Posted to the newsgroup, October, 2003

I saw a T.V commercial today that brought back a memory from about 1968 or so. A friend and I were rather severely impaired-- I believe it had to do with something usually found only in Nepalese temples-- and it was all we could do to hold onto the rug while we lay on the floor of my living room, trying to watch T.V. and not let on to my mom that we weren't feeling even remotely like Earth Boys.

Why this should have been so, I don't recall. Seems it would've been more circumspect to be elsewhere until we were semi-human again, instead of lying around my own living room attempting to convince my mom (who was a nurse and knew damn well what we were doing...) that everything was normal and hunky-dory with us. Pupils the size of dinner plates; eating everything in sight; laughing like kids from the Special Class...yeah-- we were fine.

Anyway, this peanut butter commercial came on--for JIF-- and the announcer had no sooner said their trademarked slogan "Choosy mothers choose JIF!" than my friend Tom replied to it by punching me in the arm and asking: "HEY, MAN! ARE YOU A CHOOSY MOTHER? I'LL JUST BET YOU ARE, YOU PICKY SONOFABITCH! NAHAHAHA! YAHAHAAAAA!! HOOOHOOOOHOOOOO!! HEEEHEEEHEEE!!! SNORT!!! " and so on and so forth...

There followed approximately 10 minutes of the two of us laughing insanely, hooting, choking, gibbering, yowling, wheezing, gasping for breath-- and then barely being able to make eye contact, desperately trying to regain some semblance of composure before gasping out "CHOOSY MOTHERS!"  and starting all over again. I practically wet myself. We had to literally crawl away from each other to stop the cycle. Later on, my mom made us some really tasty brownies...

As I recount this, it occurs to me that perhaps this doesn't exactly translate all that well to anyone who's never been dangerously sideways and tried to conceal it. Oh, well... Perhaps you had to be there...

Years later mom told me she knew whenever I and my "...little shithead friends..." were loaded, but figured that  A.) It was better to not confront me, demonize it and possibly make me sneak away elsewhere and maybe do myself real harm, and  B.) It was better to have us laughing like hyenas in my room and eating brownies than out driving around somewhere, having accidents or getting arrested.

Any other old 60's burnouts have similar memories?

(Julie wrote about an experience she shared with a substance-disabled girlfriend seeking food "...she wouldn't go downstairs to get it, because as she put it: 'The staircase was too narrow at the bottom for her to fit through.' She would get to the middle of the staircase, hesitate, then turn around and come back up the stairs...")

Wow, Julie; I remember you! Didn't we date in high school? Did you have a large, sunflower-shaped head and the ability to levitate above the cafeteria tables during "B" lunch period, while humming loudly and deeply enough to loosen my fillings-- but I was the only one who noticed? Did you keep a live, talking porpoise in your locker? Didn't we hold hands and fly over the football field one night? How've you been?

This was some sort of a widespread, secret, right-wing, home design trick in the 60's, I think. My friend Mike had one of those weird staircases in his house, too! It was often impossible for us to get down the stairs to the living room because they just... ended too soon. This usually prevented us from leaving his room until the sun came up and altered the play of light and shadows-- and thus the perspective we had on the steps from upstairs. Of course, then we couldn't leave the house because the sun was up, and people might see us walking along and....well, they'd just KNOW, somehow. Strange fixtures and architectural features abounded in most homes I visited, back then. I seem to recall a talking radiator at one place, and a closet that migrated around someone else's apartment, making it damn near impossible for me to find my pants and be prepared to get to work on time. This excuse didn't work all that well.

It also made it hard to call in: "I'm going to be late... again. The closet has my pants, and it seems to have moved someplace else. I'm afraid I can't find it where it was a little while before, and... hello...?"

My pal Jim had a mom who was very sweet, but completely clueless. One night, as we hovered a foot or two above the rug in his room, twitching and breathing shallowly, she burst in on us to see if we wanted some sandwiches. I was so freaked out by her vivid, flaming, orangey-red, Bozo-like hair that I moaned aloud and closed my eyes.

"What's the matter with you?" she asked.
"He's got a real bad case acid stomach, mom", said Jim, thinking quickly.

She left the room and reappeared with what seemed to be a giant bottle of Pepto-Bismol in hand. It was at least 2 feet tall. She thrust it at me, saying "HERE, SWEETIE! TRY SOME PEPTO BIZ-MO", pronouncing it just that way. I had no idea what the hell she meant, as I wasn't processing speech very well. All I could see was something large and extremely *P*I*N*K* approaching, blotting out all peripheral vision (and in horrifyingly slow motion...) and it unnerved me so badly I almost lost sphincter control. I made a sound kind of like "NGGAAAACCCHHHH!" and ran away, seeking refuge in the bathroom.

Jim dashed in after me, and to cover the fact that I was completely out of my mind, he made loud, retching noises, alternating with "Oh, there you go; get it out" and "You'll feel better soon" while trying not to giggle, himself. A brilliant impersonation of one person puking and another person comforting him. I cringed and huddled in the bathtub, watching this tour-de-force performance, amazed at his ability to think on his feet--in the shape we were in that night. Thus persuaded, his solicitous but highly colorful and frightening mom finally left us alone. It was a close call, though. That sudden, orange hair and that hovering, threatening, ghastly, pink PEPTO-BIZMO live uncomfortably on in my memory.

Or was that two other guys?

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