S.M. Park’s column Risen Apes about being a 70-year-old boomer. In “Dipstick,” Park shares about drawing and mailing Xmas cards every year and his experience with GHB.
I often write these columns five to six months before they’re posted, so at the moment it’s the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas looms. Which means, in turn, that it’s time to address the hundred twenty cards I mail every year. (A number that’s remained surprisingly stable over the decades, as time ushers old friends out and new ones in.)
Most of my buddies haven’t sent that much mail in their lives, so it’d surprise them that I address the envelopes, attach the postage and sign the cards in a couple hours. (It took longer in the past, when I’d write a personal message inside, but hand tremors have relegated me to printed greetings now.)
Which is fine: whatever the cards require is worth it … like the pot labels they’ve repaid me tenfold through the years. Recipients love them (particularly in this digital age), and over time they become part of family lore. I know because I’ve met kids who grew up with them, and they treat me like a long-lost uncle.
I appreciate it, even as the real rewards are unexpected. Particularly how—after addressing all those cards—I’ll be walking around in the week that follows and get these sudden, out-of-the-blue epiphanies, like: Hey! You forgot the Carlsons in Seattle. Or: You skipped Brad in Lakeview.
All those envelopes fanning in front of me and my brain is still recording the misses, much less pushing them to the surface later? At seventy-four? After all the drugs, booze, concussions and disease?
How’s that even possible?
* * * * *
I was, of course, alone on Thanksgiving, as I usually am on holidays. This is fine, as all I really miss is the turkey and fixings, and a friend dropped off a plate of those for me.
But it is a family holiday and I wouldn’t have minded a call from one of my brothers. It’s not like they’ve done it often in the past (and even then, I suspect, only at the goading of their wives) or that they communicate with each other much either.
Anymore than they’ve ever visited me. It irked me some when I was younger (given my own attempts to reach out to them), but I’m pretty much resigned to it now. Am reminded, in fact, of that passage in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, when a toady named Toohey asks Howard Roark what he thinks of him.
“I don’t,” Roark replies.
We could have used a sister, I think: without a feminine influence (my mother watched as much sports as we did) my parents raised the Lone Rangers. Sure we’re blood, and we love our siblings, but needing the other guys for anything? Even as kids?
Not so much.
* * * * *
The last Thanksgiving dinner I attended (with a family I didn’t know very well), we were each asked what we were thankful for. It was the usual litany (mate, kids, health, friends, etc.), at least ’til it got to me:
“I’m grateful I don’t like heroin,” I said.
When they realized I wasn’t kidding I wasn’t invited back. I used to attribute it to my fear of needles but hell! if psychedelics required injection I’d have learned. It was more about being a pedal to the metal guy, wanting to enhance existence, not escape it.
The last time I used junk (i.e. smoked it like opium) was just before I left Portland eight years ago. A guy who’d been my customer for a quarter century came by for his final ounce and, to celebrate our long association, heated up heroin on tinfoil.
We inhaled the fumes around two in the afternoon: the next thing I remember is glancing at the clock next to me, seeing it was nine p.m. I’d been slouched in the same spot for seven hours, staring at the flickering TV without really seeing it.
Fortunately my buddy had switched to the Hallmark Christmas Channel before leaving, so I hadn’t missed anything.
* * * * *
Speaking of opiates: ever do GHB? I was sitting in my living room twenty years ago when I heard a knock at the door. I hadn’t been expecting anyone, and it was a grow house, so I peeked out the curtain first.
I was delighted to see my fuck buddy Lucy on the porch: she’d never dropped by unannounced before, and it had been a year since I’d seen her at all. (More her doing than mine, as she was bisexual and preferred women to men.)
But she made the occasional exception for me and I was hoping this was one of them. Swung open the door, greeted her warmly, noticed she had a Bell jar full of liquid in her hand.
“Is that water, Lucy?” I asked.
“Oh no,” she said, “it’s GHB. Ever heard of it?”
“Isn’t that a date rape drug, like roofies?”
“Well, you can use it that way, of course, but if you mix it in water and drink it you’ll have the best sex of your life. You can’t believe how it magnifies your senses.”
“And you brought it here to …”
“Drink it with you, High, then fuck your brains out!”
“All right!” I said, pulling my sweatshirt over my head. “Pour me a tall one. No ice.”
“Oh no, no,” she said, retreating to the kitchen. “It’s a dangerous anesthetic: take too much and you’ll pass out, even die.”
I’d heard that one before. Had been trying to get Lucy to combine drugs and carnality for years (with little success) and here she was, offering the goods herself? This was genie in a lamp stuff, too good to be true!
“It’s a dangerous anesthetic: take too much and you’ll pass out, even die.” … I’d heard that one before.
She returned to the living room with two cups of water, set them on the coffee table and poured GHB into each. Handed me one, lifted the other in a toast.
“To orgasms, Wilson!” she chirped, knocking hers back.
I did the same and, after spreading a sheet over the couch, we stripped and sat on opposite ends of it.
“So you can check me out while coming on,” sighed Lucy, spreading her long legs.
I looked down at my own lap, watched my cock stiffen as a warm, ecstatic sensation flooded through my body.
“Damn!” I gasped, closing my eyes to bask in the rush. “This shit’s great, Lucy! Where’d you get it?”
I waited, and when she didn’t respond I looked over, saw that—not only had she passed out—but a small sliver of drool was running down her chin.
I grabbed her foot, gave it a shake. “Lucy!” I said. “Hey, Lucy! Wake up, pal!”
Nothing, she was dead to the world; even began a gentle snoring.
What kind of rat fuck is this!? I thought. I was overwhelmed by the urge to fondle her luscious body, anyway; told myself I’d only be trying to rouse her.
Except that would be date rape and, though I’m nobody’s Boy Scout, there’s no predator in my tool kit. Which left jerking off, except … what if she did wake up, and still wanted sex once I was spent?
It was a dilemma, all right, so I reached for my usual solution (a joint). By the time I’d finished it everything but my throbbing cock felt blurred and fuzzy, like I was floating atop the room.
Then I heard a gasp and Lucy sat bolt upright. Looked around in shock.
“Oh, my God!” she blurted. “How long have I been out?”
“I don’t know,” I slurred, reaching clumsily for her. “Twenty minutes maybe?”
She pushed my hand away and stood up. “This has never happened before!” she gasped. “I was knocked out immediately … I could have died!”
Then she noticed my stiff cock, covered herself with her hands.
“My God! You didn’t molest me while I was out, did you, High!?”
“Oh, come on, Lucy,” I said, grabbing myself. “Does it look like it? I’m primed for action here … I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
But the mood was shattered. She dressed quickly, scooped up the GHB jar and headed for the door.
“Hey, wait a minute!” I protested. “You can’t leave me like this! How about some takeout?”