Archive for August, 2004

The Unbearable Lightness of Being High

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

I’m a lot of fun to have around at parties, as virtually anyone will tell you (provided they are not people who actually know me and I am holding their pet hostage). Part of what makes me so much fun to be around is my innate love for practical jokes. Over the years I’ve developed a particular specialty in one unique and enjoyable sub-genre – the psychedelic practical joke. It takes a very special person both to execute a well-orchestrated psychedelic practical joke and to appreciate the subtle and often deeply philosophical underpinnings of a psychedelic practical joke. In the absence of people like that, however, I offer you this entertaining and hopefully inspiring guide to the world of psychedelic practical jokes, as practiced by yours truly.

The Mortality Mix-Up – I’m sure you’ve all been there – in the midst of deep, deep exploration of the inner caverns of the mind, you suddenly come across the bright portal of white light that signifies a possible passageway to the other side, the afterlife. The next time a friend is over sitting for you, put on a blindfold and pretend that you are spelunking these inner caverns. Warn your friend that you are going in “very deep” and that they must not intervene, no matter what you might say or do. Then, start moaning and mumbling about “I see it, I see the light!” Then, actually die. Boy, will they feel stupid!

The Ontological Ooops! – This is a great prank to play on the grizzled old vet who claims to have “seen it all”. Next time you’re both on ayahuasca, confronting the mysteries at the heart of reality, secretly rearrange fundamental concepts into a baffling new configuration. Then when you both come down, pretend you’ve always lived in a universe in which the word “green” means “evil”, in which “religion” means “jelly doughnut”, and in which kicking people hard in the stomach is the accepted form of saying hello. You’ll have endless hours of fun watching them crack up, go berzerk, and pledge their undying love and affection to a vacuum cleaner.

The Permanent Freak Out – This one works best on younger trippers, who are still susceptible to that hair-raising realization in a particularly powerful psychedelic experience that they are never coming down. The next time you’re around someone who exclaims, “I’m never coming down!” you simply lean in close, put your arm around the mark, and whisper soothingly, “Of course you’ll come down, just give it a few hours.” Secretly apply an LSD-soaked epidermal patch to the back of the mark’s neck. You’ll never forget the look on their face when, three weeks later, they are finally carted off to the loony bin by big strong men with straightjackets. I never really get tired of visiting marks in the loony bin and just laughing and laughing and laughing.

The Entity Invasion – This is a perfect prank to pull on someone who has just inhaled two or three monster puffs of DMT. As soon as they lay back on your living room floor and start to feel the incredible DMT flash coming on, sneak off into another room and climb into your disguise: an eight-feet tall insectoid alien costume with enormous eye-stalks and long, sharp pincers. Hurry, you’ve only got a minute or two! Then burst back out into the living room and start shouting “Go away, human!” in your best menacing insectoid-alien voice. Years from now, you’ll both look back and laugh at the time you had to have your friend’s heart resuscitated by EMTs while you tried to explain that you couldn’t have dialed 911 any faster because, you know, pincers.

And of course, there’s my favorite:

The Promise of a Glorious Future – I’ve used MDMA, LSD, and 5-MeO-DMT to perform this prank, but I’m sure other substances will work. Wait for the peak of an incredibly intense and beautiful trip, and then spin an elaborate yarn about how the psychedelic movement has the power to change the world for the better, and how if we could only just “turn on” the right people, so much anger and violence could be avoided. The politicians of the world would set aside their differences and the fighters of the world would lay down their arms, if only you could share with them the majestic gnosis inherent in the core of the psychedelic experience. A fantastic sense of peace will ensue. Then the drugs will wear off, at which point – here’s the hilarious part – bone-crushing disappointment and depression will set in at the realization that “it was just the drugs”.

I’ve only pulled that one on myself, actually, but I do fall for it every time.