That one time I ALMOST got my tit in a wringer for ‘drugs’.

I have long been of the opinion that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to the intellect of the children of some parents. This is an old story. Hope you enjoy the insight into the monumental stupidity that I brought upon myself when I was a kid. Thank god I was marginally smarter than this when my first child was conceived. 

Thanks for reading,

Matt

This is the story of how I almost got kicked out of high school for supposedly possessing drugs.

It is also a cautionary tale of:

  1. Me, being a dumbass.
  2. Why you should always research your drug choices.
  3. My extremely good luck in times of crises.

In high school, I was the drummer in a band called Argyle (yes, retrospect has shown me that there are better names that could have been chosen). When junior year rolled around, we (the band & I) were having some communication problems with one of our guitar players. This guitar player also went to the same school as I did (a Catholic, all boys school). This guitar player was also a firm believer in Christianity, so much so, that he would go on the “religious retreats” that the school would offer from time to time.

So, we were having problems with this said religious guitar player and it so happens that one of these retreats was coming up and he was going to be a leader of said retreat. Naturally, I get the bright idea that I should go on this retreat in an effort to find out what’s been bugging this guitar player.

My other band mates supported this marvelous idea of mine.

Any normal person would have went up to Guitar Player and said “What the fuck is your problem?”

Not me.

The first two days were not that bad.

The only thing I truly disliked was that they confiscated all of our time pieces. The exact reason why is completely out of my head. But I was definitely struck by how maddening it was not to know what time it was. The effect was almost suffocating.

After that, we were bombarded with the usual retreat-y type God stuff that you’d expect. Our group leaders (of which Guitar Player was a part of) all had to get up in front of us and talk about what God meant to them and possibly relate it to a tough time in their life that they were able to work through because of his “love”.

This always resulted in, being on the verge of, or drowning in their own tears.

The skeptic in me then (as well as now) has always been of the opinion that the only one who can get you through those tough times is you. No one else, just you.

Just when we were getting ready to turn in towards the end of the second night, I was bouncing-off-the-walls bored. It didn’t look like my original goal (of having a “sit-down” with the guitar player) was going to happen any time soon. Then I remembered something that someone had told me during the 7th grade:

I had heard somewhere that smoking tea could get you high.

As in the stuff that the British have coursing through their veins.

I told this to my roommate. He looked at me like How I’m sure you’re looking at this now, like I’m a moron.

It’s ok. I know I am a moron.

I sneak off to the kitchen area and procure a coffee filter and some Earl Grey. If there was one thing I remember from this whole fiasco it was the look on my roommate’s face while I was “working”. It was a good blend of “God you’re stupid” and “Man, I hope this works because I would like to get high, too.”

The next day, it was more of the same God Shenanigans.

Right before dinner time, my roommate, his brother and myself all duck out for a quick smoke. Stupidly, we all lit up on the main path that connected the chapel to where we were all “living”. Of course I thought that this would have been as good a time as any to see if my little experiment held water. When I lit up, it smelled exactly like weed. It was uncanny. While this may be exciting for a junior in high school who was testing an urban myth to sate his boredom, you can obviously see what kind of goober I really was.

After about five minutes, one of the teachers came trudging down the path.

We were fucked.

They pulled us out of the evening happenings and said they found what “appeared to be” a joint.

I told them that it was all my idea and that the two brothers had nothing to do with it. I went out to tell them that I ran out of cigarettes and I made the “joint” as a substitute (which wasn’t completely bullshit, by the way) and I completely reassured them that it wasn’t drugs.

They told me that was all well and good but what they found still needed to be “analyzed”.

I asked them what was going to happen to us. Without missing a beat, they said that they spoke to the dean and he said that they were to send us home and we were to be suspended.

I was completely fucked. My life, as I knew it, was over. My parents were on their way to get me.

I had never seen my father so angry at me. No band, no nothing. That’s what my parents told me.

Normally I would have taken that without saying a word. However, we had a major show coming up it didn’t make sense to punish people who didn’t have anything to do with me fucking up. I managed to convince my parents to let me play the show and then suspend my band privileges.

Here’s where the story gets better.

The day before I had to go back to school, we had band practice.

Bass Player and his girlfriend at the time were the first to show up.

