There’s something that happens in the heart and soul of a young man when he begins to taste of criminal adrenaline. I learned to lie more effectively, and my drug habits increased. This made me hungry to delve into madness more deeply.
Every chance I got, I was smoking dope, or “bud” as we called it back then. I began to understand that there were different levels of marijuana quality, and the higher the quality, the more expensive it was. I sampled stronger weed. I smoked by dumpsters during rock concerts with people I didn’t know. I jammed with older high schoolers that smoked in their parents’ basements.
One time I was smoking a pipe with Maxwell Clancy, a well respected doper in the 12th grade who always had high quality stuff, in the school bathroom during lunch. The hall monitor of the school who we had named “Hall Hitler” walked in. I was deeply freaked out and sure I was busted. I put the pipe in my pocket, spurred on by Maxwell to hold onto it, and not realizing that I could potentially take the heat for him. Hall Hitler came in, declaring loudly, “Alright everybody! Get outta here! Stop smoking and doin’ whatcher doin’!” As we walked out of the bathroom, with our high coming on, Maxwell walked up to me, likely afraid that I’d steal his pipe. He asked me to hand it over to him. I cupped it in my hand and handed it over. Hall Hitler came up to us and barked, “Hey! What was that you handed over!” Maxwell babbled something in court jester fashion, running off like a carnie circus man. Hall Hitler confronted me, and I told him all I had was a lighter. I pulled it out of my pocket. He let me slide with a warning and an after-school detention.
Somehow, experiences like this just furthered the hunger for mayhem within me. Duane and I had heard of some older friends who planned on going to a “Rave”- an all night illegal party in the city of Cleveland, Ohio that would surely have lots of drugs, girls, pumping techno music and colored lights. The thing was, I’d have to sneak out of my house in the middle of the night on a Friday night, and they’d come and pick me up. Everything was set for me. I had an eighth of an ounce of greens in my pocket, and they were heading over to get me about a block away from my house to avoid suspicion. They were coming to get me at 1:30am, and would get me back by 6am, just in time to sneak into bed before my parents woke up.
I snuck out of the house carefully and slowly, making sure that our English Springer Spaniel “Nick” wouldn’t wake up. I crept out of the back porch door of our little ranch house. I walked through our backyard into a neighbors back yard, and before long was out on the street in the middle of the cool March evening. The stars were out, and it was a little bit chilly. I lit up a Camel Light cigarette and waited. Looking at my watch I realized it was 1:32am. No sign of them yet. I waited some more and finished the cigarette. My watch said 1:41am. Where were they? I decided that it was all a bad idea. What if I got caught? What if they never came and I got caught for nothing? I began to head back to my house. I felt the horror run through my veins as I saw the dining room light on from a distance.
Panic ensued. Should I ditch my large bag of weed in a tree? Should I throw out my cigarettes and lighter? I was freaking out. I just decided to admit that I was outside smoking a cigarette, and left the dope in my pocket. My parents would be mad, but at least it would explain the smell, and I would maybe get grounded for a weekend. No big deal, no big deal at all…
I creaked open the door and came inside. My parents gazed at me in horror. “What are you doing, Ben? It’s almost 2am!” My Mom vehemently asked me. “Ummm… nothin’ Mom, I was out smoking a cigarette. I’m really sorry. I only had one of them, I won’t do it again.” I replied squeamishly. Then the axe came down. Just like in 7th Grade once before my Mom asked me, “Empty your pockets, and let’s get rid of these cigarettes.” I fumbled for a lie. “I don’t have em’ Mom! I only had one that I got from a friend!” Really, I had a pack of Camel Lights that was almost full. “GIVE THEM TO ME!” My Mom barked back. I carefully pulled the pack out of my pocket, trying desperately not to pull the bag of green buds out with it. Then she yelled the words I didn’t want to hear. “PULL OUT EVERYTHING, BENJAMIN! I WANT TO SEE THE BOTTOM OF THOSE POCKETS!” I pulled out the weed.
Jesus was talking about religious, charlatan fakers when He said; “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:2) He was addressing living a duplicitous religious life. But the phrase applies to every scenario. People eventually get caught… no matter how well they think they can hide it… Even those that try to hide their misgivings their whole life will be found out after their death.
My parents were shocked. Somehow my Dad just could’t believe that I would ever do any of this stuff. My Mom had been suspicious all along, because she was a little less idealistic than my Father. I was to be grounded for one full month. No sneaking out, no hanging out with friends. I was only allowed to play music with my friends under supervision. Also, they made me cut my hair short. My curly-haired girlfriend at the time, “Adah”, broke up with me shortly after, since I couldn’t ever come out to hang out with her, and I think she really dug my hair.