Beck’s album “Mutations” came out in 1998, and though it was less popular than his previous album “O’Delay”, it was always my favorite of his. One of the lyrics of the song “We Live Again” stated;
Love is a plague in a mix-match parade
Where the castaways look so deranged
When will the children learn to let their wildernesses burn
And love will be new never cold and vacant
My new girlfriend, Jamie and I were in the height of “letting our wildernesses burn”. We were crazy, out of control kids. I was 17, and she was almost 16. We knew drug dealers that were dealing heavy, weird designer drugs in large quantities. They had ties to mafia people with loaded metal guns strapped to their ankles. They spent time in the ghettoes and crack-houses, encountering tweakers and midnight freaks. And like the Soul Coughing song went in the billboards of January of 1999; “For the right price I could get everything, slip into the car, go driving to the farthest star.” I was in a new arena of reckless relinquishment. I was willing to try anything, do anything, eat anything, snort anything, smoke anything, go anywhere, get behind the wheel of any vehicle in any random state of mind and let the wind carry me into chaos. Jaime’s malfeasance fueled my diablerie. We were crazy kids connected to the source of destruction, perversity our food and drink, and some degree of violence our drug of choice. (Prov. 4:17, MSG)
One night, I snuck out for an all nighter with Jamie and a random group of our friends. I took mushrooms earlier in the day, and drove down route 8 at 3 a.m., as the white lines in the road warped themselves like winding serpents. I ended up taking LSD also, with the continual mixture of marijuana, nicotine and caffiene going around all that day. I can’t piece together how it happened, but we all ended up partying at a stripper’s house in some high rise apartment in the middle of inner-city, Akron Ohio. I know at some time during the evening I actually passed out in the middle of my combination trip for a good amount of time. When I woke up, everyone was worried about me that I had gone into a coma. I told them that I had just visited a dream-like world that resembled Candy-Land. Everyone laughed at me, because I was so out of my mind. But inside, I felt so lost. What was I doing in this wild den of villainy?
One day, Jamie and I took LSD and ecstasy together, inducing what was called a “candy flip”. We were coming off of this intense, psychedelic euphoria at a drug dealer’s house in our hometown of Hudson, Ohio. They all broke out a weird, white powder called “Special K” or ketamine. They explained that when you snorted a lot of this stuff, it put you into a “K-Hole”, which was like an out of body experience where you were in a consistent lucid dream. Jaime and I snorted enough of it to get a buzz and not go into a K-Hole. We looked around at our supposed friends, Angelique and her drug dealer boyfriend, Markus, and watching them slip into a sub reality from this drug, where it seemed like they were staring into the realm of a dark, different world.
Another time, Markus the drug dealer sold us a pill called “Nexus” or “2-CB’s”, which was a designer hallucinogen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2C-B). We ended up driving all over Akron. Markus and his friend Darin stole random items from a coffee shop that we stumbled upon because they had a hunger for kleptomania. The drug took over Jaime and I’s minds and caused us to hallucinate and feel generally nauseous. We ended up at a rave in the ghetto of Akron sitting against the wall all night. The drug had made Jamie completely ill. We suffered through the evening as the bass from the house music that the DJ pumped out beat against our brains. At sunrise, we exited the building, with no police intruding on the experience. I talked to many people on the way out who were “tweakers”, addicted to meth-amphetamine. I don’t remember any of the conversations, just that they seemed to talk a mile a minute, even after being up all night with no sleep.
One night I had taken a small dose of mushrooms, and pushed my 1988 Buick LeSabre down the driveway in neutral, only to start it up and go to pick up a large group of young kids between the ages of 14 and 16. It was 1 a.m. in the morning, and we were heading to a party in Cleveland called “Get Freaky 3”. We stopped at a gas station to fuel up and grab some drinks for what would be a night full of rave-dancing and dehydration. A cop pulled into the station. My car full of kids went into panic. I told them all to stay cool. The cop walked up to the window of our car. “Hello, officer.” I politely told him, with the mushrooms swimming in my stomach yet to kick in. “Hey there son.” The officer politely replied. “Where exactly are you and this car full of people planning to go past curfew?”
“Oh let me explain officer. I got a phone call from my friend Jaime here about 10 minutes ago. They were stuck at a sleep-over party where people were doing some crazy things and really didn’t want to participate or be there. She begged me to come and pick her and her friends up.”
“Seriously…” The cop seemed suspicious as he shined his flashlight into the car, waiting for any of our pupils to dilate. Nobody had had any drugs kick in yet, though.
