Verboten List [1975]

You’ve got to know your dealer

                   Foreword:  My last acid trip was in Philadelphia at age 25.  Not that it was a “bummer,” I’d just had enough.  Tripping is such an intense thing you never really know for sure you’ll come back down.  LSD can be okay so long as you don’t panic.  Do I want my kids doing acid?  No, especially because there’s a difference between “street acid” and “real LSD.”  You’ve got to know your dealer.  Getting the wrong stuff can kill you.  Only drop if you’re with good friends, really good friends.  A half hit is plenty.

                    Although the Broad Street Scene high on LSD makes some of these points, the real reason I’m telling the story is because my second-all-time-favorite author (next to Richard Brautigan and his one page stories) is Hunter Thompson with his “gonzo journalism” style of writing, and I want to try my hand at imitating them in combination.   

In this book of stories about my life I haven’t yet told how I got from being a Streetworker at Voyage House to being a Law Clerk for Legal Services Corporation.  In 1974 as a Streetworker (and attending law school at night) I wrote a successful grant proposal to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to expand street work, from just working with runaways getting off the greyhound bus, to corner youth in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods who still went home at night but were into huffing glue more than going to school.

Jack & Nick, huffing glue is on the totally verboten list because, unlike “real acid,” huffing is permanently harmful to your health, no matter your luck — while good LSD is not harmful in and of itself, but rather only harmful if you so lose control of yourself that your actions while high put you in harm’s way.  The only people I know who ended up permanently deranged did way too much of it, sometimes dropping more than one hit at a time.

Two Harvard Profs:  Timothy Leary and Laurence Tribe

Two Harvard Profs: Timothy Leary and Laurence Tribe

Well, at any rate, me and the other Voyage House Streetworker, a guy named Lance who helped on the grant proposal, got into a disagreement with the new Director of Voyage House over how to spend the grant money.  Although I thought I could live with the compromise the new Director proposed, Lance said he was resigning and I resigned with him in a show of solidarity.   This led to my driving a taxicab for a living until I found the job with Legal Services.

Tomorrow:  The Broad Street Scene



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