Communing with the inanimate and misinformed
By Chris Barry
It’s funny, it dawned on me recently that I haven’t been taking psychedelic drugs anywhere nearly as often as I used to. And I’m not sure why. I’ve always loved psychedelics, and regardless of what it suggests about the fullness of my existence, many of my very happiest moments on this God-forsaken planet have been whilst flyin’ on ‘shrooms or acid. I mean, giant scary purple spiders and the occasional melting face aside, the good times and laughter to be had from a $7 blotter of ‘cid just can’t be beat. Seriously, outside of the last time you sat through a weekend marathon of Check It Out re-runs, have you ever laughed as hard as you do on acid under any other circumstances? I know I haven’t, which makes my recent abstinence from the psychedelic experience all the more bizarre. A cause for concern actually. Like, what the hell has happened to my priorities that I’ve allowed such an important and life-affirming activity to take a diminished role in my world? It can’t only be that I have to drive a car every once in awhile, can it?
Having lots of free time on my hands, my brain decided it was well time I stopped worrying about this thoroughly unacceptable situation and reconnect with my inner core again—the psychedelic me who laughs and laughs and occasionally even walks away with an enlightened perspective on the human condition. The end result being this past weekend I sat down and ate a good-sized handful of mushrooms. Sure enough, I was back in psychedelic mode. Within the half-hour, I was reconnecting with my inner being like a motherfucker. At which point I began to remember something I’d pretty well forgotten since the last time I’d taken psychedelics almost a full year ago: my inner core is something of an idiot. A tough revelation to grapple with, for sure, but perhaps as the years advance I’ve finally acquired the wisdom affording me the clarity to recognize that my inner voice is not to be trusted, that it is, indeed, as often as not, the voice of a ‘tard.
Within the half-hour, I was reconnecting with my inner being like a motherfucker. At which point I began to remember something I’d pretty well forgotten since the last time I’d taken psychedelics almost a full year ago: my inner core is something of an idiot.
Perhaps there’s no better evidence of the psychedelic me’s idiot leanings than the bizarre relationships I’ve formed with countless inanimate objects over the years I’ve spent high on psychedelics. Sure, I’ve had plenty of those drug-fuelled moments of creativity, or life-altering personal observations immediately forgotten upon coming down, but what does tend to stick with me long after my “trips” are over is the closeness and/or animosity I can retain with respect to… uh, for example, the 2x4 piece of plywood currently rotting on my porch, the one I only began conversing with the last time I took peyote. As it turned out, this particular piece of wood offered me quite a bit of eye-opening information about the world and my relationship to it, and to throw it out back now, after we got to know each other so well, like, I just can’t seem to do it. It’d be like sneaking out in the morning after an especially satisfying one-night stand without waking your lover up to say good-bye, or at least leaving a note by the bed with your phone number expressing thanks for the good times. Like, to pretend that piece of wood and I never had anything going now would be disrespectful, patently un-cool. Yet, um, it’s a piece of wood—and it’s rotting.
Nevertheless, the two of us got pretty close that winter-y Sunday afternoon. You see, this particular peyote trip was one of those relatively rare—for me, at least—psychedelic experiences where you come away feeling like you’ve learned something, like you’ve connected with something greater than yourself while flying around in that wonderful maze of sound and colour. Now, sure, it’s true, I can’t actually recall the exact details of what I learned anymore, but I do remember it seemed awfully profound at the time, and that it came to me via said piece of wood. You see, Woody (Hey, I already told you the psychedelic me is a buffoon. What? You expect me to come up with clever names for wood when I’m high?) understood (understands?) the mysteries of my universe and was able to relate this info to me telepathically—I guess. All I know is as I was putting my boots on to go out into the world that day, it caught my attention that the Woodmeister was glowing, something I’d never noticed him doing before, and when I would inquire as to whether he was trying to tell me something, his glow would flicker, like he was giving me a knowing wink. Awesome, I thought, I’d walk around the city today with my goddamned spirit guide in hand. How cool is that? Woody can make all the decisions, fill me in on what the people I come in contact with are really thinking, and who I can and cannot trust. A pretty sweet arrangement, we both agreed. So out into the world we ventured, a wild-eyed, totally fried me, with this big all-knowing 2x4 gripped tightly in hand. First stop, the mall. Hey, why not?
