LSD At Harvard, 1969

[ The following is a brief excerpt from my book Sex, Drugs and Bipolar. ]

It turns out that I’m not as much of a run-away as I’d like to be. I always end up at my sister in law’s apartment in Brooklyn, or at my friend’s place at Harvard. Well, not actually at his place; I start out there but spend the vast majority of my time either playing pinball at the Harvard Coop, or smoking pot in the underground hallways, or tripping and smoking and playing pinball all at once. When I’m playing pinball on acid the song Pinball Wizard by the Who is on repeat in my brain. The LSD really does seem to improve my game — and it absolutely makes it more fun. Of course, acid makes nearly everything more fun.

Being at Harvard is weird. I’m a few years younger than the youngest students, and I’m often asked what I’m doing there or if I’m lost. These are interesting existential questions when you are tripping. What am I doing here? Am I lost?” 

A few times I have been able to trip and hang out with my brother’s friend Ben who is an incredible musician who records free style music; somewhere between interesting and ecstatic.

He starts with a synthesizer, and then runs the music through a series of modifications. Brian Eno calls this “generative music” and Ben is recognized in the music industry as pretty much a pioneer in the field.  He is a truly nice guy and is happy to let me lie on his couch and listen as he writes his pieces while I am blitzed out of my mind.

I find it hard to live at home. I don’t hate my parents but mentally, socially, politically, empirically, catastrophically we are far apart: we coexist in space but not in time. 

Some of it is the war. Some of it is music. Some of it is drugs. Some of it, I suspect, is just me. 

I try not to worry them when I disappear. I call. I reassure.

Some weekends I make my way to Cambridge, and then come back for school. So, I’m not much good as a runaway. I’m more of a walk away.

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