Tag Archives: Drugs

A Return Engagement

I quite accidentally came across an old Facebook post, which I’m pasting in below, that I wrote and shared a little over six years ago. I’m a little ashamed (embarrassed might be a better word) that I announced my intention, only to not complete what I said I had started. I truly had started but, shortly after doing so I was approached by a former colleague at Rocketdyne and was offered a job.

Here Comes the Bar Mitzvah Boy

Since my primary goal at the time was to bring in enough supplemental income to allow us to maintain our modest, yet comfortable, lifestyle, I dove into the job head first. I had also gotten an editing gig shortly after the post, which took a great deal of my time and overlapped with my return to Rocketdyne. For a couple of weeks I was working up to 13 or 14 hours per day.

So, here I am six years later and I have begun serious work on what I used to think were my memoirs. This past Wednesday I woke up thinking I needed to better understand the difference between a memoir and an autobiography. After a moment’s worth of research I realized I was not working on my memoirs; rather, I was working on my autobiography.

A Favorite Award

I have, therefore, decided I am now working on three projects. The most ambitious is my autobiography. Ancillary to that effort are two subsets of my life, which I will write and publish as memoirs: one surrounding my experiences of more than 50 years of drug use and what I learned about myself and others; the other about my experiences with the Peace & Justice movement during the late sixties and early seventies and how it’s affected my politics and my philosophy of life.

I had done a fair amount of work on an outline, which currently consists of 158 entries (many of which are partially written, some recently and others copied from blog posts that are relevant to the subjects I cover. Many of the blog posts need to be somewhat re-tooled to fit the format of either a memoir or an autobiography, and much needs to be added, but I’m currently at almost 16,000 words. My Peace & Justice movement project is currently at nearly 3,800 words, and my drug use project currently consists primarily of a reasonably thorough outline.

Some Political Collectibles

Previously, I was deeply concerned about our household income. I am not as concerned now and a couple of things are driving me to complete these projects reasonably soon. The first is my age and the age of others who were substantial parts of my life. As far as my political activities back in the day go, at least three of the people I am writing about are no longer with us, with two of them passing in the last few years. I was hoping to interview them. That’s no longer possible. Fortunately, they’ve all left a legacy and there’s plenty of material for me to glean from and help me remember the activities I shared with them, as well as others who we worked with who are still available.

The second reason isn’t directly related to my age, but is nevertheless a result of it. As I’ve written about previously, I have what are called “essential” or “familial” tremors. There are three areas in which these tremors affect those who suffer from them: the neck muscles (my mother was a “bobblehead”); the vocal cords (think Bette Davis); and the hands. My experience is mostly with my hands, though on occasion I can swear I feel it coming on in my neck muscles as well.

You Can Call Me Reverend Ricky

I want to finish these projects before I can’t type at all. There were times, during my two-year return to Rocketdyne, when my left hand was shaking so badly I couldn’t log on to my computer. I had to enter my user name and password with one finger on one hand. There are times when my left hand shakes so much I can’t possibly type like I’m used to.

I’ve already contacted a half dozen people, including former roommates, a former girlfriend, and my first wife. They have all not only expressed a willingness to be part of this, they have already provided me with recollections I had forgotten, all of which will surely improve the quality of the stories I plan on writing.

My Brother’s Wedding With Me Officiating

So I’ve set a goal for myself. Currently, it’s 500 words per day but I’m going to probably up that to 1,000 words per day. It’s not really all that difficult once I get going, especially since my outline now is quite thorough and all I need do is tell my stories. Another goal is to, as I mentioned in my post of six years ago, stand up a Kickstarter campaign to see if I can raise any money. I don’t need a lot and I think I have a fairly interesting story (actually stories) to tell.

For the first time in my life, this IS my job. If nothing else, I will leave a legacy for my two daughters, to whom these works will be dedicated.



I am on the verge of taking on what I believe to be an important project. I’ve been thinking about it for well over a year and I have discussed it with several old friends who were part of the experiences the project will speak to.

I plan on writing a book. It will be a combination of my memoirs, as well as a history, of a part of the peace & justice movement, specifically in Southern California, from about 1968 until 1973. At the time I was part of a group of amateur, yet reasonably well-trained, people who provided much of the security for rallies, demonstrations, and numerous cultural events. We provided building and personal security, including occasional armed bodyguard work, for people like Jane Fonda, Daniel Ellsworth, Tony Russo, a group of Vietnamese students studying in the U.S., Roger McAfee and family (they put their ranch up for Angela Davis’s bail after Jonathan Jackson’s disastrous attempt to break his brother, George, out of the Marin County Courthouse), Mrs. Salvador Allende, and cultural groups such as Quilapayun, Arco Iris, and Holly Near – to name a few.

