Even if you were 16 and running wild.
In my hometown in the 80s, while attending high school (sporadically) there was a small group of us, that for the most part, were fairly clean nosed, minor troublemakers, but enjoyed smoking pot and drinking whatever we could get our hands-on. Half the time the pot was oregano, but in the beginning, we had no idea. Pot? Oregano? had no clue. Later, over time, we learned what good grass was and what oregano smelled like.
There was a particular summer evening where we had the opportunity to hang out with Clambone’s cousin, Patty, who was a rocking 18-19 year-old, built like a playboy bunny and knew it. It was more than obvious that she enjoyed teasing the hell out of us boys. and we enjoyed being teased. It was a win-win situation.
One evening, through some series of choices and fate itself, we found ourselves with a couple of baggies of some pretty serious pot. We called it “sensimillion”, in all honesty, we had zero clue what it was other than really really good pot. Usually, you would smoke a “doobie” (a hand-rolled cigarette made out of pot for those of young age or clueless background) among 3 or 4 people, and it usually took a couple three of those “doobies” to get everyone buzzed or maybe, GASP! actually stoned. This stuff? a couple of hits and you were righteously toasted…
Somehow our plans and journey around town took us over to Patty’s, and as the sunset and the lights came up, we ended up at Patty’s with a few beers and some really really good pot. it was going to be an epic evening.. you could feel it. Not “sexual” tension, more like “hard times friendship” tension, as if regardless of how life pans out over the next 50 or 60 years, this night would be one that we would remember with an undying fondness of events.
Patty dated some pretty rough characters at the time, never was really sure why, but she seemed to like the tough guys, and sometimes that just didn’t work out very well. Kind of like our parents could be a bit “free with the fists”. She was nervous about her latest boyfriend stopping by and doing something bad, so we decided that we would stay, and just be sure nothing bad happened. Richard, Frank, Joe, myself, and Clambone sat around the kitchen table, spinning our yarns of how shitty school was, or how much money we made in tips working at the local restaurant that last evening. In those days we could work 35+ hours a week without having to worry if the government was going to get into our business.
Then? Clambone pulled out his bag of top-end grass. So did Richard.. So did I.. we must have all had the same dealer… and here is a sidetone.. in those days? get caught with grass? an ounce? a misdemeanor but it carried a year of jail and probation.. it was a tough day if you got busted…
Booze? I got caught three times, drunk, 6 pack in the car, cops looked at me, told me to dump it all out, and go home, they even followed me, but? that was all that happened. Today? you, my friend, are about to discover just how mean the cops have become. you are going to do some jail time for sure.
Back to the story. we are all laughing about how much pot we have and enough beers to wash them down. and, for the first time since I had known him, Joe looked interested in trying it out.. even Frank, who as far as I knew had NEVER touched grass in his life. Clambone? Me? every day smokers. When we could find it and afford it. It was going to be a game-on night.
We began having “doobie” rolling contests of which I gave up on immediately, I couldn’t roll a joint to save my life. Clambone did fairly well, but Patty? holy mother of god. she rolled cigarettes, not joints.. looked like a machine had rolled that bomber… “click” went the lighter and “pppfffffffttttt” went the joint.
Laughing, smiling, joking, having one hell of a good time just passing a hooter around. it was relaxing, enjoyable and just good friends learning how wrong the “establishment” was. Pot was the mellowest drug on the planet. I could remember my mom’s boyfriend drinking beer and he was fine, but give him a couple of whiskeys and lookout! He was looking to fight and didn’t care who or what it was, male or female. Adult or minor. We were just going to be the beating post.
Grass? the worst thing that would happen is you would run out of food. then it meant someone had to make a munchie run to the store.
At 5 miles per hour.
Then stopping at the stop sign for 15 minutes because they are waiting for the stop sign to turn green.
We laughed all night, most of us trying to shake a few demons loose.. and for a little while? It worked. Richard got to forget about his psychotic mom and dwarf sister who probably wasn’t going to live to 18. The “family” he was supporting with the money he earned at Sonic. It was really tough and his mom was unforgiving, and mean. Joe got to forget about his dad, who was a little loose with the belts when he got pissed. Saw some pretty serious scars on his back a time or two. My mom, and her boyfriend, and his “liberty” with the fists… those troubles, but for a few hours? we got to be teenagers again. Jim’s dad didn’t have a problem with bouncing Jim around the house a bit.
