When you grow up in a desolate wasteland you don’t have a ton of options. There just isn’t as much at your disposal as there is in other places, and if you’re already a kid that’s dealing with a bunch of emotional shit that sphere of possibility shrinks dramatically. It’ll probably come as not-even-close-to-a-shock to most of you that I developed (at an admittedly way too early age) quite the love for good ‘ol drugs & alcohol.
To be specific, I started smoking cigarettes when I was around eleven or twelve, followed directly by weed and whatever alcohol we could swipe from someone’s liquor cabinet. There was also always the old standby of “hang out in front of the gas station” method which involved standing around “acting natural” until someone who “looked cool” walked up, at which point we would see if they would buy us beer-or, if we were lucky, some Boone’s Farm. Don’t even FRONT like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Strawberry Hill BITCH! It worked about 30% of the time and we liked those odds, and you could usually guarantee success with people who looked like this (which were plentiful):
We always tried to get better drugs, but it always seemed to fucking fall through. Someone would smell us coming a mile away and rip us off, somebody’s contact wouldn’t pick up their phone (or answer their PAGER), or nobody would have any money. Luckily, being the greasy little miscreants we were, there was ALWAYS a good time to be had if you were willing to risk a night in juvie. By the time I was like 15 I was EXPERT level at stealing OTC meds from Osco, Walgreens, whatever. I’d stuffed more drugs into corduroy than Jimmy Page before I was old enough to fucking drive, so it was never a problem to catch a shitty buzz and scrape together an itchy Friday night. Cough syrup, trucker speed, motion sickness pills (don’t go there, TRUST ME.)- pretty much anything was on the table for us, if we could steal it and OD on it we were fucking DOWN.
Luckily, we managed to not kill ourselves on Dramamine and we got to advance to the next level of Midwestern degeneracy- real drugs. It must be some kind of weird time-gated evolution, cause once you get a few years older it seems like people can suddenly get the good shit, or maybe they’re just stealing it from THEIR older siblings. Whatever, who cares, cause it’s at this point where I finally got to discover that I LOVED psychedelics. By the time I was 21 (which was the last time I took the stuff) I had taken enough acid to send a small herd of elephants into permanent psychosis, and I’d done mushrooms enough times to know that I should have never taken all that acid cause mushrooms were WAY less dirty and there was nearly NO chance of thinking people were going to murder you when taking them. Have I had multiple experiences on LSD where I’ve legitimately thought I was going to die, or be killed, or melt into the floor? Yes. Yes I have. One of them was so bad that it was my final LSD trip in fact, but this fucking article is about the FUN shit. The times I took mushrooms consisted of me laying in some form of grass, staring at clouds and/or stars, and wishing I could hug a room full of puppies, but were here so I can explain that beautiful drawing to you my Ghosties.
Now I’m kind of sad that I don’t have a room full of puppies RIGHT NOW:(
It was somewhere in the range of 1997-ish, my “exact-year chronology” can occasionally be a little flawed, probably from all that darn LSD. I was playing in my band between episodes of sautéing brain matter, doing nothing with my life, and dating my drummer’s ex-girlfriend. Pretty much “living the dream”. Of course that’s not true, my life was a god-forsaken nightmare and I was living every day in a fog I feared I might never emerge victorious from, and looking back I was pretty much just a fucking sad kid on drugs. I loved to THINK I was writing good music, and expanding my mind, blah, blah, blah- I was a teenage fuck-up on drugs, which lasted into my early 20’s, and thank FUCK I didn’t get stuck in that place like so many other people I knew did. Christ, it makes me physically ill to even think about how many ways my shit could have gone COMPLETELY off the rails, but luckily I’m here, I’m not dead or in jail, and you get to hear a funny story about the time I took so much LSD that I thought I was growing wings. Demon wings to be precise.
This was right around the time I was pretty deep into Gary Numan’s later period work and Tool was pretty much everything, so I was constantly in that dark and brooding mindset where everything was apocalyptic imagery, even when I was sober. My favorite movies were Apocalypse Now, Seven, and A Clockwork Orange, all my favorite books were by Dante or Nietzche, and I’m not even gonna front like I wasn’t ALL about some “Antichrist Superstar” too cause I fucking well was and you fucking WERE TOO. The end of the world was always mentally two or three steps away to this little weirdo, and I hated every living thing so much that I welcomed it with open arms. Everything back then seemed to be serial killers, asteroids, and cult leaders on the news. Ad fucking nauseam. I used to watch Deep Impact and Armageddon like I was being tortured with them by the FBI and I would relish watching giant tidal waves swallowing the coast, or a giant asteroid streaking through the sky en route to our total fucking annihilation.
You know, like any other well adjusted teenager does!
SO, that’s where MY head spent the 90’s! Yes it IS a miracle I’m alive to tell the tale, thank you Stephen. The particular incident we’re here to discuss stems from a week in which my girlfriend at the time’s parents thought it would be a good idea for me to housesit while they were on vacation, and by “they” I mean HER too. Yep, just this kid and all of their worldly belongings for 5 or 6 days. And they were SOBER, people. They fucking sat at their kitchen table, discussed all their housesitting options, and figured they’d roll the dice with the criminal who was lurking around and being mentally destroyed by their daughter so there you have it.