The book I propose to write would be a combination of my memoirs and those of many others (some of whom I have recently contacted and who expressed great interest in seeing this happen) who I worked with. I was a member of groups such as The Peace Action Council with Irv Sarnoff, The Indochina Peace Campaign with Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, and Bruce Gilbert, Vietnam Veterans Against the War with Ron Kovic, as well as individuals such as Dorothy Healey, Frank Wilkinson, and others – many of whom I will need to do some research on to refresh my memory.

Part of this piece will be aimed at setting the record straight. Part of it will be pointing out the many sacrifices lots of people made in speaking and acting out during that time. We thank members of the military for their “service”, regardless of what they did and what their motives truly were, yet the people who risked so much during those difficult times were – and frequently still are – vilified as traitors and un-American. I’d like to help set the record straight.

Those of my friends who have any experience or thoughts about those times and the activities I will be addressing are welcome – actually, encouraged – to share them with me. While I am willing to read, even address, contrary opinion, anyone who attempts to engage me in frivolous argumentation will be asked to stop and, if that doesn’t work, will be unfriended. I am interested in useful, thoughtful opinion even if it doesn’t agree with how I see or remember those days, but only if it helps me understand my perspective more completely. I have a well-established POV after all these years and I’m not interested in useless argumentation over its validity.

This also means I will be incrementally backing off of Facebook; posting far less and paying less attention to others, even with the all-important mid-term elections looming. I want to get this done while I’m still able to and I will have a lot of reading, interviewing, and writing to do. I’m also thinking of using Kickstarter to raise some money so I don’t have to worry about further depleting what savings we’ve managed to accumulate prior to my somewhat forced retirement. I’m thinking, if a guy who’s merely making potato salad can raise $70,000, I might be able to find enough interest to get $15 – $20,000. I’m anticipating the need to travel for some interviews. Many of the people involved at that time likely won’t be available via online technology.

I will probably share this more than a few times in the next couple of days or so. Knowing there’s only a small percentage of my friends who will see this at any given time, I think it will be useful to share it at different times. Please forgive me if I annoy you. Feedback is, of course, more than welcome. I’ll also be sharing my progress as I go along.


Dandruff of The Gods

Indoor Aspen Lift Line

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I spent a few years in the business of helping others, shall we say, adjust their perspective. In the late seventies and early eighties I lived in Playa del Rey, California, a small town with an inordinate number of bars squeezed into a couple of blocks less than a quarter mile from the beach.

I frequented one of them more than the others, as it was almost literally across the street from my front door and, in the business I was in, I only needed to be able to get home quickly once in a while. The bar is still there and, if you watch TV, you may have seen it in a few shows. It’s called “The Prince O’ Whales.” I practically owned a stool there and had asked them to carry The Glenlivet when I first started frequenting the place. They were kind enough to oblige me and I have no idea how many cases I personally went through in the few years I spent much of time there.

However, this post has precious little to do with where I lived, how I survived, and how much Scotch I drank in my thirties. It’s actually about an article that was printed in the November 12, 1981 edition of Rolling Stone. It was written by P.J. O’Rourke. If you were an adult around that time, and you’ve not encountered this before, you may really enjoy it; it’s quite funny . . . and mostly (reasonably close to) the truth.

I have searched high and low for a reprint or a .pdf or URL where I could find the article in its entirety, but it doesn’t seem to exist online. Fortunately, I had made a copy of the pages and recently I took the time to re-type the entire article. I thought it was excerpted from his book “Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People,” but it appears the first edition of that book was in the late eighties. Regardless, I have always found O’Rourke’s sense of humor—at least on this subject—pretty damn entertaining. Enjoy!


MODERN MANNERS

Beyond cocktail coquetry.

Cocaine and etiquette are inseparable; they go together like cocaine and, well, more cocaine. But why should courtesy be so important when “Sinus highballs” are passed around? Why shouldn’t we behave the way we behave with other drugs—burrow stupidly in the refrigerator as though we’d smoked marijuana or run naked through the streets killing policemen as though we’d taken PCP? There’s no firm answer: In fact, cocaine would make killing a policeman easier, since he’d be much less likely to turn into a 9-eyed moon demon while we’re trying to wrest the gun from his holster. Yet such behavior could not be less appropriate to the ingestion of “Alkaloid Chitchat Flakes.

