Today’s Sesh with Jon | 3.23.2021 | 38 Years And Counting…
Today I’m celebrating the 38th anniversary of one of the best decisions I ever made – and that was to try out smoking cannabis, which I did on March 23, 1983. Yes, I made note of this day and celebrate it’s passing every year.
Smoking the herb has helped shape me over the years. It’s mellowed out the angry young man I was once, and it’s opened the door to insights about life, the cosmos, and everything. It’s been my friend when I’ve been sick and down and has helped me to make sense of a crazy world. It’s provided relief, comfort, health and wellness, and mental stability… herb is the one thing that consistently makes me feel “right”.
As some of you know, I’m a writer and I’ve written (and published) four novels, including one that is completely cannabis-centric. Moving At the Speed Of Time is full of delightful asides, digressions, and tidbits of cannabis lore. The stories of an artist, a soul-searching guru, a lottery winner, and an ex-con are intertwined through a meandering tale of consciousness, marijuana smoking and human reality.
Back in 2017 I bought an ounce of Girl Scout Cookies to write the novel – smoking the whole way through – and I considered cannabis to be my muse for the story.
The artist character named Dylan is a fictionalized version of myself, and his backstory is populated with anecdotes from my own history. I include the story of an acid trip that is loosely based on a real trip I had, along with other fictionalized accounts. One story that I told was how I started to smoke marijuana back in March of 1983.
In honor of today’s anniversary, here’s the chapter, in it’s entirety…
An Interesting Drug
Dylan went through a divorce a number of years ago. He is still good friends with his ex-wife, Marie. They were married for twenty years and didn’t have any kids together. Dylan and Marie Kovak had met when they were young, when they both were mods.
Mods were a youth movement, a sub-culture, in the early 1980s that looked to the mods of the early 1960s for inspiration. They rode Vespa scooters, wore early 1960s styled suits and clothing, took lots of speed and danced the nights away at clubs to soul, ska, and power-pop music.
Being a mod was all about going fast. Zipping around on their scooters decked out in mirrors and lights. Dancing late into the night at clubs, hanging out at Denny’s at 3:00AM drinking coffee and going, always going. This going and going usually meant taking lots of speed pills: purple hearts, Christmas trees, or white cross tops.
Dylan started taking speed as soon as he began hanging out with mods. He found a great connection for speed pills and started dealing. It paid for all the little expenses like clove cigarettes, scooter gas, clothes, records, and clubs.
Dylan had been dealing speed for nearly a year when one of his customers offered to trade some pot for a handful of pills. Dylan had only smoked pot once in his life, several years earlier, and it hadn’t done anything for him. Dylan didn’t really want to make the trade but did anyway.
Dylan carried the pot around with him for several weeks until he almost forgot about it. One day he was at a record store, Pier Records in Newport Beach, and he noticed they had a head shop in the back. It was the first one he had ever been in. He studied the case of pipes. The variety seemed endless. Dylan picked out a nice little wooden pipe, bought it and left.
Dylan worked at a run-down movie theater in Costa Mesa. He was an usher and sometimes worked behind the snack bar. He was the guy who walked through with a flashlight in the middle of the movie. Dylan’s manager was one of his speed customers, a nice guy named Matt. Matt was also a pot smoker and one evening Dylan suggested they smoke some of his pot. Matt motioned to the manager’s office.
Once they were in the office Dylan got out his pot and his new pipe. Matt took a look at his pipe.
“Nice little pipe, do you have any screens?” asked Matt.
“Screens? What are screens?” replied Dylan.
“They are little mesh circles you put in the bowl of the pipe, so you don’t inhale ashes.”
“No, I don’t have any screens,” Dylan was confused.
Matt really didn’t want to get stoned at work. He was planning on just taking a small toke, so he was relieved Dylan didn’t have any screens.
“Well, I guess that’s that,” said Matt, moving towards the door, “get some screens at Pier Records next time you’re there.”
Dylan went and bought screens the next evening. He didn’t work for a couple of days, so he called up his friend Sue and asked her if she wanted to get stoned. “Hell yeah” was her response. Sue was an enthusiastic pot smoker. That night she taught him the basics of getting high: how to pack a bowl, how to take a hit, how to hold it in and how to wait to feel the effects.
Dylan and Sue were good friends but there was nothing romantic between them. Sue had a boyfriend who lived in Newport Beach. He had broken his knee and was in a full leg cast, so he didn’t get around much. Sue lived with two prostitutes, or call girls as they liked to call themselves, both heroin addicts.
Dylan got high for his first time watching the Dave Letterman Show. After a few hits from the pipe Dylan felt a strange comfortable feeling spread through his body. He hadn’t realized how uncomfortable his body had been until this new feeling settled in him.
Dave Letterman started to change and became a cartoon, or looked like a cartoon. Dylan got lost in thought for a while staring at the television set, amazed at the way Dave Letterman had transformed.
Now this is an interesting drug, thought Dylan.
The marijuana took the edge off the speed. Dylan noticed this effect right away. This was about the most interesting drug Dylan had encountered, so far.
Sue, Dylan and the two call girls, who weren’t working that night, hung out and watched television for several hours. It was the most engaging TV Dylan had ever watched. Around two in the morning Dylan felt he was straight enough to drive home, twenty-five miles away.
The adventure driving home was like no other scooter ride he had experienced. Dylan was amazed how slow he was driving while it seemed so fast. The drive took so long but Dylan had never enjoyed the ride more. Luckily he didn’t encounter any police officers on the way home and nothing ruined Dylan’s stoned vibe.
When Dylan got home to the house he lived at with his parents in Irvine, he got out his new pipe and packed a bowl the way Sue had showed him. He sat out front of his parent’s house on his scooter and took several hits. Then he smoked a couple cigarettes. The neighborhood was still and quiet at 3AM.
Dylan couldn’t remember a time he felt as good as he did at that moment. Dylan had found his drug of choice. Even more than speed, cannabis felt good. It made his body feel “right”. It made his mind race with ideas, like deciding to paint his scooter a new color the next day, for instance.
Now – if you’ll excuse me, I have some celebrating to do!
Until later, best of health.
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Until later, best of health ??