid and ask if anyone wanted any. I never did it, I think, because this happened to me for the first time when I was still very young and innocent and the idea of fucking with my brain really, really wigged me out. This feeling, with regards to acid, has imprinted on me, even as I’ve gotten older and uh, braver, I guess.
I’d liken this to the way behaviorists talk about how if you grow up in the same house as your sibling, you become sexually revolted by them, but if you don’t you’ve got a very VERY good chance of at least considering wanting to bang them. OR, how they’ve got when puppies bond with their owners down to like, a span of three days in like the third or fourth week they’re alive. If you’re the person taking care of that puppy on those days, that puppy is gonna think of you as its’ #1 forever. It’s called imprinting, and that’s what happened to me with my aversion to acid.
I don’t remember any specifics, but I know that when I was young, people were always tripping around me and the way they acted seemed pretty stupid, but more to the point, every single one of them would say the same thing after their first trip, which was “whoa, I’ll never be the same after that,” and THAT freaked me the fuck out, since, like most humans, I’m inherently resistant to change, but also because I was young and myopic enough that I already thought I was awesome and that any change I could go through would automatically be for the worse. I couldn’t fathom that they meant change for the better. Also, there was this:
I’d grown up, like many of you, hearing the bullshit stories of acid casualties like the guy that your buddy’s friend knows who thinks he’s an orange, and he just sits in a room (hospital or childhood, depending on the version) and says something like “squeeze me, I’m so juicy” over and over again (by the way, just so we’re clear, this is a completely made up, fake story. If that dude really existed he’d be the posterboy for the war on drugs and he’d be constantly broadcast to impressionable teens. So I don’t care how much your brother swears up and down that his friend visited the dude once, he’s not real. Just like that girl in your highschool who got the hotdog stuck in her pussy isn’t real, just like the guy from the Lawrence Arms and the Falcon who puts peanut butter on his dick and has his dogs lick it off isn’t real either. Er…um…anyway) and so the idea that something like acid would change me forever didn’t sound like something that I wanted to have anything to do with.
This was a decision I’d made when I was just barely old enough to start thinking that maybe the bill of goods I’d been sold regarding the total, irredeemable evil of drugs was not entirely 100% true, but still young enough to get easily scared and still bombarded enough to kind of buy it a little. Now, I’m older and I have an entirely different view on drugs (‘don’t be an idiot with drugs’ is my view, by the way) but my feeling about acid is still imprinted. The shit seems creepy to me.
I mean, it sounds cool. I like the idea of talking dogs and pictures coming to life and a bowl of pudding telling my fortune and shit like that, but there seems to be some soul searching involved that I think, at this point in my existence, I’m a little too old and road weary for. I’ve found that the amount of introspection a person can handle is completely inversely proportional to how old you are OR how completely un-self aware you are. I think, as of right now, I can handle the regular amount, no more. That seems okay to me. I have some self awareness and that’s fine. I’m not trying to get to nirvana over here. Just trying to make it through the day.
Back when I was young, I hadn’t really ever lived, so I could peer into the deep recesses of my soul and it was all, ‘wow, I walk my dog, I like my mom, doing okay in school, saw some tits the other day and that was AMAZING! And that’s pretty much it. Let’s get back to listening to Ween.’ But life is hard, full of bad decisions, hard decisions, compromise, broken promises (to yourself and to others) and the act of just being alive kind of runs your soul through the gutter a little. I mean, just to type this I have to ignore my kids, even if it is for fifteen minutes and I can see them the whole time, and that can, in a moment of quiet reflection, make me feel incredibly guilty. It’s not even the bad shit like when I beat up that old lady or pissed on the sleeping homeless guy, it’s the day to day minutiae that builds and builds and eventually bows and breaks your soul, and the results are that I don’t want to get in there and look TOO terribly closely, and since that’s what acid kind of makes you do, no thanks.
I’ll take beer, which does the complete opposite, thank you very much. Uh, plus, if acid makes Jefferson Airplane sound like a decent band, well, no. No thank you. That shit’s terrible.
As you were.