Cocaine demands gentility from its partakers, perhaps because it’s such a sociable drug. MDA is a sociable drug, but it makes people so sociable they’ll screw a coffee-table leg. That’s not good manners if the table has an expensive lacquered finish. Or it may be the price of “Talk Talcum” that inclines us to courtliness, though heroin, too, is costly, and repeated use of that turns people into Negroes (Reagan administration statistics clearly show.) Most likely it’s the special magic cocaine performs upon us all that ignites our civility and refinement. Cocaine makes us so intelligent, so quick, witty, charming, alert, well-dressed, good-looking and sexually attractive that it would be unthinkable to be rude under its influence. True, there are exceptions. Cocaine doesn’t always do that to you. But it always does it to me. And that’s plenty of reason for people to behave.

THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED FOR SELF-SACRIFICE . . . AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IMPORTANT PEOPLE

The most important thing to understand about cocaine is, no matter how wonderful it makes us feel or how interesting it makes us act, it is bad for our bodies. This is the basis for all etiquette surrounding cocaine use. And this is why it’s never bad manners to go off alone and fire some “Nose Nikes” and not share them. To risk your own health while protecting the well-being of others is the only honorable thing to do. For the same reason, when offered someone else’s cocaine, you should Electro-Lux as much as possible for their sake. If there isn’t any left to take, they will be less inclined to destroy their mucous membranes, become psychotic, suffer heart palpitations or die from an overdose.

However, for reasons unknown to medical science, there are people cocaine does not harm. Important people who might be able to help someone’s career are never injured by cocaine, no matter how much they’re given. Neither are famous writers or actors or other personalities with whom many people would like to be friends. Also unaffected are extraordinarily good-looking, sexy people. In other words, the type of person reading this article seems to be immune to cocaine’s deadly consequences.

The detrimental effect of a “Cerebellum Blizzard” on others, though, cannot be overstated. There was a washed-up musician who hung around a well-known New York nightspot mooching drugs. He turned into a dangerous psychopath and tried to bore several people to death. My own younger brother took too much of my cocaine, and the result was a painful bloody nose. Another unfortunate case involved a vendor of the item itself. He had, no doubt, sampled too much of his own wares and began to threaten people with violence just because they owned him small sums of money . . . well, relatively small. A mysterious informant—who, honest, felt really bad about it—was compelled to turn him in to the police. (Jail is a famously discourteous place.)

THIRTEEN COMMON PROBLEMS OF ETIQUETTE EXAMINED

1 – How to Serve

Nothing is more awkward than taking out a vial of “Granulated Money” in a bar or restaurant and having everyone you know expect to get some. If you try to pass the “Powdered Trapeze Act” to some people and not to others, you may get hit over the head with a bottle. And that’s bad manners. Instead, excuse yourself inconspicuously, saying something like, “Well, I sure have to go to the bathroom, and so do Robert and Susan and Alice, but Jim and Fred and Bob don’t have to go.”

Parties present the same problem. In the past, such secluded spots as coat closets and dark corners of the butler’s pantry were used for spontaneous lovemaking. Nowadays, these nooks and crannies are crowded with people taking drugs. But there is still charm in an old-fashioned excuse. If you would like to give a “Peruvian Speed Bump” to Eileen, an attractive woman who’s a power in the entertainment industry, but not to her unemployed boyfriend, Mark, you can always say: “Excuse me, Mark, I thought Eileen might like to blow me in the laundry room.”

2 – When to Serve

One of the delights of an “Adenoid Snack” is that it’s appropriate at any time of night or day, often for several days and nights in a row, though perhaps everyone’s favorite moment to take cocaine is right after a great deal of it has been taken already.

An increasingly popular time to make your snout play “Selsun Blue” with the “Dandruff of the Gods” is before an elaborate dinner. This brightens table talk, lets guests enjoy staring at the food and arranging little lumps of it in patterns on their plates, and gives the hostess many valuable leftovers. (An oyster souffle, for instance, can be reheated and fed to the pets.)

Another favorite moment for an “Inca Pep Rally” is the second the dealer arrives with the gram. However, some people find it difficult to figure out when that will be. This is because cocaine dealers operate on Dope Dealer Savings Time, which is similar to Daylight Savings Time. Just as Daylight Savings Time is one hour later than Standard Time, Dope Dealer Savings Time is one hour later than you could possibly imagine anyone being.

3 – What Implements Should Be Used?

There are any number of devices on the market for taking cocaine. Some are amusing or even useful in carefully measuring portions to make sure everyone gets too much. But most sophisticated drug users still prefer the rolled-up $100 bill. Better yet is a $100 bill folded over and placed inside a wallet. If you have a great, great many of these, people will find a way to get cocaine up your nose.