I explained everything to them, the stupidity of my actions, the fallout from the school and my parents and what was going to happen after our big show.

The girlfriend said something to the effect of:

“I know what would make you feel better”.

“What’s that?”

“Smoking a big bag of weed.”

From her purse she whips out a bowl and a big bag of weed.

Band practice was at the very least, fun. I went to bed that night without a care in the world.

The next day was my first day back since getting suspended. During one of my morning classes, I was pulled out of class to speak with the Dean.

Basically, he wanted to give me a pep talk and to hear what happened from my own mouth. He concluded the whole conversation by telling me that the results of the testing on the “evidence” were inconclusive and that I needed to submit to psychological analysis and drug testing.

Drug. Testing.

I was doomed! I was sure of it! I had smoked up just the other day.

I was freaking out! I couldn’t go back to the Dean and ask him what kind of test it would be. That would be way too suspicious.

After school, I immediately started to drink water. I figured that if I drank enough of it, I could even the chances of flushing out my system. I then called Bass Player and explained to him the escalation of the situation. He was remarkably helpful. I learned that it was either going to be a blood test or a urine test.

Regardless of the type of test, I could go to any “head” shop and select from a wide array of products that would mask the presence of cannabis in my system. Thankfully, this all pre-dated hair sampling.

Bass Player also suggested that I drink Pectin, a preservative commonly used in canning foods.

At this point I had all ready been drinking enough water to hydrate a third world country so the pectin wouldn’t hurt. It wasn’t that bad. Had a bit of a sweet taste to it.

As an added measure I called the local NORML office to find out how long pot had stayed in your body. He told me that the length of time varies depending on your level of usage. Thankfully, I wasn’t a habitual smoker so I had about three days to clear out my system.

Relief very adequately describes how I felt after that conversation. I still drank water like a motherfucker, though. 

So the day finally came for me to face the music.

I was so nervous you couldn’t get a needle up my ass with a jack hammer. I was a relatively “good” kid. Getting in this kind of trouble was a new experience for me.

The psychoanalysis was completely unremarkable. No new emotional ground had been broken. No revelations were had. It was just an old, white man asking me questions that people have been asking me since I got suspended.

Peeing in a cup was fun. I really had to pee.

7 days later.

The dean of my school comes up to me wanting to know what was going on. Of course, I had no fucking idea what he was talking about. Apparently the clinic that I had gone to, did not inform the people of the school about my pee pee results.

The Dean told me that I needed to call them to find out what the story was.

So I call the clinic and I was informed that its standard operating procedure to not inform the drug testee if there is an absence of drugs in their urine.

An. Absence.

My pee was clean.

In a matter of three days I had managed to ingest enough water piss out all of the THC that was in my system.

Lessons learned:

  1. If you have a problem with someone, quit fucking around and address the situation.
  2. Smoking Tea will never, ever get you high.
  3. If you’re going to do drugs, make sure that there isn’t a possible drug test looming.
  4. As smart as you think you are, old age will always show you how stupid you really were.
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I never claimed to have all of the answers. But I have some ideas on where you can get them.

Everyone needs a little help now and again. The loose idea with this part of my site is that it’s going to be a rolling list of links that people can click to because there will be some things in the future that I am a bit out of my depth on.

New as of Wednesday,  December 16th 2015

MISCELLANEOUS

MUSIC

  • I don’t like handing money over to iTunes to get some new music going. Does anyone, really? Through ways that escape me, I have found Listen to Youtube. Be careful where you click: this is an ad heavy site. It’s not completely obnoxious, you just have to “read” before you click. Wanna have a go with me about “pirating”? Fill out the contact form, fucker: I’ll show you what “swabbing the deck” really means. (Edited: I’d also like to point out that normally, I would get new audio stuffs from the local library. My current library stinks. As in, I can’t get new audio stuffs. They don’t have the funding. Seriously. So, there’s that).
  • BEHOLD! The Rollins Archive. Henry Rollins’ radio show from the very beginning. For free. Download it. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Fugazi created a comprehensive web site of all of their shows. Even if you don’t know who they are, you need to check this out. Also, the music can be bought on the cheap

PODCASTS

As a stay at home dad with three kids in school and a deep-seated phobia of having to deal with people on a regular basis, I have discovered the pot of veritable wonder that is podcasts. The first link is the home page for the podcast, the link underneath that is a specific podcast that everyone ought to listen to.

