Trout Fisting In America #15 – Psychedelics

It’s Saturday morning in my local Kroger grocery store. Psilocybin—or more accurately, my past experiences w/psilocybin—has made it possible for me to sit in the ‘cafe seating’ area (the sign has an accent over the e, but I’m not going to sift through these weak-ass google docs menus to try and find it), an upstairs area w/lots of tables & chairs and a view that overlooks the produce section and allows me to watch the shoppers make their way through the grocery store. and find the moment beautiful, especially when the in-house speakers start to play ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ by Johnny Nash, a favorite song of my wife’s mom. She died (her mom, obviously) before I met her (my wife, and I guess her mom too), but I think of her (her mom, and I guess my wife too) whenever I hear the song.

Psilocybin allowed me to see people going about their regular lives and recognize the tedium as somehow beautiful & necessary, that the shared experience of say, buying groceries—no two cartloads ever exactly alike—connects us all to each other while at the same time differentiating us from each other. An experience simultaneously both universal & unique.

They’re playing ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ now. As an undernourished high school kid I did this thing called Academic League, which was like team Jeopardy (team Jeopardy! if I’m being specific—the exclamation point is part of the game show’s title). Because I was a failed basketball player, good enough to make the team but not good enough to play in a game that was even remotely competitive, I brought an intensity to Academic League that most of my teammates did not. Anyway, the big county-wide tournament (and San Diego County is a big motherfucking county, the size of Massachusetts) took place in Fallbrook every year, and our team romped through the first three matches of the morning session, led by yours truly who for that morning at least was the Michael Jordan of Academic League, a performance so dominant that our coach, the late Peter Sebastian—a teacher who once bet actual real money against my then-current teacher that I would get a perfect score on my AP English test (I didn’t)—told the team that we were going to eat lunch ‘wherever Scott wants to eat’ and then proceeded to serenade me w/this Bette Midler song ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ (which I’d never heard before—my favorite band at the time was The Smiths).

I decided we would eat at Burger King. In those days I always wanted to eat at Burger King.

And then the PA plays Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and I remember that every high is followed by an inevitable crash, and the greater the heights the greater the subsequent psychic carnage.

Because I don’t count marijuana as a psychedelic (a mild hallucinogen at best, and one I’ve never much cared for), my first psychedelic experience took place in the summer of 2001 as a 29-year-old college student. It was wonderful. At a time in my life when I felt lonely, anxious, & isolated (life in a big city, esp. a city like Boston tends to exasperate this stuff), those feelings instantly vanished and I felt empathetic love for everything. Not to say those feelings have never returned, but my perspective on them—my ability to step outside my reality and see it from a more subjective point-of-view—changed forever.

I could go on about the other half-dozen or so times I took psilocybin, but like stories about our dreams, the specifics tend to be way more interesting to the participant. But here’s a couple of good ones.

My friend and I collaborated on a poem that first time, which wasn’t easy since the cursor resembled a blinking monolith, and I still remember turning on the TV as we began to return to normal. I turned on the Red Sox game and the first thing I heard was announcer Sean McDonough saying ‘We’ve just been struck by lightning here in the booth,’ to which we both dissolved in giggles.

The third experience with this friend resulted in a third poem. By then we were living in Prescott, AZ and again, as we started coming down we decided to engage w/the outside world. So we walked into town to get something to eat, and as we go into the restaurant the hostess asked us a simple question: How many of you are there? We stood there speechless for a minute, pondering the depths of her question before, again, collapsing in giggles.

I mean, it’s a pretty deep question if you think about it—esp. in the cosmic sense, parallel universes & the like.

And by the way, isn’t it nice that I can write about taking illegal drugs w/o fear of being arrested? To think that some dumb racist stumpy-headed motherfuckers still insist there’s no such thing as white privilege. The idea that this kind of thing is illegal, that every now & then people actually get arrested for this stuff, only proves we live in a society w/fucked-up priorities, a country that values mental sickness over mental health if it means keeping the US Protestant Work Ethic on the straight & fucking narrow.

Fuck them. For your next vacation, you might consider planning a trip that doesn’t involve leaving your house.

 

Trout Fisting In America appears every Tuesday right here at this site. We’re going to keep going until we reach #50, or until the Trout begs for mercy. Check out previous installments HERE.

About ScottCreney

Scott Creney lives in Athens, Georgia. He is the author of "Dear Al-Qaeda: Letters to the World’s Most Notorious Terror Organiztion".
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