One Saturday morning during the summer I was working that punch press, I heard “Purple Haze” on the radio and thought, wow, what the fuck was that, and did something I had never done before or since. As soon as the song was over, I got in my trusty old Plymouth and went out and bought the Jimi Hendrix Experience (“Have you ever been experienced, not necessarily stoned but beautiful”) immediately. The problem was though, I didn’t have stereo, but 3 or 4 groups of guys from my college were summering in that apartment building, so I went down stairs and knocked on one door, and asked if I could use their stereo so that I could hear all of this album.
So we sat around and listened to it once with guys coming and going; then we all got stoned and sat down and listened to it again. I wanted to listen again, but I didn’t know these guys all that well. So I thanked them and said, since I didn’t have a stereo, they could keep the album if I could come down and listen to it once in a while. They said sure.
A couple weeks later I hear this knock at the door and one of the guys from the apartment downstairs was standing there, looking disheveled and wide eyed, and he said something like, look man I know you don’t have much money, and we only go through this life once, you know man, and well, here I would like you to have this, you know, it’s all one and what goes around comes around, like Karma, you know. And I said something like while I was a bit short, I was doing OK, but he wouldn’t hear of it and handed me this big wad of money, and then he gave me a big fucking hug, like at a time when people didn’t go around hugging all the time.
This guy was on LSD, so I didn’t see any point in arguing with him, but thanked him and he went on his way. I checked the roll; $500 mostly in 20’s. I stashed the roll because I was pretty sure once he came down and started thinking about it he would want the money back.
I never took LSD. I was tempted. Guys would come around saying they had like seen God; they had broken through to the other side and kicked open the doors of perception. But other guys would come around and say they had seen snakes with teeth coming out of their friend’s asshole. I just didn’t want to chance it. I knew that my connection to what people called “reality” was pretty screwed up. My consciousness was naturally altered and I really didn’t need any additional chemical imbalances.
The guy held out, to his credit, for almost two weeks. I mean it must have been a bit humiliating to give a guy $500 out of the goodness of your heart and then come to ask for it back. But he did looking pretty chagrined and wondered did I have any of that money left. Sure I said and went back to the bedroom, took a 20 off the roll, and gave him the rest of it. Thanks man, he said and started to make excuses. It’s all there, I said because I could tell he was dying to count it, but, hey, I did use 20. I’ll get it back to you if you want.
Oh, hell, no man, he said relieved to be able to keep up a pretense to generosity, you keep it. My pleasure.
God, but I am one tactful guy!