This dates me, but when I went to college there was actually a beatnik there. I think he was a graduate student, but he had a beard. The only beard around. So I and my friend, who also had a thick beard, decided to have a race to see who could raise a beard first. I don’t remember who won, but I was sitting eating lunch and this kid from the class behind me sits downs and leans over and whispers, “You got any grass?” I said yes, and he said, how much, and I said, I didn’t have bulk at the moment. And not long after that another guy asked me the same question.
Apparently having a beard was like wearing a billboard that says, I sell grass. So I decided to look into it and found out from my friend Bernard, who had pretty much dropped out by then and was getting by selling drugs and writing papers for people (he was a whiz-bang writer), that I could buy a pound of grass for 80 dollars. I started doing the math. A pound was 16 ounces and lids (an ounce) were going for 10 dollars. I could like double my investment with one purchase, or said Bernard, you can smoke it.
I bought over the next six months 3 pounds of grass. By today’s standards the quality was ridiculously poor—mostly seeds and stems. I bought a little scale and would weigh an ounce and put it in a plastic baggie. I had no end of customers. But the whole retail business was just too much for me.
I would sit there looking at my baggies and get all worried that the stuff I was selling to X was nothing but seeds and stems, so I would take some of the good stuff from the stuff I was selling Y and then put it in X’s baggie. Or I would take some of the really good stuff from my own stash and stick it in X’s baggie. And then I would get stoned and like fucking drive myself nuts about whether or not I was cheating somebody out of their ten bucks.
And then there was the risk factor. I went to a really small college; I knew most of the faces there. But those faces sometimes would bring along a friend who wanted to buy, and I didn’t like selling to people I didn’t know. I had regulars I trusted but the whole thing was starting to spread, and I got telephone calls on the dorm phone. And like I never got calls from anybody. Like did I have some, and when would I have some, and sometimes, it would be a guy flipping out. Idiots! Like smoking a little dope was going to fry their brains. But then I didn’t know what kind of mental problems these people might have, so I would have to sit there on the phone and calm them down or go meet them somewhere for a cup of coffee.
That was my one shot at doing retail. The way I saw it people could make a hell of a lot of money in retail if they didn’t worry about being fair to each customer or weren’t concerned with possible negative side effects on their customer’s health and well being. And then there was the “mark up.” A 100% for doing nothing really, except worrying that is. It just seemed too much like magic to me. I was used to working for money.
So I cut my beard and when people asked if I had any I told them to go see Bernard.