When I was 17 years old I tried LSD for the first time. I had been intrigued with this remarkable substance for quite some time. Ever since I had first heard of it my interest was piqued. Was it possible that a drug could change your perceptions to that great of a degree? It didn't seem so, to me. I had heard many ridiculous stories, of pink elephants appearing from nowhere, of people thinking they could fly, of people peeling themselves like an orange, or cooking their baby... Freak City. I had also heard stories of remarkable visions, inexplicable feelings, etc. It all added up to something I felt I would eventually have to try and see for myself.

Now, unlike many people my age (or any age, for that matter), I decided before I introduced this powerful (and illegal) chemical to my CNS, I wanted to know as much as possible about it. I went to the library and read everything I could find on the subject. Books, magazine articles, pamphlets, anything at all. Much of the information was contradictory. One source would say it did cause chromosonal damage, another deny it. One would claim it caused brain damage, another refute it. I took all the government sources with a grain of salt, knowing their bias. A pound of salt might have been better. I quickly found that most of the really outrageous stories were just that, outrageous. Bad Trips, when they did occur, rarely or never resulted in death or dismemberment. Visions and hallucinations, while often spectacular, were not usually of anything so concrete as pink elephants or people that weren't there, and it was usually clear to those under the influence that such occurrences were fantastic in nature.

In short, I concluded after a great deal of study that LSD, if I was careful, would do me no harm, and possibly some good. I found the terms set and setting repeating through much of the literature, in reference to mind set going in and the setting in which the drug was taken in. In other words, don't go into it depressed or you'll be depressed, don't do it in a situation where you have to function normally, because you won't be. Pretty simple, and good advice when doing any drug, I thought.

Once my research was completed I set about trying to obtain some. Some of my friends had done it before (talking to them had been part of my research) and I informed them that the next time they got some, I would like some as well. I had several false alarms before I finally scored.

One fine day in July 1990, I was over at a friends house. It also happened to be the house of a girl I had just started seeing. He told me if I wanted to trip, he was getting some that day. All I needed was $7. And of course, I was broke. So I jumped on his room mate's motor scooter and hauled ass over to another friends house, who happened to owe me money. When I explained why I needed the money NOW, instead of when I had previously told him to repay me at leisure, he coughed up. I was set. I hauled ass back over to my friends house. And got a ticket for riding a motorcycle without a helmet. D'oh ! No big deal, I was too happy to let it bum me out...

I gave my friend the money and he told me we'd do it that night after he got off work, at about 11. I headed home and got all my stuff ready, and came back around 6 o' clock. His roommate showed it to me. I was surprised at how little it was. I knew it was the most powerful psychoactive drug known, but still... all SIX of those tiny little squares of paper didn't look strong enough for a single person. And five of us were going to trip? But he seemed confident, so I didn't sweat it. We smoked some pot and chilled out to wait for everyone else to get home. I fell asleep (pot used to make me really sleepy...) and woke up about ten minutes before 11. I was tense and excited, eager to get started. My friend and the girl I was seeing arrived right after 11 and the acid was brought out. As I said, there were five of us. We'll call them C, T, L, D, and me, for the sake of argument. C was a friend of mine, D the girl I was dating. T and L were their room mates. I didn't know either of them all that well, but they seemed all right.

I sat and looked at everything, trying to tell if it looked any different. So far as I could tell everything was all right. I kept looking at the clock, knowing from my studies it could take from 15 minutes to an hour to hit. About 30 minutes later, I had forgotten to pay attention to everything's normalcy. But then suddenly I noticed the CD that was playing was just incredible! I mean, I loved Jane's Addiction (that was what was on), but this was another whole realm of coolness. It just sounded so good, I had to stand up and play some air guitar. C looked at me amusedly and asked "Are you feeling it?" I responded, " No. I don't know. Man, this CD ROCKS!", or something equally brilliant. He laughed and informed me "You're tripping". And I was. I sat down and looked at the ceiling. We had a red light in the lamp, and it was throwing a circle of red light on the ceiling. I focused on this, and suddenly, it began to move. The edges ceased to be concrete and began flowing, rippling, and undulating. The entire circle suddenly cloned itself and became two, and they diverged, crawling away from and toward each other, always partially overlapping. It was beautiful and I loved it.