RECIPES AND FOOD

MOTIVATION!

Look no further than Henry Rollins. 

I first saw Henry in an ad for Macs in one of my sister’s Rolling Stone Magazines. I was super young, definitely pre-teen. If I’m not mistaken, shortly after that ad, he ended up having a column in Rolling Stone for a short period of time.

I have been a fan ever since.

Since I have come to be a certain age, a lot of what he has talked about has held a certain resonance with me. Just… Just check him out.

If that’s not your bag, try some Neil Gaiman on for size. 

Amiri Baraka Almost Spit on Me.

When I first started writing, I was in the eighth grade and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was just putting pen to paper and letting things happen. It wasn’t even the equivalent of throwing shit at a wall to see what would stick.

It was garbage.

I was happy though. Like most writers, writing became an arena that gave my subconscious closure on all of those horrible feelings that were the results of the chemical reaction known as puberty.

 In my Junior year of high school, I met Mr. Barker, a new teacher who taught American Lit.

He was also the man who was responsible for introducing me to “On the Road”. It’s clichéd. I know. But I read that book and I went “Holy fuck! This is great!!! I’ve been doing something close to this! Maybe I should take this a bit more seriously…”

After that introduction, I devoured everything that I could find that was even remotely related to the ‘Beats’. From my research, I concluded that a lot of what the ‘Beats’ were known for was stream of conscious poetry. I latched on to that.

What I was doing, what I was writing finally had a name and a face. It was poetry. I was writing poetry. I was, for a lack of a less sissy-fied word, a poet.

As a result of that epiphany, I wrote constantly. I thought that everything that spilled out of my dumb little head was gold and as a result, I very seldom edited anything.

Thankfully, I identified this line of thinking as complete and utter shit. I now edit with a Hemingway-like level of precision.

This “everything I write is completely awesome-balls” phase, lasted well up into my 20’s. Shortly after I turned 20, I entered a contest that had to do with Duke Ellington. The basic premise was that the community college I was attending (Cuyahoga Community College, renowned for their involvement in jazz and the jazz scene in Cleveland, etc.) decided to honor Duke Ellington that year. I don’t remember the specifics but you had to write something that involved Duke Ellington in some way. You could use a song of his, voice your opinion on the man, etc…

I decided to take the song title route. I chose Harlem Airshaft.

Essentially, I took the title and wrote something from the point of view of someone my age (at the time) who would inhabit an apartment in Harlem (aka, I wrote as a young black male. This is a bit paradoxical since you’re not going to find anyone “whiter” than me…)

At the time, I didn’t even really know who in the hell Duke Ellington was. I knew he had something to do with jazz but that’s as far as my interest went.

So I wrote the poem, fixed a few things, managed to throw in the word ‘sarcophagi’, and put it in the mailbox.

One day, I get a piece of mail from the school telling me that I had tied for third and was given an honorable mention. Additionally, my presence was requested to be at the opening ceremony that kicked off the Tri-C Jazz Fest.

I was agog.

Stupidly I accepted their invitation.

The night before the event, insomnia made me it’s bitch. I tried everything. Exercise, alcohol, masturbating, warm milk, masturbating… Nothing was working.

What made things worse was the fact that I had to work the morning before the event. After my shift, I ran home, changed, waited for the oddball collection of family members to show up, and then headed down to the festivities.

By the time that I had gotten to where I needed to be, I was a fucking zombie.

Nothing seemed real. It was all shrouded in that dull haze that drips over everything when you know you have gone too long without sleep.

I remember very vaguely getting to the auditorium and having to make idle chit-chat with the school staff person who was tasked with wrangling all of the people who had placed in the contest. I remember her asking me what I liked about “Duke”.

I had no choice but to issue a non sequitor.

“THAT RUG IS BROWN”, I said over my shoulder as I hurried to the bathroom to hide.

[For some reason, because of my involvement and placement in said contest, I was further invited to read my “poem” on CWRU 91.1, Case Western’s radio station. (This was another bizarre happening. Up until I sat down in front of the microphone, I had never read the poem out loud. Hindsight has shown me why the sound engineer looked so pained when he had me do four takes…)]

So they get us all together, tell us what’s going to happen, and when we get our awards. Then they tell us that Amiri Baraka will be giving the Keynote Speech.