4 – What Else Should Be Served?4 –

Most people enjoy a couple of thousand cigarettes with their “Face Drano.” Other mix “Indoor Aspen Lift Lines” with multiple sedatives to achieve that marvelous feeling so similar to not having taken drugs at all. But everyone, whether he wants to or not, should drink plenty of whiskey or gin. If you smell strongly of alcohol, people may think you are dunk instead of stupid. (Whatever you serve, overflowing ashtrays, wads of bloody Kleenex and empty Valium bottles can be arranged to make an attractive centerpiece.)

5 – Who Pays?

There’s considerable debate about this. Some say the guest should pay for cocaine as a way of saying thank you to the host. Others say the host should pay for cocaine as part of the entertainment. Most people, however, believe society should pay for cocaine by having to watch maniacally self-indulgent movies, fragmented TV sitcom plots and fractured and pathetic live performances by brain-broiled comedians and pop musicians wound up tighter than a Hong Kong wristwatch.

6 – Topics of Conversation

. . . one of the things you’re really getting into is cable TV which is going to be like the rock & roll of the Eighties because everybody’s going to be hard-wired into 240 channels and there’s this huge market for software already which is why you’ve got this programming development deal together that right right now is a class at the New School but is almost sold to Home Box and is going to be an hour a day that’s part news but like part entertainment too like this New Wave group that you’ve already done three minutes on with mini-cam on quarter-inch but you might turn that into a documentary plus maybe a docudrama for PBS because it’s this sound that’s sort of Western Swing but punk but ska which is all in the interview you got with the bass player that you’re going to publish in this magazine you’re starting which will be all the complete cable listings for all of New Jersey with public access stuff that isn’t listed anywhere plus like interviews too and . . .

Just because your mouth is moving much faster than your brain is no reason not to carry on an engaging conversation.

7 – Romance

If you have taken too much cocaine and are unable to become aroused, try talking into your partner’s genitals. This gives a fair imitation of oral sex. However, if you have taken even more cocaine, try not to rape anyone you know.

8 – An Important Question

If a man gives cocaine to a woman, is she then obligated to go to bed with him?

Yes.

9 – Another Important Question

If a woman gives cocaine to a man, is he then obligated to go to bed with her?

Jeeze, I didn’t realize it was this late! I’ve gotta run—gotta get up and go to work in the morning. Plus I feel like I’m coming down with something. Mind if I do another line before I go?

10 – How is a Dealer Introduced?

It can be a problem knowing how to introduce your dealer. Is he a friend? Is he an employee? Or is he a dead pumpkin if he sells you another load of Dexamyl cut with Portland cement? In fact, there’s no proper way to introduce your dealer socially, because no one ever deals cocaine. They just have a little extra. You see, a very special friend of theirs—who was in Peru on different business entirely—brought back, as a personal favor, some incredible rocks, which are also pure flake and happen to be crystals, too (unless this gram-ette of alleged narcotics is so hopelessly filled with muck that it’s indistinguishable from Nepalese temple hash—in which case it will be given an exotic name like “Mudlark of the Andes” and a spurious history having to do with Spanish conquistadors and Indian headhunters). So no one ever deals cocaine, but they’ll give you this little extra they’ve got, for you know, what they paid for it, which is unfortunately $150 a gram, but really, man, this is special stuff, like the Indians used to get by rubbing a coca bush between two Spanish conquistadors’ heads.

11 – Is It Polite to Refuse?

It’s probably not bad manners to refuse cocaine. It might even be very gallant to turn down a spoonful of “Platinum Maxwell House,” but it’s hard to be sure, because, so far, it’s never been done.

12 – What to Wear

Many people believe it doesn’t matter what they wear while taking a dose of “Brain Tabasco.” Some people even take it in the nude (not counting a gold Rolex). But, as in every other social situation, clothes do matter. Richard Pryor is an example of inappropriate cocaine dress. If he had been wearing a nice, conservative Brooks Brothers suit and an oxford-cloth shirt, he would have escaped most injuries. Unfortunately—as is so often the case in today’s increasingly informal world—Mr. Pryor was wearing a polyester sport shirt decorated with Jamaican bongo drummers and dyed in colors visible only to bees. This went up like a torch. Wool, long-staple cotton and other natural fibers have superior flame-retardant qualities.

13 – What is the Polite Way to Refer to Cocaine?

Never call it “tootski.”


%d bloggers like this: