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wild side of life


detail Smith journal cover late 1970s – foto by Smith

When I went out this morning for the Sunday paper, I met a stoner on the street who when he heard I’d been down in Mexico for 15 months suddenly said he had some “kind” and would I want a taste and pulled out a small bushy plump bud of marijuana riddled with golds and greens and little tiny sticky hairs.

I didn’t really want to because I have to do manual labor this afternoon and the two don’t mix, but it was so pretty and unexpected it would have been a shame not to add it to my database of experience, so indulged.

Had two tokes. It was good, gentle in taste, kind to the throat, very effective, and of course quite expensive, prohibitively so. Were I working and collecting a weekly paycheck, this is the way I would go. As it is, I enjoyed the treat but passed on the purchase. My drugs these days tend to be two cups of coffee first thing each day.

Clearing out our 3 year self storage I found this description of a drug test I took in 1997 which led to my getting fired as a computer programmer consultant to BP:

“This time I worked three months and reluctantly agreed to sign up for another twelve months to forever as real people employee with benefits. Reluctant cuz they demanded drug test and nasty forms filled out Gestapo-wise. Tried to pass drug test. Took bus out to Broadway porno shop and bought Vales Original Formula De-Toxifier for $35. Hadn’t done any chemicals for a week. Bought this product cuz guy I was transitioning told me his brother had passed four times with Vale’s. This was July 13. Drug test was July 17. De-tox box said I needed to be drugless for two days. Drug test was four days away.

“Went home and took two black speed pills and one tall (talls are yellow oblong opiate extreme pain pill marvels). Two hours later dropped another black, another tall. Each speed good for eight hours, each opiate for seven. Two hours later took two blacks and one tall. I love to be able to maintain a high, although these drug amounts push beyond high into more an amiable chaos wave amenable to manipulation.

“Sunday just smoked. Monday began 48 hour detoxification regime 17 hours early. No coffee no diet coke no candy no vinegar and found it takes three days to get over coffee depression (marvelous drug). By the time of my drug test my urine was designer water clear. Thought I would pass.

“Walked out of test, took two black speeds, one tall, smoked a joint and went for a cup of coffee. It was a gorgeous summer magic day out on edge of county with trees and birds and sunshine.”

The page ends there, but the story doesn’t. Week later I got a call from a doctor in California who said “We found marijuana in your blood. How did it get there?” “Second hand smoke?” I answered. “Not in these concentrations. This is the highest we’ve seen.” Two days later I was fired.

I don’t understand. They were looking for drugs. They found drugs. Wouldn’t that mean I passed?

1997 was my last big drug binge. Alcohol free 18 years now, chemical free 12. These days a rare third cup of coffee is living the wild side of life.


detail Smith postcard 1990s – foto by Smith

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