From there on, things began to get really strange. I was assaulted by a constant flow of colors, sounds, and thoughts. Before too long, my room mate, E showed up. He was very interested in acid, but wouldn't do it because his fiance absolutely forbid it. I immediately went to him and told him he had to do it. "This is way more important than she is", I told him, unconsciously echoing Tim Leary's statement that LSD was more important than Harvard. He just kind of laughed. He had brought over a lightning ball and some kind of light show relic from the sixties that his mom or uncle or someone had given to him. We plugged them in. The light show thing was boring, but the lightning ball seized my attention immediately. I sat down in front of it, and became transfixed. C began digging through his record collection and put on an LP. After a few seconds, this huge wall of sound roared out of the speakers. It was dense and chaotic and complex and beautiful and wonderful and exquisite. "What is this?" I asked him. "Motley Crue, their cover of Helter Skelter". "Wow". But wait, Motley Crue sucks! No, they didn't. This was the coolest thing, EVER. I instantly became a convert. When it ended, I asked him to play it again. And again.. this went on for a while. My whole world consisted of lightning, and the Crue screaming "You might be a lover, but you ain't no Dancer!" Time ceased, thought ceased, and I reached a perfection of attention I have rarely achieved since. But of course, it ended. Someone else got sick of the Crue and threw on something else. I was broken from my trance, disconcerted, but by now, acid had seized me by the nuts and everything was new, so I didn't worry much about it.

C saw me staring at the cigarette he was smoking, and asked if I would like one. I said no, because I didn't smoke. He asked, "Are you sure? They're really cool..." And I found I did want one, very much. So I took one, and smoked it. It was incredible. I was breathing in smoke and I held this seemingly magic wand in my hand. I waved it in front of my face and saw the most beautiful tracers. It was cosmic.

Now, this was about 2 1/2 hours after we dropped, and I was firmly into the peak. Due to that fact (and the fact this happened nearly seven years ago), sequentiality gets a little fuzzy here... I remember going down into D's room with her to look at some books she had. Surrealist art... right on. I was transfixed by a painting called "Small Vegetal Police" and another called "The Temptation of St. Anthony". She was trying to seduce me, but I was too far from earth (and too inexperienced with sex) to realize this, or I would have gotten sex on acid that first trip. Oh well, I didn't miss it. We went for a walk in the park. Grass was never greener, the night sky never that full of stars. Trees were these incredibly complex and detailed sculptures that seemed they could reveal the true nature of the universe, if one could only puzzle it out... The street lights had these complex and intensely strange halos. Everything seemed alive, charged, infinite. I felt a sense of impending epiphany. It was very groovey.

Some time later (or earlier?) we went to the store for refreshments. C had sent us out with a command to return with something "big, cold, and not orange". 7-11 was this entirely bizarre plastic construction. As soon as I saw the slurpee machine, I knew how to fulfill our mission. And once I started filling the Slurpee cup, I knew my choice was right. That slurpee dispenser was incredible. The Coke slurpee goo was spinning around in there, getting slurpee-d, and it came out in this incredible circular dance that was almost too intensely cool. If I could live in that state, I would be happy to get a job as a slurpee jerk, or so I told myself at the time. We returned to the house and feasted on slurpees. They were almost too good to eat.

I remember my companions took on strange, mythical aspects. My friend C seemed the All-Father, all knowing, amused by us all. D was the Goddess, Earth mother, lover. T was the Jester, making us all laugh with bizarre, inexplicable antics. And L seemed the Knight Protector, watching over all, keeping us from harm. I sensed I was the Seeker, the acid-virgin. I was just along for the ride, and whatever knowledge I could pick up along the way.

Tragedy struck late into the trip, though it was a minor tragedy. My room mate, E, wrecked T 's motor scooter (the one I had been riding earlier). He was scraped all up, bleeding all over the place. It brought the trip into focus. I had trouble comprehending the whole thing. Luckily he was sober, or it might have been a way bigger deal. I knew I should feel bad, but it just didn't make sense to me. I was far more interested in the ice they were applying to his wounds. Later, when I came down, I felt like a schmuck, but E blew it off. " I wasn't hurt that bad, don't sweat it".

Not too long after this we all walked down into the park again to sit on the playground toys and watch the sun rise. We talked about the trip and watched the sun rise over the hills. It was a lovely morning. I felt reborn, more in touch with myself. I was also eager to repeat the experience.

I went home around 9 or 10, and watched the carpet in the living room crawl until I was finally able to sleep.

Well, that's a pretty good account of my first trip. It was a good introduction to acid. I enjoyed it greatly. Since then I have tripped many times, and had experiences both profound and banal, beautiful and intensely frightening. I have flipped out, and watched my friends flip out. I have realized that I was in love when I thought I wasn't, and realized I wasn't when I thought I was. I have spent whole trips in public places, on a bus, in the dark, alone, and with more people than I could count. Acid is a wonderful tool for the activation and exploration of your brain. I have never had any ill effects, even with my unpleasant experiences. I would recommend it to anyone with a curious mind, who wishes to explore his psyche and place in the universe. However, I would definitely encourage anyone who is thinking of trying it to read all they can find about it, talk to those who have done it, and be sure that when you do do it, someone experienced is around to guide and help if things get tight. Acid is a beautiful chemical with the potential to open up many doors, if you are ready and willing to have them opened.

"When the Doors of Perception are cleansed, all things will appear as they truly are, infinite"- William Blake

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