Awesome, I thought, I’d walk around the city today with my goddamned spirit guide in hand. How cool is that? Woody can make all the decisions, fill me in on what the people I come in contact with are really thinking, and who I can and cannot trust. A pretty sweet arrangement, we both agreed. So out into the world we ventured, a wild-eyed, totally fried me, with this big all-knowing 2x4 gripped tightly in hand.
“So, um, Woody,” I asked while closing in on our destination. “I was just wondering, um, am I due to die anytime soon? And, like, is this something I should be looking forward to?” “Wink, wink,” the Woodster replied in his unique fashion. “Wink, wink!? Wink, wink, what?” I replied. “Are you telling me I’m getting ready to die?” “Wink, wink,” came the answer again, but this time with a little more intensity, something I could safely interpret as being in the affirmative. “Yes, well, all-righty-then,” I thought, not especially concerned about my impending demise because the Woodmeister had just suggested it was going to be a lot of fun, but increasingly curious nonetheless. “So, um, how and when can I expect this to happen?” I inquired as we stepped into the mall. But this the Woodster didn’t seem to want to answer.
Now at the time I figured my spirit guide was just being a little aloof, fucking with me a bit, you know, the way spirit guides are want to do. I knew if I kept on him he’d eventually lay out the details of my final exit. Except I never got the chance. You see, curiously enough, an arguably deranged man walking through the underground malls of Montreal with a 2x4 in his hand has a way of attracting the attention of security, and Woody and I were confronted almost immediately upon passing through the revolving doors.
“No, no, he’s cool,” I told the first two security dicks that approached me. “He’s not looking to attack anybody, and me neither. We just want to look around a bit, maybe grab a sandwich or something in the food court. Yeah, it’s cool.”
You see, curiously enough, an arguably deranged man walking through the underground malls of Montreal with a 2x4 in his hand has a way of attracting the attention of security, and Woody and I were confronted almost immediately upon passing through the revolving doors.
But it wasn’t. And no amount of demented ranting about the relationship Woody and I were developing was going to change anyone’s mind. After what I vaguely recall as a relatively detailed exchange, in which I no doubt informed them I considered it sacrilege to abandon my piece of rotting wood/spirit guide outside, more anxious security people were summoned and Woody and I were promptly escorted out of the building. Personally, I didn’t really consider this much of a big deal. Hey, we could always just continue our walk outside. Except Woody must have been severely traumatized by the whole ordeal because after that he didn’t say a word. He was like a child who goes mute after witnessing their parents being murdered or something. But that was it. Woody stopped glowing altogether and started acting… well, like a piece of rotting wood. I stayed well high for many more hours, we continued our walk unabated, but even after we returned home, Woody was still too shaken to answer any more questions for me.
Which might have been just as well. After all, to the best of my knowledge I’m still walking the earth, and several other revelations Woody brought me that afternoon, the details of which I will spare you, have turned out to be similarly suspect. My inner core, as I’ve already told you, is not to be trusted. Nevertheless, Woody is still hanging out on my porch like he’s been doing for years. I can’t discard him now, like, maybe he’ll get over his trauma yet and explain why his last prediction appears so far to have been, uh, retarded. I try and prod him occasionally, like last weekend when my head was awash with ‘shrooms, but he remains dumb. And don’t think I don’t realize, friends, how ridiculous this is. But I keep Woody with me just in case he decides to someday come alive again and feed me more misinformation. After all, why not? Anyway, it doesn’t really matter if he ever does or not, because this past weekend I got to know my disposable cigarette lighter pretty well too. And even though it’s now out of butane, I have a feeling Bic intends on communicating with me again sometime soon. And if and when it does, maybe she will be able to give me some news about how Woody’s holding up in the world beyond. Then again, Bic will probably turn out to be as clued out as Woody. Still, one never knows.
Additional reporting by Woody and Bic
Illustration: Stu Helm
This article first appeared in Heads Vol.6 Issue 07 - May 2007
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