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'To Quit Smoking Dope'
Ron West's Queer Chicken Dinner, pages 63-66
© 2018 James LaFond
There is a preoccupation with death and that is discussed .. Kerouac blames everything on Cassady bringing marijuana and the party goes on.. At this point Kerouac is screwing the Henderson chick who has sorted she will be ‘re-dumped’ by Cassady who had earlier [in the book] been making phone calls to Robinson behind her back, as well Kerouac’s sleeping with a longshoreman’s wife, and when he’d brought his six days [48-49] New Year’s eve road party to the house of a friends mother and she had the temerity to say something, the woman is told to “shut up, you old bag!”
I had walked across the street to buy some 'multivit' fruit juice at the bakery in Wiesbaden and saw a notice taped to the door my microscopic German language skill indicated the premise would be closed on "muttertag."
The young bakery ladies are always laughing at me, and have been since day one, a social-phenomena I fail to understand and has left me scratching my head (is my fly open?) But it does not matter because the laughter is friendly. So, I have tried to convince them I am the real life model for Inspector Clouseau as I fumble my wallet, money and goods to be purchased with my old soldier syndrome that is my neurological impairment.
I express mock outrage recently, routinely, at the price of my vitamin juice having increased but needing to augment the joke before it is totally boring, I interspersed today's shock at the price with ridiculously profound and sincere relief at the notice of the bakery's closure having reminded me to call my mother on the upcoming Sunday or I most certainly would have forgotten and she would be saying bad things to me.
Men forgetting mom's special day, the wife's birthday, anniversaries, et cetera, reminds me of nothing as much as the ten years I smoked dope and would sometimes tear my house apart looking for the keys I had 'forgotten' where I had placed (clutched in my fist all the while.)
I don't see how the dope can be responsible all these decades later, I am certain the tetrahydracannibanol molecule must have left my body's fat cells by now but suddenly stricken with a flashback of dope smoker's paranoia, I had the frightening thought, because I am skinny, the dope is actually concentrated to an unhealthy degree in the paper thin layer of natural insulation and energy reserve so scarce to my physical that when I exhale I sink in the swimming pool, so what would be the point of coming up for air? Exhale to catch my breath and I would sink to the bottom of the pool!! ARGHH!!
Having fought off the paranoia, I wondered to myself, if I could quit smoking dope, why can't I remember what is important to the women in my life? (down to my 80 year old 'mutter', momentarily ;)
To quit smoking dope (I had been smoking it like a Jamaican dockworker since introduced to the habit in Vietnam), first I quit buying it. I thought this would breed resentment in all of my dope-smoking friends when I had quit contributing, they would go away, and it would be easy. Well, I was wrong.
A decade of smoking dope with peace and love hippies after the war was like paying into a pension, 401k or CD and earning interest. "Hey Ron, Remember the quarter ounce you fronted me two years ago? Here is a half ounce to return the favor, sorry I 'forgot' for so long." It was not working.
So I told my friends I had acquired a peculiar religion where the adherents (I was the only one I knew of, but I did not tell them that) give up their abstinence for Lent and live cleanly the rest of the year (one said “Oh wow, like that is so COOL man”) and I stuck to my guns. It worked. Nobody I knew that smoked dope could remember when it was Lent.
Having thought about all that, I concluded today that this is how it should work for remembering Mother’s Day. One day a year is pretty damn stingy, not only impossible for a man to remember. A man should be given grace and forgiven for the ONE DAY a year he slips up and forgets the women in his life. Prioritizing the women in one's life, everyday as a matter of habit, one is less prone to forget.
Of course none of this has anything at all to do with my younger sister having given me the butt kicking of the decade recently for not having called my 80 year old mom for a couple of months
Men, muttertag, and muttering...
Disclaimer: For those of my readers who are more literal, this disclaimer would point out I am of the 'antiexaggeration' school of thinking.. Example given, when Bill Clinton claimed he "did not inhale", that was an exaggeration. When I state "like a Jamaican Dockworker", or "a decade of smoking dope with peace and love hippies", that is anti-exaggeration." The difference? Bill Clinton is a liar. When I tell a 'stretcher', it is to ‘enhance the truth’ ..
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