Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Worst Day Of My Life

How do I know it was the worst day
of my life? I'm not dead yet, and dying
certainly will be stressful. The answer
is that, at the time, I just knew...which
revelation was inspiring, to say the least.

Summer of '69, Chicago. I spent the first
month or so of that summer between my
sophomore and junior years in college
in my dad's law office trying to help out.
I couldn't stand it, and decided to live with
a high school friend in Chicago for the
remainder of the summer. He had a one 
room apartment and we shared the bed.
I had nothing to do, except read. I was 
reading Joyce's Ulysses at the time, 
which was part of the problem. Reading 
that tome, of which I understood nothing, 
exacerbated the claustrophobia. That and 
the heat, the constant noise of the city,
and being alone most of the time.

One afternoon, I decided to take LSD. I'd
discovered it and explored it that year at 
college. This time I did it because I was
bored...really the worst of reasons because
what LSD tends to do is heighten or intensify
whatever experience you're having. It started
to come on and I decided to take a bath.

I sat in the tepid water that sunny afternoon.
I realized that I had forgotten why I had 
decided to take a bath. I realized that the 
decision had been arbitrary....that any decision
I made seemed to be arbitrary...that I knew
nothing and whatever I did was random,
directionless, without purpose. Where I was,
that moment in Chicago, was not where 
I wanted to be, but only not where I didn't 
want to be. The feeling of being lost was
total. That's when I knew it was the worst day
of my life....that things could only get better.
It wasn't a hopeful thought. I knew it was true.

My friend came home and realized I was in a 
bad spot. He took me to a restaurant where I
burned my mouth on the pecan pie..which
didn't help. He decided to take me to a movie, 
hoping it would distract me. We went to an art 
cinema that was playing a double feature of
"No Exit", by Sartre, and "The Balcony", by 
Genet. Both movies were intense dramas, and
it might seem counterintuitive to take a guy
freaking out on acid to such movies, but the 
fascination of watching them did the trick for 
a while. After that we went to a burlesque 
theatre to watch some strippers and that 
proved to be rather hilarious. One stripper rubbed 
her crotch on the curtain and a wag shouted:
"You're going to have to burn that curtain!"
The ordeal ended with the sun coming up 
and me pissing against an  apartment building 
for what seemed to be an hour, loud sighs of 
relief while my friend urged me to hurry.


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