                         It’s ok, I didn’t know who in the fuck he was either.

The entire time that he was up there, I didn’t listen to a damn thing that he said. The only thing that I knew was that he was pissed. About what? I didn’t know. I didn’t care. I still don’t care.

The only thing that I could focus on during his ‘speech’ was the incredible amount of saliva that was flying out his mouth. It was astounding! Every so often he would say something that ‘sounded’ profound and a ropey string of saliva would take flight in emphasis.

After he was done, I got my award (which is now lost) and the I got the fuck out of there.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. I was full of shit when I was younger. I still am to some extent; I’m just a little more aware of it.
  2. Writing to write is good. Writing for purpose is better AS LONG AS you do your homework. I’m still a bit chagrined about the fact that I participated in a contest for no real reason.
  3. Just because you’re too lazy to turn your creation into something of worth doesn’t mean you get to call it poetry.
  4. I’m not now, nor have I ever been black. As a result, I do not write like I am someone I am not. I write like me.

So Long Prince, and Thanks For All the Fish. 

At this point, there’s absolutely no way at all any one on the face of the earth is unaware that Prince is dead. To be perfectly honest, I’m still in a bit of shock.

Men like Prince tend to exist within a fog of ethereal surrealness. The problem with this is, is that while they are alive and walking on two legs, the legacy that they have created tends to do the majority of ‘the living’ for them. Because of that, we tend to forget that these ‘larger than life’ heroes of ours are just as vulnerable as we are.

Short of that, I’d rather not try and add any other bullshit to this. If I were to do so, it would be like trying to have a conversation with someone who is on the other side of a busy rail yard. Instead of that, I’d rather remember the good things that Prince has given us, and the better things that have come, or will come, from his passing.

What follows are some of the better things that have come across my feeds in the past week. I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

FOR THE ROCK HALL CLIP, SKIP TO 3:24 IN ORDER TO WATCH PRINCE MURDER THE WHOLE SONG AND THROW HIS GUITAR AWAY

 

Having trouble finding a decent library and/or comic shop?

Moving sucks. Changing residences, that is. Not physical movement. Well… Sometimes that sucks too but that’s besides the point.

The last time my Wife and I moved, it was to the other side of our hometown. This wasn’t that big of a change as we were familiar with “that side of town”. We had always lived in areas where things were easy to get to (street lay outs made sense, things were connected by highways, everything was within reasonable walking distance).

Our first order of business after all of the dust settled from relocating was where the library was. We were lucky with our first two apartments. Both libraries were within walking distance. Pretty handy when you have young kids you’re raising.

The 2nd to last time we moved really sucked. On “that side of town”, nothing was connected by any semblance of a highway. It’s all side streets and main drags (none of which seem to go by a traditional grid structure that Civil Engineers use today, everything tends to veer one way or the other…) and roundabouts (of which, people drive like assholes in).

We eventually found the libraries within our area (which weren’t within a reasonable amount of walking distance) but an idea struck me: Is there a search engine for libraries?

Yes there is!

The National Center for Education Statistics has created a search engine for Public Libraries.

As a litmus test, I entered all of my previous addresses and it correctly brought up all of the libraries within the areas entered.

Link to it, favorite it, bookmark it now. You’ll thank me later.

Through a fluke coincidence, as I was starting the second installment of The Umbrella Academy I discovered something remarkable on the bottom of the masthead page, (Thats the page after the title page inside any given book. I don’t know if that’s the proper term for the page that credits everyone involved with making a graphic novel collection per se, I just know that that is the common term in publishing.) the Comic Shop Locator Service, (888)-266-4226.

I was intrigued, so I dialed the number. Servicing America and Canada, this is an automated service that gives you the address and telephone number of every possible Comic Shop within a given area code. I wish I would have had something like this around when I was a kid.

While this post may seem like a feeble attempt to promote independent ownership in an age when convenience is dominant, consider this: it unfortunately is.

In an age when computers and big box retailers are running the gamut on ALL types of literature, plugging an automated location service seems a little redundant.

It doesn’t hurt to try, though.

To locate a comic shop near you, call toll free (888)-266-4226. To find a library click here!