“Yeah officer. I felt really bad about leaving in the middle of the night. But I explained it to my parents and they said it was ok.”
“So you’re going to take them right home, right now?”
“Yes, definitely. I can’t wait to get back to sleep!”
“Alright then, I’ll follow you to make sure.”
I drove the car out of the gas station the wrong way, as my young crazy friends rejoiced in me pulling one over on the cop. We roamed around for a bit towards Hudson Ohio, and eventually saw the cop veer away towards somewhere else. When we knew we had lost him, we headed towards the massive rave party, and didn’t get caught.
Not long after this fiasco, I was rooting through my Dad’s closet one day, looking for a cigar to steal from him. I looked in his cedar cigar humidor, and lifted up a small sheet of cedar wood, when something familiar flashed before my eyes. A little bag was in the shadows of the container, and it contained a green, flowery substance. I pulled the bag out, and gave it a whiff. It was grade B skunk weed that appeared to be home grown. Of course, being like I was, I stole a dime bag out of it.
Sometime later, I confronted my Dad on this…
“So Dad, I found a bag of dope in your cigar box.”
“Naw man, that wasn’t dope! It was, uh… Ok man, it was dope!”
“So all that crap about drugs being poison and you only trying pot 4 times was a bunch of (insert colorful expletive) man!” I started to get angry.
“Look Ben, this can just be our little secret man, ok? You can have all the grass you want now. Your cousin Dan grows it and always has it for me. I know it’s never cut with PCP or dipped in some kind of whacked out chemical. I’d rather you smoked it than the stuff you’re getting. That stuff can’t be trusted.”
“Yeah Ben, seriously. Just look man, don’t tell your Mom ok? She can’t handle this stuff.”
“And hey, soon enough, when you turn eighteen, me and you can smoke together.”
Visions of my future flashed before my eyes in this moment. Me, fat with a beard and mustache, eating cheetos and playing the newest video game system at the age of 42, and living in my parents’ basement. It seemed like a dream come true at the age of 17… Was it?
Things have certainly changed now… My Dad and I are best friends, and he’s been off of drugs for eight years. Read how the whole scenario blew up in our faces in the year 2000 here: https://goddrugsandrocknroll.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/wasted-year/ Read about how my Dad became a Jesus Freak in 2005 here: http://benjaminbradfordwhite.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/how-my-dad-became-a-jesus-freak/
Jesus was speaking to corrupt religious leaders when He told them about their Father, the devil, that when he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44b) I was certainly no corrupt religious leader at this time. At the age of 17, I was about as irreligious and unspiritual as I’ve ever been. But I certainly sensed the sinister euphoria of continuing in my crimes when we made it to that party without getting caught.
My night life was filled with mischief, deceit and intoxication at a high level, and seemed to be a careless, Epicurean world of selfish jubilation. I was officially being supplied with weed from my cannabis growing cousin via my Dad. But everything around me was completely falling apart. It’s almost as if I was so high all of the time, that I didn’t even see that it was happening. The enemy of our souls comes only to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10a) And will medicate your mind and befuddle your conscience to the point where you no longer believe that the sky is falling and the earth is shattering around you.
My relationship with my parents’ at this point was completely dysfunctional. Me and my Dad were playing Beatles music together in my basement, both high. My Mother was so worried that I would come home in a police car or a coffin that she began to go to therapy and was prescribed an anti-depressant called Prozac. I don’t even remember most of the encounters I had with them in these days. I was often sneaking out all night, during the school week and the weekend. I would skip school altogether or just attend classes and sleep through them. Teachers couldn’t get through to me. I didn’t turn in any homework or participate. I was failing every single class I was in. It was the last semester of my senior year of high school and I was barely hanging on.
Jaime was also falling apart. She was failing every class. Her parents had a large flow of income and decided to ship her off to an all-girl boarding school in February of 1999, in hopes that she would pull her life together. It was an oddball gathering the night that we wished her well for her departure, a collection of druggies and drug dealers all packed into a limo to eat dinner at a swanky restaurant. Jamie was going to leave town, and I was going to be left to my own devices. We made a pact that we would try and pull ourselves together. We promised to quit using psychedelic drugs and work hard at pulling our grades together. Our strange addictive patterns were about to experience an odd shift as the end of my high-school days approached.
A History Channel Documentary about LSD,
Ecstasy and the Rave Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3id6j6nJmlo&feature=endscreen
National Geographic Documentary about Ketamine (Special K):