There used to be a commercial on TV sponsored by the anti drug people that showed a picture of an egg with the caption “this is your brain.” In the next frame, they had cracked the egg and it was happily frying in a hot pan with the caption, “this is your brain on drugs!”
I think that I’m a walking example of the latter caption: “this is your brain on drugs.” There are times when I worry that I’ve destroyed my brain but then, all I have to do is remember that I never really had one. When I worry that my memory is going and that I’m getting dementia and I start pestering Kevin, “how will we know if my brain is failing?” He tells me to relax and reminds me about our Vermont car trip. When Kevin and I first started dating, we went up to Vermont to visit his brother and sister-in-law. On the way home, I decided that I wanted to memorize the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Tight Connection to My Heart”. We listened to the song, repeatedly, the entire four hours. I managed to memorize 4 lines. Seriously, 4 lines in 4 hours! When I remember that story I realize that I’ve never had any short term memory and that I’m in the same shape I was 25 years ago. But I digress…
I have done my fair share of drugs in college and after and while I don’t want to glorify their use, I did have some funny stories come out of that time period. Today, I’m going to share one with you. I went to Hopkins pre-med, determined to be a doctor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one with this goal and since they graded on a curve and many of the other people were willing to study for their grades, I wasn’t exactly an “A” student. By my sophomore year, I had switched my major two times and I was getting fed up with Hopkins and I decided to transfer. But lo and behold, it seemed that my grades weren’t up to snuff for the top schools to consider me and I sure as hell wasn’t going to transfer to a crappy school, so in essence, I flunked into Hopkins.
As I entered my junior year I hadn’t made any living arrangements and so I ended up sharing an apartment with a random transfer student. This student, let’s call her Elaine, was a SERIOUS STUDENT. She was Philippino and had gotten a 1600 on her SAT’s and had just transferred in from Rennsellear Polytechnic Institute. She, of course, was pre-med and her goal was to get “A’s” in her classes, ALL “A’s!” We were polar opposites.
But we settled into a routine and although we didn’t have much in common, we became great friends. I would go into Elaines’ room, plop down on her bed and start talking. She would explain to me that she was studying organic and couldn’t talk. Undeterred, I would stay and continue talking. I finally decided that my goal for the year would be to completely corrupt her.
Unfortunately, that was easier said then done until one day it happened by accident. Here’s the set up. I think I’ve mentioned before that I was on the swim team at Johns Hopkins but I didn’t really swim much my junior year. The reason is that on one of the first days of practice, somebody slammed into me and broke my hand and I was in a cast for six weeks. Right after that, I got pneumonia so I basically took the season off. I did, however, still have my lifeguarding job. I lifeguarded up at the pool twice a week for 3 hours each.
One day I decided that I should bake pot brownies. I baked them, ate two of them, and went to my job as a lifeguard. (This is the point in the story that horrifies my kids. Yes, I have told my kids this story. I use my life as a cautionary tale of what NOT to do). Now that sounds worse than it actually is because my shift was from 4-7:00 and the swim team had practice from 4-6:00. The chances of any of my friends, who were all swimmers and lifeguards themselves, drowning was slim. So I went to work pretty stoned and mellow just watching swimming practice when I realized that it was 6:45 and I had the munchies. You just can’t ignore the munchies now can you?
Across from my apartment building was this little hole-in-the-wall store that sold some odds and ends and more importantly, ICE CREAM. Unfortunately, said store closed at 7:00 P.M. sharp. I desperately needed ice cream so I made a phone call to Elaine.
Me: “Elaine, I need you to do me a favor.”
Elaine: “What do you need?”
Me: “I need you to go across the street to the little shop and buy me a container of Vanilla Fudge Swirl ice cream”
Elaine: “Why do you need ice cream, we have brownies right here.”
Me: “Elaine, do not touch those brownies.”
Elaine: “Why? I already had two and they were fine.”
Me: (pause … silence …) “Elaine?”
Me: “Ummm…those were pot brownies.”
Me: “THOSE WERE POT BROWNIES.”
Elaine: “OH MY GOD!”
Me: “Just calm down.”
Elaine: (freaking out) “Oh my god, what do I do? Should I drink some coffee?”
Me: “No, that won’t help.”
Elaine: (freaking out even more) “Should I take a cold shower?”
Me: “No, that won’t help either.”
Elaine: (totally freaking out now) “OH MY GOD! What am I going to do?
I don’t do drugs. I can’t believe this.”
Me: “Elaine, you need to stay calm and listen to me carefully.”
Me: “Are you listening carefully?”
Me: “Ok, go across the street to the store and buy TWO CONTAINERS OF ICE CREAM!!”
It’s true! That was my sage advice! She was totally freaking but I knew the best thing to do was to double down on the ice cream. That was the first and last time that she did drugs but I will never forget either that story or that night. Yeah, I didn’t really manage to corrupt her and she’s a doctor today but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
I’m just saying…