In all fairness, I was very well-behaved. I didn’t steal anything, I didn’t snoop around TOO much, and I didn’t fucking break anything so YOU’RE WELCOME. On the last day of my housesitting adventure (nothing of any real consequence took place so there isn’t much to tell about the week prior to this day, I clogged the toilet once but I sorted it out.) a friend of mine called and said he could get me some acid. Not one to miss an opportunity I told him to come pick me up so we could go get some, I didn’t have much money but I had JUST enough for a couple hits which was better than no hits. As I had done a BILLION times before, we drove to a sketchy neighborhood and walked into a sketchy house, and into the bedroom of this dude we knew. He went to one of the same high schools I went to, and actually wasn’t a super gnarly dude or anything, so at least there was that bit of unsketchiness in the midst of all the other sketchy elements.
We talked for a few minutes as he was dishing out our spoils and he mentioned conversationally that he wished he wasn’t out of weed cause he REALLY wanted to get stoned. Lucky for me, I had an eighth or so back at my girlfriend’s house so I told him we could go get it and I’d be happy to share. I was a very nice boy under the eyeliner and unwashed hair and nihilism.We go grab my stash, get the dude high, and how does he thank me? By giving me a full ten strip of acid, no charge. For the kids in the back, a “ten strip” is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, it’s ten hits of LSD on a strip of paper. What I’m pretty sure he DIDN’T expect was for me to promptly place the ENTIRE FUCKING THING on my tongue and walk out the door. My friend drove me back to the house I was diligently looking after and I was once again sans accompaniment.
Nothing goes better with a shit-load of LSD and chronic depression than solitude!
Yep, I was completely and totally alone, in my girlfriend’s house, on a FUCK-ton of LSD. I sat down in the living room with a glass of OJ (as you do) and just waited. I put on a little music, took off my shoes, and just sat down on the couch. This is the precise moment when things took a turn. Quickly. The acid hadn’t quite kicked in yet when I heard something out in the garage. You can probably guess where this is going, her mom had some kind of family matter to attend to (or something like that, again- the memory is a TOUCH on the foggy side) and she decided to come back early. Not the whole family, thank Christ, just her. I don’t think I could deal with all that, it was tough enough realizing my FUCKING TEN STRIP was kicking in and I was gonna have to keep my shit together for the foreseeable future with ONE person.
She started to talk to me about the trip and I noticed that everything was starting to get those haloes around it, kinda like when you look at street lights on a foggy night, and I realized that I was gonna need to get the fuck out of there and fast. I managed to listen to her for a few minutes and even engage in a little conversation about what I’D been up to the past few days, and then I very quickly got on the phone and called my friend again. I probably whisper-yelled something to the effect of “you gotta come get me the fuck OUT of here!” and luckily for me yet again, he was able to do so in pretty expedient fashion. He drove me to the apartment complex where my mom and I lived (she worked there too, she cleaned the buildings/hallways in exchange for discounted rent and she’s a fucking warrior for it too) and I had him drop me off at the entrance. It wasn’t so much an “entrance” as it was “where the road turned into the apartment complex” and I don’t even think there were signs or anything. It didn’t much deserve to be named, I mean, no flowery descriptors can spit shine up a shitty fucking apartment complex anyway, so I appreciate their extreme brevity.
See, the thing was- my mom was out of town too. She and her sort-of-boyfriend, kind-of-coworker had gone on a trip (couldn’t remember where if you had a fucking gun to my head) and weren’t due back until the next day so I figured this was my safest bet. I’d hang out in my room, smoke some weed, and play guitar until my brain stopped melting. Easy right? I used to have to go out onto the back stoop to smoke my cigarettes so I decided I’d go out there and hang out for a bit, get some air. By this point I’m fucking tripping BALLS, the entire world is fucking vibrating with colors, and my mind is about 40,000 light-years from any sort of sanity and I’m enjoying myself quite a bit. I had gotten pretty good at keeping my fucked-up thoughts in check so I wouldn’t go down Bad Trip Lane and this day was no exception. When you’re on a large amount of LSD it can be difficult to navigate the thoughts that are constantly floating in and out of your brain, not to mention the visual display that is inescapable– colors envelop everything, and if you stare at cigarette smoke long enough you start to fucking SEE shit take shape inside of it.
It’s 2020 so I should PROBABLY disclaimer this shit: The Ghost Generation isn’t trying to tell you to do drugs. AFHGhost1 quite enjoyed them for a time but is long since sober-ish, and FemaleGG was smart enough to never touch the stuff. There, that better?
I should also mention that, on this particular day, I was shirtless and wearing these pants I’d found at a thrift store that reminded me of the carpet patterns from The Shining. Kinda flared at the bottom, totally dope, and super vintage. I fucking LOVED those pants, and they were the kind of thing that made you FEEL like some kind of rock star even if you were just a Midwestern shit-for-brains tripping outside of a 1970’s apartment building. I had what I can now call “Jonathan Davis Hair” cause looking back that’s kinda what it was. It was dirty enough to sort be dreadlocks but not QUITE, kinda like I was too apathetic to bother with the labor involved in actually making the dreadlocks, and it was dyed black with roots growing out. What the FUCK were we doing with our hair in the 90’s? What a fucking travesty it was. Jesus, I’m so thankful this shit was pre-internet cause I’d be FUCKED.