We came up with a new idea to get high, someone had heard it from someone else, so hell we HAD to try it.
It meant giving Patty the joint, and she would put the fire end of the joint into her mouth, wrapping her lips around the joint about halfway down. Then you both squatted down on your haunches, knees bent, feet up under you. Sitting on the back of your ankles. She would blow smoke out of the joint, you would suck it in, then? you would both rise up from squatting to standing together, face to face. Going up in an “elevator”. When you got stood up, place your back against the wall and the other person would push on your chest while you held the smoke in. Chest compression if you will. Brilliant!
First up? Was Richard, he partially staggered away from the wall, caught a chair and said “Holy Shit! That was wild” almost grayed out… so Clambone was next. smoke pouring out of the joint as he stands up, patty steps back, hands Clambone the joint, and leans into him, pushing against his chest with her hands, hard… all her weight behind it.. She is just mashing Clambone into the wall.
She lets go, Clambone takes a step, and as if watching a slow motion movie, Clambone falls face-first into the floor, his hand with the joint catches his hair on fire. And we just stand there.. totally awestruck… wow.. wow.. HOLY FUCK! wow… and then? Clambone starts moving… “Whhhhoooooaaaaaa” and everyone breaks up laughing, he is fine, and he has a streak of burnt hair in is head… In the background, I hear a giggle that doesn’t seem to quit. Frank. Frank can’t quit giggling. I am not sure he is breathing well…
After that? We decide that these “elevators” might not be a great idea. We move into the living room, turn off all the lights and light a candle in the middle of the room. we are circling the candle, Richard and myself, laying lengthwise under a heavy wood and iron coffee table, I am to the left, Richard to the right as you stared at the candle. Clambone to his right, Patty to his, going counterclockwise. Joe leaning against the recliner leg rest, and Frank in the other rocker, giggling… still giggling. We stare at the candle, all of us with a cigarette in hand, back to shooting the shit about Patty’s boyfriend and how we could fix his problem by everyone just smoking a doobie and just be cool.
More talk about work and the crazy shit at the local sonic that Richard had gone to work for. One of the girls that took orders out to the cars on skates was seriously concerned about her boyfriend, someone we called a “vato” a “low-rider” that was supposed to be a tough guy… real tough, threatening teenage girls…
About this time Richard asks Clambone for the ashtray. Clambone grabbed it and swung it over Richards’s way. never took his thumb out of the ashtray.
I will repeat that; Jim still had his thumb dead smack in the middle of the ashtray trying to hand it off.
Richard wasn’t paying attention and ground the cigarette out in Jim’s thumb.. a couple of moments went by and Jim finally looked down at his thumb.. and the glowing coals of a mashed out cigarette in it…
and he shook his hand loose, howling like a hound dog and I couldn’t see anything so I pulled out my lighter at the same time and lit it under the heavy coffee table, and lit Richards eyebrow on fire.
and Richard launched his head skyward only to run into the heavy wood coffee table bottom. He rose that coffee table about 2 inches….
and slapped his face with both hands, putting out the fire on his eyebrow while the radio is playing Steve Miller in the background, and.. where? Where in the FUCK is that giggling coming from?
Frank. Frank had been giggling since the kitchen face plant and now? a belly laugh. and Frank was a BIG boy with a good-sized belly to jostle around… about that time, Clambone starts laughing, Richard chimes in and it is now all of us… we can’t breathe… tears streaming down our faces, all the while Jim and Richard cussing me, them and mostly their burnt fingernail and eyebrow…
Eventually, the laughter stopped, but the giggling didn’t. Frank was absolutely stoned out of his gourd and couldn’t even move. After much debate and some good munchies, we decided that Frank couldn’t drive, so we picked him up, by each hand and leg. Have you ever moved a half-full water bed? yeah, that was Frank… giggling and stoned. and totally non-mobile. We eventually got him in the bed of his pickup truck and drove him home where we left him in the back of his truck, still giggling.
The rest of us decided it was late and split up into our different cars and took it in for the night.
36 years later, here in the Autumn of my years, I can look back at times like this in my life and still find humor in it… I can still smell the Marlboros burning, the pot smoke, the Budweiser and the feel of a summer night in New Mexico.