So, I’m standing there shirtless looking like Twiggy Ramirez’s little brother ( I had smeared eyeliner going on too), drinking orange juice from a gallon jug, and chain-smoking like my name was Thelma from the front desk at the local soybean processing plant- just a real American hero. It had been kind of a stormy day (or what anyone else in America would call a REALLY stormy day, but it was the Midwest so it was par for the fucking course) but the weather had mostly passed, and it was getting to be late afternoon/early dusk so there was a really nice bit of color going on in the sky.
Suddenly, I turned to my left and looked through the gap between buildings and I saw what looked to be a giant fucking wall of fire. It was like hell was swallowing the earth and I thought the apocalypse was going down RIGHT then and there. Anyone who’s ever taken an extreme amount of LSD can attest to this fact- shit that would be a crazy thought any other time gets fucking REAL when you’re tripping. This was no exception, I thought it was the full-on end of days and I was in awe. In reality, it was just a large mass of mammatus clouds in the distance that were reflecting the sunset which gave it the APPEARANCE of a giant wall of bubbling fire but again- ten strip.
This shit is blowing my fucking MIND- I can’t think, I can’t speak, I can’t do SHIT. I’m just standing there with my mouth agape staring at this wall of doom in the sky and by now I’m peaking. I’m clinically fucking insane at this stage of the game and somewhere in the nooks and crannies my mind I got the idea that I was becoming a real-deal soldier of hell. When you’re on LSD you get these sensations in your spine sometimes and my brain translated it to “you’re growing demon wings out of your back and you’re the antichrist ushering in the dawn of the end of humanity”. Yep, you fucking read me right. I thought I was growing wings. Awesome. So there I stood, in this sort of “I’m about to ascend into the sky” Jesus Christ pose, shirtless, in disco pants, with dirty half-dreads, shitty black eyeliner streaming down my cheeks, and a jug of orange juice on the ground next to me.
You can mail my “Man of the Year” award to my home address, thank you.
This went on for what felt like hours, but it was probably about 10 minutes or so. LSD fucks with your sense of time too, amongst all the other shit, and when you’re on a lot of it you can really get lost if you let yourself. I’m standing there fully succumbing to my hallucinatory bliss when I start to sort of realize just how insane I probably look. I was pretty sure a neighbor had come out of one of the other buildings and seen me so I figured I’d compose myself, have a smoke on the stoop, and get my fucking ass inside to get my head right. The universe decided to NOT let that happen cause guess what? Yep, my fucking mom came home early, just like my fucking girlfriend’s mom did, the only difference is now I’m full-on four-alarm frying my nuts off and in NO place to be around ANYTHING called “mom”.
Her dude (easier to say) was younger than her and had done his share of partying in his younger days so he took one look at my ass and knew EXACTLY what was going on. You can fucking TELL when somebody knows, cause he had this half smile thing going on and as my mom was getting her purse out of the car I looked at him and I asked “how was your TRIP?” and I immediately started laughing like a psychopath. I remember him saying “you gotta get your shit together buddy, get in the house!”, so I swiftly took his word for it. I mustered the composure to give my mom a hug, told her I didn’t feel good (my looks weren’t a red flag for her because she was used to seeing me look like “Heroin Goth Barbie” ), and I hauled ass into my bedroom to ride out the storm. I couldn’t really play guitar cause everything sounded like white noise, I still don’t know how I ever played shows on that shit but I guess I was never dumb enough to take THAT much before hitting the stage. Good decision maker, this guy.
I couldn’t do much of anything cause I was totally fucking out of my mind, so I did what I would do back then to end every night. It was a ritual that I remember and adore, and consisted of the following steps: Placing a towel under the door to keep the smoke inside, positioning a fan to blow out the window so I could smoke weed, packing up my one-hitter from my dugout (a little box you kept weed and a one hitter in, for those damn kids in the back), turing off all lights except the elaborate strings of blue and green Christmas lights I had everywhere, and listening to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness while smoking weed until the motherfucking LSD wore off. Minus the LSD this was pretty much my nightly ritual, I’d look out at the moon, ruminate on whatever the fuck was on my mind that night, and listen to music and smoke weed until I drifted off to sleep. My life was a fucking train wreck back then, but those couple hours at the end of every fucked-up day were magical.
So, there’s no big finish here, just a story of 17 year-old me and my adventures with LSD. I finally came down LATE that night, fell asleep, and woke up to waste another day. Spoiler alert: turns out it WASN’T the apocalypse and I was just an idiot, so that’s something I guess. Kids, don’t do drugs, but if you do- find a kid who can get mushrooms, and lay in a field thinking about hugging puppies. Some people don’t come BACK from trips like I described above but I’m lucky I guess. Bummer of the whole thing? No wings. Oh well, at least there’s Red Bull.
A brand new blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration