Citation: Kuato. "Zeesersow: An Experience with LSD & Cannabis (exp57725)". Erowid.org. Apr 7, 2007. erowid.org/exp/57725
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BACKGROUND- My next-door dorm neighbor freshman year of college was an extremely eccentric, not overly stable, ambiguosly gay southerner named Ian. And by ambiguously gay, I mean he rubbed on guys' chests when he was drunk and a platonic girlfriend of his told my roommate in Spanish that he had told her that he was gay. Ian, of course, denied this and then insisted that he had sex with women in England with knives but now thought sex should 'mean something.'
Ian was basically Ignatius J. Reilly on drugs. Ian wasn't fat like Ignatius, but he said he was in middle school. And despite being named Ian, which was his middle name anyway, he was as American as apple pie, as were his parents. But you'd never know this from talking to him. Ian constantly spoke with a fake British accent, smoked weed out of an Egyptian hookah in his room, had a large collection of Persian daggers, often broke into Persian folk songs, and his favorite exclamations were 'Bloody Americans!' and 'That's barbaric!' He was also obsessed with the movie version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
One day, a campus dealer named Rob who looked like a big surfer with long blond hair, a goatee, and sunglasses wandered into my room on acid following Ian. I then watched an African cable channel with Rob and Ian and, in theory, we were all on DOC, an obscure hallucinogenic designer drug. I felt nothing and Rob and Ian wondered if I had some kind of weird 'high tolerance to hallucinogens.'
Ian then made some business connections with Rob and his little shaggy brown-haired dealer friend Dan. These dealers knew a local washed-up hippy woman who they got acid from. Most of the acid they bought from her was fairly weak, as in people would do four hits of it and not cross into the 'psychedelic' threshold of 'ego-death' and 'life-changing' mystical experiences.
I wanted to try acid simply out of curiosity and I planned on starting with a small dose. I had no delusional aspirations of connecting with any kind of higher power and thought acid was just going to be a cheap thrill. I was about to learn that on large doses, acid is a very expensive thrill. My only prior experience with drugs was weed and alcohol. I had already seen the Fear and Loathing movie, but it did not prepare me at all for the weird, wild Native-American, Buddhist, and beatnik shit I was going to be dealing with.
I told Ian I wanted to try acid and he ran out and bought ten hits of white blotter paper from Rob and Dan, who were splitting profits at the time.
'So, Ian, how many should I do?'
'Well, I just bought ten hits. And I'm going to do six, so...why don't you do three? Or, if I do six and you do three, then there will only be one left and that won't be any good at all by itself. Do you think you can handle four? I'm sure you can because you seem to have a high tolerance to psychedelics.'
STAGE 1:SPEED- I gave Ian forty bucks and ate the four tabs all at once at around 8:00 P.M. on a Friday. I also ate 4 vitamin C tablets. I was in an extremely good mood that day. I listened to 'Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus' by Frank Zappa on repeat for about an hour while looking at Latina porn to try to put myself in an even better mood when Ian came in to get me out of my room because my prudish narc roommate who doesn't even drink was coming back to the room and I was already starting to laugh uncontrollably with huge pupils. I ran around outside laughing maniacally. I never had so much energy in my life and it felt great. Everything seemed extremely windy, although it's not clear how windy it actually was outside, and hills seemed infinitely steeper. As I ran, all my surroundings were very gradually bending as if everything was getting sucked into one point, which was whatever point I was looking at. In other words, everything looked like a fish-eye camera lens from a Busta Rhymes music video.
Around 11:00 P.M., Ian led me to his room with the Rob and Dan and two girls I had never met before, one very tall and one very short. They were all smoking out of Ian's hookah, and by the girls' request, there was no weed in the hookah, just shisha. Ian walked in letting the girls know that he and I were tripping on acid and the tall girl didn't look too happy to hear this. She had, after all, requested that there be no weed in the hookah. The short one was having a great time, though. I thought I remembered the short one alluding to the fact that she had pornographic pictures of herself posted somewhere, but this is debatable as I was on acid. They turned on some music and Dan said, 'Is the room just like filled with music?'
Although everything already looked like a cross between a rap video and an Edvard Munch painting in ultra-high resolution, I looked around the room and didn't see music 'filling it', so I calmly answered, 'No, but I feel like everything's getting sucked into one point.'
'Where's the point?' the short girl asked, laughing.
'Wherever I'm looking.'
Dan then decided that I must be having a really lame trip since it had been 3 hours and the room wasn't even filling with music. When I said I had done 4 tabs and Rob and Ian mentioned that I had done three milligrams of DOC and didn't feel it, Dan responded, visibly drunk, 'You have a problem with psyches. Are you on any SSRI's?'
'No.' I wasn't and never have been.
'That stuff'll screw you up, man. You need to smoke.'
Dan and Rob's advice at this point was for me to smoke a lot of weed to intensify my 'lame trip.' Someone accidentally knocked Ian's hookah over and the glass bottom shattered and hookah water spilled all over the carpet.
'Don't worry about it, Ian,' Rob insisted. 'Worry about it tomorrow when you're sober.'
Then the short girl went to our hall bathroom to vomit from overdrinking and Dan took me and Ian outside to smoke weed and meet someone named Walt, who he said was 'the same person as Ian.' This is a hardcore bad thing to tell someone on acid. Outside the dorm building, Dan said to me, 'I like that girl.'
'The porn one?' I inquired. As soon as I said this, I wondered if it had actually made any sense. I thought that girl had something to do with porn, but I couldn't remember what this connection was as soon as I said it and I wondered if that was just the acid talking.
'Yeah.' Dan replied. I guess it did make sense.
As we were walking outside to go smoke weed out of Dan's pipe, and his weed was pretty potent by campus standards, I began to get massively hyper again and felt great. I was also beginning to feel my thought process deteriorate and felt like I kept seeing the same four greasy New Jersey guidos with popped collars scurrying around and felt like they were 'planning something.' I decided against telling Dan this because a part of me still realized that was the acid talking. I also kept biting my lip uncontrollably, but it didn't hurt at all and I felt great while I was doing it. Dan started to get nervous, saying, 'He looks like someone who just coked up. Uh, we haven't really tested this batch so we're just trying to see how people react to it.' He told me to stop biting my lip and I told him I didn't see why it mattered since it didn't hurt and it's not like I could stop biting it anyway. It was this automatic thing I couldn't control.
'Areyougettingthisweirdstimulanteffect,Ian?' I mumbled at blinding speeds.
Anyway, I smoked a greater amount of potent weed than I probably had ever smoked in one sitting before because I didn't feel any full mechanism or any normal weed high, so I just kept on smoking. I also met the extremely eccentric, faux-British, hookah-smoking Walt. Walt was in fact very similar to Ian, except he literally looked like he had walked off the set of Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I saw this guy again sober, he didn't even look that far removed from a skeleton or a ghost as he was bony, emaciated, and very pale. On acid, he had hair and everything, but I literally could not figure out how this undead claymation leprechaun was human. At first, I thought this was funny and thought the LSD had just conjured up some ridiculous claymation skeleton character for me to talk to. I kept getting right up to his face and saying, 'He's not real! There's no way he's real!' and laughing.
Dan laughed and said, 'Yeah, that's how I feel on acid. I feel like I'm the only one that's real.'
And I knew what he was talking about, that depersonalized, virtual-reality simulator feeling that is the foundation of the acid experience at any dosage. It's the feeling of looking down at your own arms and wandering if they're really your arms or if they're just as much a part of the scenery as everything else. But this was very different. I literally couldn't figure out how Walt could be human.
Then I realized that Dan was talking to him too and he wasn't on acid. Dan had also told me earlier that acid doesn't make you see things that aren't there and then everything froze into a still frame for a second as I panicked and felt too far gone and started to fight it. But then I quickly realized it was far too powerful to fight and trying to make sense of what was really going on at this point was fighting it. So I gave up. I just laughed and thought to myself, 'Well, if the claymation skeleton guy wants to talk to us, I'm sure he's a friendly claymation skeleton and we'll all have a good time. Good trip.'
Then some really hardcore visuals started. I was still hyper and biting my lip like someone was paying me to do it, but now everything I could see looked like it was made out of a tapestry of 2-inch glass crystals. Then the features of people's faces were being outlined like someone was drawing them with a pen. Then my entire field of vision was outlined with a black border like a frame from a comic book and I exclaimed, 'I feel like I'm in a comic book!'
We were smoking on a hill next to a building that even sober looked like some kind of Mayan temple step pyramid. Then for a few seconds, everything below the top of the hill turned black and I felt like we were floating on a hill high in the sky with a mystical Mayan temple. I then felt like I was growing another pair of eyes through which I began seeing very elaborate images. I'll call them 'mind's eye visuals' for future reference. And in these mind's eye visuals, I kept seeing everything as being extremely tall and skinny and distorted and I said, 'I feel like everything's tall and skinny!'
Walt said, sounding not unlike the Dark Lord Lucifer himself, 'Noowwww IIIII bellliieeevvveee you'rrreee onnnnnn accccciiddddd.'
Walt also blew pot smoke out of his nose like some kind of a goddamned dragon and made a truly distrubing facial expression opening his eyes really wide that I don't think is physically possible to accomplish unless the beholder is on a lot of LSD. Walt and Ian then sat next to each other discussing hookahs and finishing each other's sentences. Everything went into slow motion for a few seconds as they stared into each other's eyes and said pretty much in goddamned unison, 'Why haven't we met? Yes, why haven't we met?' This was way too intense for me to be dealing with on acid. It seemed as though Ian and the claymation skeleton were becoming one entity of completely incomprehensible behavior.
Anyway, after a few jitters, everything was going great. Dan had to leave for a few minutes and Ian wanted to go to CVS to buy some stuff to fix his hookah. Ian made me follow him to CVS and I kept telling him that I shouldn't go in there because I still couldn't stop biting my lip and it would look weird to the people in CVS. Ian didn't care and we went into CVS anyway.
I ran around CVS like a meth-crazed marionnete puppet making weird gestures with my hands as they perpetually hung by my head. And then I saw the Pearly Gates of Heaven. I was standing in front of an ATM machine looking at Ian buy duct tape for his hookah at the counter of CVS when time slowed down to a crawl. Everything turned black except for the counter, which, in a flash, transformed into a white podium with huge white gates towering behind it. Ian was at the podium holding a brown briefcase facing the angel/CVS clerk, and he then set the briefcase on the ground. This lasted about three seconds and then flashed back to regular old CVS. But where did the brown briefcase go? And this brief hallucination was as real as my own hands, not like the mind's eye hallucinations I metioned earlier. And Dan had told me I wouldn't see things that aren't there. This was the first moment where I wondered to myself, 'Sweet Son of Satan, how much LSD did I put in my body and why did I do it?'
And that's about when I stopped biting my lip and I no longer felt like I was on speed. We left CVS and I began to worry because I had just seen the Pearly Gates of Heaven early in the trip and Ian said he was on more acid than I was. I thought acid was just going to make the room fill with music. Instead I was about to enter a Satanic crash course in Native-American Studies, Existentialism, and Eastern Philosophy. And that's when the journey to Zeesersow began.
STAGE 2: THE JOURNEY TO ZEESERSOW- Outside, we met back up with the dealers Rob and Dan. I was now becoming overwhelmed with mind-blowingly elaborate mind's eye visuals of dancing beatniks wearing berets and claymation skeletons. I kept getting the feeling that I was in this weird parallel universe stuck in the art-deco 1940's.
This is also when the telepathic communication began. I wasn't literally hearing voices. I could tell what the voices sounded like, but they seemed to go straight to my brain without taking a detour through my ears. In my mind's eye, all these crazy beatniks were dancing around like marionnete puppets and acting like they were, well, on acid. They told me telepathically, with cadence a la William Shatner, 'You're...on...aaaaaaacid. This...is how...people...on...aaaaaaaacid move' and they danced around like one would imagine crazy beret-wearing beatniks on acid would. One beatnik said, as if he was reciting a coffeehouse beatnik poem, 'What...is...college?!' and another said, 'Ich... bin... college' as he danced.
I also kept getting images of these claymation skeletons spiraling out of nothingness into existence and just sitting or standing there coldly and not saying anything telepathically. These silent skeletons looked startingly like they were from The Nightmare Before Christmas or the computer game Grim Fandango. They didn't really look like real human skeletons, but cute little cartoony midget skeletons that aren't necessarily very sinister and perhaps even friendly and humorous.
The beatniks then began sending me telepathic messages of completely meaningless words. One that was repeated far more than the others was the word 'Zeesersow.' And it rhymes with 'zeeserwow', not 'zeeserbo.' Anyway, they said it so many times you woulda thought that word 'Zeesersow' was the goddamned meaning of life or something.
Now I thought all of this was absolutely hysterical at first, couldn't stop laughing, and kept thinking, 'Where is the crazy beatnik that made this terrible student art film that I'm stuck in?' I became convinced at this point that Tim Burton, David Lynch and beatnik poets owe their entire careers to hallucinogenic drugs. I also became convinced that Grim Fandango was based pretty directly on a huge dose of acid. I also kept getting the feeling that I had thought acid was a hippy drug, but really, it's more of a beatnik drug, whatever the fuck that means. The phrase 'mescaline dependscaline' was also repeated pretty frequently.
Then the song I had listened to over and over right after I dosed, 'Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus' by Frank Zappa, kept playing in my head and I kept getting this image of human teeth rattling in a can. I think this was synesthesia from the tack piano. That's about when things started turning from hilarious and pleasant to just plain weird and I kept thinking, 'Uh, is this good or bad?'
Human teeth continued to rattle in a can somewhere in my mind's eye and I kept getting this mind's eye visual of a one-eyed midget claymation skeleton playing chess by himself. You read that right. A one-eyed midget claymation skeleton playing chess by himself.
Now I really started to feel like I was going somewhere. I felt like I was going on a literal 'trip' somewhere and that I now understood why they call it an 'acid trip.' And it was becoming mind-numbingly confusing to figure out exactly how many people were coming with me. Thinking back on it now, the only people there right then were Ian, Rob, and Dan, but I could have sworn there were about 30 of us. I increasingly began to feel like I was going to some mysterious place farther away than the 1940's art-deco place was from Earth and I was picking up beatniks and claymation skeletons on the way to join me on the journey.
Then a train started to go by and I kept getting these crazy mind's-eye visuals that were beginning to blend with my regular field of vision in a way that was hardcore confusing. The visuals were of a huge dark green alien flying saucer taking off and the whole ground shaking and smoke everywhere. So when the train was going by, I nervously asked Dan, 'What's that?' and he just laughed and said, 'It's a train!' He clearly had never done this much acid.
And then I knew I was getting close to the mysterious place I had been approaching for some time. And it seemed to be called Zeesersow. At least, as I felt like I was getting near, I kept getting these mind's eye visuals of some kind of eerie machines or aliens disguised as Rob, Dan, and Ian singing this eerie chant that featured a ton of alien words I can't remember, repeatedly ending with 'in the Zeesersow.' And it even had a little bit of a tune. It seemed like I was entering a place called Zeesersow that had its own theme song. And that's when shit started happening in circles.
STAGE 3: EGO DEATH/ ONE WITH NATURE- By this point, I was beginning to respond telepathically to the growing onsluaght of telepathic communication until I felt like telepathic messages were coming at me faster than my brain could process. The mind's eye visuals were also becoming so overwhelming that I felt like I couldn't tell which set of eyes to look through in order to just walk forward. Then I felt so overwhelmed with sensory information that I felt like I was going blind.
And then the mind's eye visuals stopped and I felt like time and space had completely collapsed around me. I was on top of a hill in front of the cafeteria building and my entire field of vision looked completely flat to the point where I felt like moving forward would hurt. I felt like I was literally stuck inside a flat surface, stuck inside a beautiful, distorted, ultra-high resolution painting of a college campus. Iím stuck inside a motherfucking painting!
I then began walking down the hill, and my field of vision froze into a still painting of the hill. I kept moving down the hill and could feel my muscles moving and could still hear things in real time, but all I could see was the same painting from five seconds ago. I was literally blind, except, instead of staring at darkness, I was perpetually staring at a painting. I felt like I was running on a treadmill in another dimension staring at a painting.
And then finally I was rewarded with a new painting of my field of vision further down the hill that still had about a five second delay. I felt like my brain was flying apart in all directions and it was no longer able to process sensory information. And then I began to worry that my completely frozen and flat field of vision was starting to wobble and was about to fall over and shatter into pieces of glass and I was going to wake up screaming, seeing reality for the first time. Good trip.
Then my vision caught back up with real time on the bottom of the hill and I was relieved... until I watched myself disappear. As soon as I began moving in real time again, I looked down and literally watched my feet disappear and very quickly my whole body disappeared after it. I presume I became 'one with nature' at this point. And I'm pretty sure I was transcending some hardcore shit. I'm also sure I had a very intelligent facial expression at that moment.
I could tell that I had left this body to some far away place. Then I turned to look ahead and I thought to myself, 'Well, there goes Nichols,' and I didn't even really understand that it was me anymore. It was just some guy that left. I now wasn't sure who I was and I felt like I was actually about five people at once. And that's when God showed up and I remembered I was from Zeesersow. Or perhaps we were from Zeesersow. It's a judgment call.
STAGE 4: ZEESERSOW/THE EDGE/THE WORST PLACE EVER- This is where the trip started to get hardcore. If you thought any of the other stuff I mentioned was hardcore, you are a pussy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Anyway, as I continued to walk through the quad next to Dan, I felt like my entire reality was crumbling before my eyes. There were 2-inch white blobs flying past me like I was in a wind tunnel and I was literally walking on a giant chessboard. That's right, the entire ground of the quad was literally a chessboard as real as my own hands with alternating dark green and light green spaces for about three seconds and then it flashed back to normal and back to a chessboard on and off for a while. The chess motif was getting stronger. Then someone whispered to me telepathically, 'You're not even paying attention.'
Then I felt the massive pull to look at Dan. I turned to look at him and his eyes lit up and tore right into me like Persian daggers. He grew a sinister, knowing smile and I knew God had possessed his body to talk to me. And I don't even believe in God. And I literally didn't even know that people on acid could talk to God. And I just thought the room was gonna fill with music, man! Fuck!
God proceeded to tell me telepathically that my entire life had been a sick, sick lie and that I was actually from Zeesersow. He told me that I was some sort of failed messiah that had disobeyed Him and escaped from Zeesersow long ago and I had done something to my brain to block out his constant communication with me and to forget about Zeesersow and assume a fake identity in an essentially fake reality. He told me that every feeling of deja vu I had ever had in my life was Him briefly breaking through to me. He also told me that I had done so much LSD that I had completely broken through whatever I had done to my brain before and was now able to remember the truth.
But the bitch of it all was that I remembered. He didn't even have to tell me. As soon as I saw the look of God in that arbitrary college drug dealer's eyes, I started to remember everything He was telling me. I had deja vu coming out of my ass. Normally, being the optimist that I am, I would have thought, 'Well, maybe God's just pulling my leg, and in a couple of minutes, we'll both have a good laugh about this little prank he's pulling on me.' But I 'remembered' that what he was telling me was true. And I remembered that God, who I used to know personally and work for, was an evil tyrant ruling the universe with an iron fist. He wasn't so much some magical, omnipresent androgynous force as much as some cocky male asshole with a sadistic sense of humor who had hijacked the universe. But He sure as hell knew what He was doing. And He sure as hell was way more powerful than me or anything else I had ever experienced.
Now that's pretty much the definition of bad news. I mean, if someone says they have bad news, you'd say 'Oh, no, did somebody die?' and if they then said, 'Reality's fake and God is evil,' its hard to know what to say next. Shit? Fuck? Son of a bitch? Son of Sam? What facial expression are you supposed to make? What emotion are you supposed to feel?
For quite a while, I felt an emotion I have literally never felt sober and I don't know if it is possible to feel unless you are on a monstrous amount of a psychedelic drug. There have been times over the years that I have been kicked in the balls so hard that I no longer felt pain in my balls and instead just keeled over in nausea. This was probably because my brain was flooded with more pain than it could process and my brain just gave up and made me nauseous in a state beyond pain. Talking to God, I was beyond fear.
At this point, the acid's hold was so strong that three-space navigation didn't make a whole lot of sense anymore. I felt like I was in the middle of a revolving door of absolute insanity, not unlike the orgy scene in Zoolander. Everywhere I turned was either Dan or Ian and God would jump between their two bodies and light up their eyes. God was closing in on me from all directions.
I immediately apologized telepathically for coming back to Zeesersow and tried to explain it was an accident and that I had done way too much acid. Although, confusingly enough, I couldn't even remember that the person who had done the acid was a college student. I then told Him that I would turn around and leave Zeesersow immediately and never return again. But then He told me that no one can leave Zeesersow. What do you mean no one can leave Zeesersow? He again reminded me that one can not just leave Zeesersow once one enters. Why did I do so much acid?
I then felt like He was about to tell me Everything. He was about to destroy me with absolute knowledge and doom me with permanent insanity by giving me more knowledge than the human brain can handle. Thinking back on it sober, I was reminded of a quote from All the King's Men about how the end of Man is knowledge and he can't figure out if it's going to save him or destroy him. And I was convinced that knowledge was going to destroy me. And what the hell kind of crazy, corny, flaky, philosophy major shit is that? Jesus H. Christ! I can smell the weed and incense. What the hell corny part of my brain did that come from? I felt like I was trapped inside a philosophy textbook. Bad trip!
Anyway, I felt like the meaning of life was on the tip of my tongue and God was telling me that I already knew it and He was laughing at me beginning to remember and how fucked I would be once I remembered. Give me a break, I was on drugs. And then it became clear to me what would happen if I remembered. I would be in a state worse than death, unable to make sense of or apply meaning to any sensory information. I would effectively be blind, deaf, etc. and in a world of shit. My 'doors of perception' would be 'cleansed', or some William Blake shit like that.
And then I 'remembered' about 'The Tribunal' made up of the '12 Lords of the Universe' working under God and I got some mind's eye visuals of 12 old white guys with closely shaved grey beards standing in a circle on a circular pattern of cobblestones floating in the middle of empty black space. And then I remembered how much those guys sucked. They had a pretty pointless cameo and had no real effect on the storyline. Maybe I was going to be put on trial for previously escaping from Zeesersow or something, its hard to say. The drugfucked human brain is not the most coherent storyteller.
Then I started getting mind's eye visuals of Zeesersow itself, the crazy existential dystopia/land of forbidden knowledge I was stuck in. In case you're wondering what Zeesersow is like, it is the worst place ever. It is the other side. It is the dark side of the moon. Zeesersow is a maddening labyrinth of blindingly white rooms, Parisian cobblestone streets, giant chessboards, and abstract marble sculptures. It always has been and always will be the 1940's in Zeesersow and the place is filled with dancing beatniks, one-eyed midget claymation skeletons, and other completely ridiculous characters whose brains have been destroyed with absolute knowledge and are doomed to permanent and total insanity.
Zeesersow is past nirvana. If Buddha had meditated a little harder and gotten to Zeesersow, he would have scrapped Buddhism and just given up. Zeesersow is the edge of meaning and the edge of acid. At least, I'm pretty sure it is. If there's something past Zeesersow, God help us all. I think Zeesersow is the end of the tunnel. The best representation of Zeesersow I have ever seen is the music video for 'You Are What You Is' by Frank Zappa.
But, yeah, back to my trip. There was still plenty of weird, wild shit to come and shit got even scarier. Tell the kids to go to bed.
STAGE 5: FOLLOW THE SNAKE/ NATIVE-AMERICAN VISION QUEST- This is when I started to trip hardcore Native-American style. This is not to say I was beyond Zeesersow, though, because I wasn't. It was the set up for the long, hard road out of Zeesersow. There were considerably less mind's eye visuals. But it was still hardcore. We're talking lizard tails as real as your hand and God coming out of the television to scream at me hardcore.
Dan and Ian led me back to the dorm to Ian's room and we made a stop in the hall bathroom. And, yeah, I took a piss on that much acid. And it was completely ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that I'm going to devote an entire paragraph to it. This paragraph is designed to be read aloud by William Shatner because William Shatner is acid. The familiar noises of urination are significantly louder on that much acid. Was that whooshing sound a jet engine, or was it my urine hitting the toilet water? You decide. I was sucked toward the toilet in a wind tunnel and my trail of urine was a seamless umbillical cord between me and the john. Deep. The urine trail bent in ways it shouldn't have, but still it landed neatly in the bowl. It also took forever. Very Zen.
Ian brought me into his room and shut the door. Then Rob came in and sat down next to me on a couch. Ian was on one side and Rob was on the other. And they both had long blond hair. This seemed profoundly symmetrical and meaningful at the time. And I was still stuck in Zeesersow. Ian's Egyptian hookah looked like it made a lot more sense in Zeesersow than it did in a college dorm room on Earth.
Ian turned on the television and began playing some recent Prince of Persia video game with the lights off. The game motif marched on. What was taking place on the television screen seemed absolutely just as real and right there with me as everything else in the room. The character in the game, who I'm guessing was some kind of Persian prince, was shimmying across a ledge and the ledge was crumbling into rotating Tetris pieces as real as my hand literally coming out of the television. And they weren't just flash hallucinations, either. They seemed to stay there as long as the television was on. My entire field of vision felt extremely fragile like it was all painted on glass and there was this crazy intense surge of positive and negative emotions simultaneously. I was touched in places I didn't even know I had. I felt like God had reached up my ass and found a bunch of g-spots and anti-g-spots and he was playing them like a piano. He was manipulating my entire reality in order to explain something to me.
And then came the lizard tail. The Persian prince running around in crumbling Tetrisland grew a green lizard tail out of his ass. And the tail swung back and forth, back and forth like something had agitated the Lizard Prince. It was at this point that God started whispering to me, telepathically, 'Follow the snake...Follow the snake...'
Now, I don't know about you, but that kinda reminds me of a Native-American vision quest. 'Little Feather, this is the Great Spirit. Follow the coyote, Little Feather, and one day, you will be a great warrior.' Or something like that. And for some reason, to me, lizards are just a Native-American animal. There's something about lizards and Native-Americans that just go hand in hand, at least with tribes in the Southwest. It felt like I had fallen into some kind of Native-American rite of passage/character-building exercise. And Native-Americans scalped people.
Anyway, my number one priority right then, as you can imagine, was following the snake. I wasn't about to argue with God and I had a hunch this snake was my ticket out of Zeesersow. Now I looked around and didn't see any snakes to follow, so I began to realize it was symbolic. What could the snake possibly represent in this realm of absolute Native-American insanity?
Then I realized the struggle of the Lizard Prince in Tetrisland seemed to be my struggle. The Lizard Prince was the snake and I was going to follow him with my eyes. And then it seemed as long as I was following the Lizard Prince, things were going to be alright and I was feeling way better and it felt like the bad trip was turning good again. And luckily Ian was sober so he was playing pretty well and the Lizard Prince was thriving. Had the Lizard Prince been impaled on a wall of spikes, I probably would have been very concerned about my own future. But he seemed to be doing fine.
And then a steroid-abusing Long Island guido joined me, Ian, and Rob in the room. His name was 'A-Mo' and he was Ian's roommate. A-Mo constantly spoke in a clueless Italian's version of ebonics, shoplifted 'ill shirts' from Banana Republic, and had a downloaded music collection consisting mainly of Bette Midler, Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, La Bouche, and 50 Cent, which is still just dance music with tough lyrics if you think about it. He also gelled his hair like a Dragonball-Z character, went on diets, and had numerous Jewish American Princess platonic girlfriends.
Anyway, now it seemed like God was trying to make some kind of connection between A-Mo and the Lizard Prince on the television screen he was standing next to. A-Mo did not grow a lizard tail out of his ass, thank God, but there was something suddenly and indescribably reptilian and even Native-American about him. He did have really dark skin for an Italian and was often mistaken for being Indian, although we're talking about red-dot Indian here.
Then I looked back at Tetrisland and, I wish I was kidding, the Lizard Prince was gone and, in his place...was a steroid-abusing Long Island guido who looked way too much like A-Mo. Now if some hot Asian chick in a bikini had walked in there right then, I probably would've seen her on the screen. Why the fuck did A-Mo have to walk in instead?
Virtual A-Mo now seemed to be 'the snake' so, clearly, I had to follow this swarmy Italian with my eyes as he journeyed through crumbling Tetrisland shimmying across walls. The real A-Mo then barely succeeded in changing clothes and sat down at his desk. A-Mo then climbed up to his lofted bed like King Kong and passed out..
Anyway, God kept reminding me telepathically that I had to 'follow the snake' and basically continue and keep on truckin' and fuckin', when, out of fucking nowhere, the word 'CONTINUE?' literally came out of the motherfucking television.
Then Ian turned off Prince of Persia and asked if I wanted to watch a movie called Waking Life. Why the fuck did you turn off Prince of Persia, Ian? The snake was in there! I didn't say this, but it did upset me. I then told Ian that I had seen Waking Life in high school in theaters and didn't like it all that much. But wait a minute. Who saw Waking Life in high school? Did I say that? Did we say that? Who am I? Who are we? Who's the guy that saw Waking Life? What? Whatever. Follow the snake.
After I told Ian that I didn't want to watch Waking Life, Ian put the Waking Life DVD away and I began to wonder if this was a hardcore mistake because maybe Waking Life was the snake I was supposed to follow. Ian then suggested watching, of all things, Lord of the Rings. And then I realized that Lord of the Rings was the snake. This is the part when God came out of the television to scream at me.
Let me go into more detail. God was telling me through the symbolic meaning of Ian and Rob's arbitrary conversation as their eyes lit up that He was about to tell me something hardcore about the universe or something. He also basically said, 'You thought you could forget about me. And you know what I think about that?' And He said this telepathically pretty deadpan and I wasn't completely sure what He thought about that yet. Then, right at that moment, there was a close-up of this guy I have since learned is Sauron screaming on the television screen and God jumped in Sauron, lit up Sauron's eyes, and used Sauron to explain how pissed off He was at me for forgetting about Him. He was pretty pissed off.
And right when He did that, I noticed that the room was filled with these extremely elaborate golden patterns coming out of the television. If you close your eyes and press on your eyelids and wait a few seconds, you'll see them. Except, for me, these patterns were huge and absolutely as real as my hand and stayed there as long as the television was on. It literally seemed like they would hurt me if I stood up and tried to walk around. But at the same time I thought they were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.
And there was that weird, tiny, distant, sober part of me that thought, 'Oh, these must be those fractal patterns I heard that people see on acid.' Who's the guy that heard about fractal patterns? What? Whatever. Follow the snake. And there was also another one of those wind tunnel things that seemed to be coming out the television.
Anyway, God screaming at me through the huge guy with spikes on the television got my attention and I was definitely gonna do what He said now. God then told me telepathically that I needed to be obedient and that, as a symbol of my obedience to Him, I needed to respond affirmatively to whatever arbitrary things Rob and Ian would say in the next few minutes.
Rob then took out some cocaine, chopped it up with his student ID card, snorted it, and proceeded to tell me and Ian about his manic-depressive weekend. He apparently went home the weekend before for a funeral and learned that his little brother was suicidal and then blew off steam by going to a shopping mall on acid. Now if he had gone to that shopping mall on the amount of acid I was on, God help him, but he was clearly on a lot less than me. Rather than God screaming at him and telling him to follow the snake, there were apparently some lights that freaked him out. Wuss.
Then Rob told us about how he and Dan both liked the short porn girl who had been smoking hookah in Ian's room at the beginning of my trip and how she wanted to hook up with him, but he didn't because Dan liked her. I said, 'Yeah, you did the right thing.'
I didn't say that because that was my genuine opinion of the situation, but because God had told me to respond affirmatively to everything Ian and Rob would say and I wanted to make God happy for obvious reasons. My opinion sober would have been, 'Well, if she likes you and you like her, just do it. If she likes you instead of Dan, then that's that and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Dan will move on.' But instead I said that he did the right thing because I was trying to save my own ass from intergalactic hatred.
Then Ian put his laptop on his lap, turned the screen toward me, and said, 'Watch this.' He showed me a video that occurs between levels of Prince of Persia. This video was apparently the snake so I was going to watch it carefully. It was extremely intense and three-dimensional out of the laptop. I said to Ian, 'Are you...playyyyyinnng?' This was really directed at God and was a metaphorical way of asking Him if He was still controlling my reality.
Ian just laughed and said, 'It's an FMV, man! I'm not playing!' 'FMV' is short for 'full-motion video' and is a nerdball term for the videos between levels in video games, in case you didn't know. The video featured some dramatic music and Ian said, 'You can tell that the hero's not going to die in this scene because they're playing in A minor.'
I then said, 'Yeah,' because I still had to respond affirmatively to everything.
Ian then said, 'You don't know anything about music!' and then Rob said, 'Well, I do.' I then said, 'Yeah,' a bunch more times in random places because I was still trying to obey God and follow the snake. And as long as I was successfully following the snake, I was actually feeling way better than you would probably guess I was feeling. Although, I didn't feel so good when Ian then put the video on slow rewind because, for an instant, I thought maybe God had succeeded in reversing time. That would not have been cool.
Rob then said, 'When I'm on acid, I kinda feel like I'm in this other dimension.' KINDA? I'm in a place called Zeesersow right fuckin' now!
Then Rob left. Now it was just me, Ian, and sleeping Homo Kong. And I was acting like a monkey with cerebral paulsy. I looked over at Ian and he was just staring ahead deep in thought. He looked sober and horrified. There was still another one of those wind tunnel deals and I felt like I had no control over my arms for a few seconds as they flailed around, outlining the wind tunnel. Ian looked somewhat concerned that I was doing this. I didn't think I was making any weird noises, but Ian told me later that I was in fact making weird noises.
By this point we were watching the second Lord of the Rings movie. And, amazingly, I actually started to feel really good watching the blue and white sand that Frodo and Golem's faces were made out of blow all over the place and out of the television. I felt good because I was successfully following the snake and making God happy. And I began to realize, 'Hey! It doesn't really matter that God's evil because he's so powerful that you have no choice but to love Him 'cause if you don't, he'll completely destroy you! I love God!'
And, strangely enough, this was a happy thought at the time. Earlier, I decided that I hated God because He was being a real asshole to me and when I started to think that I hated Him, I could feel Him reflect the hate back onto me a trillion times stronger. And once I loved Him and gladly followed His orders, I was happy and the trip was just starting to turn good again.
Then Ian turned off the television and all the fractal patterns and multi-colored sand disappeared and I felt like a small part of me had died. Uh, why the fuck would you do that, Ian?! The snake was in there! Then God whispered to me telepathically, 'Follow Ian...Follow the snake...Follow Ian...Follow the snake...' But how was I supposed to follow Ian if he was just sitting there on the couch?
Ian then stood up and I stood up and walked closer to him because I was gonna follow that motherfuckin' snake all the way out of Zeesersow. Ian told me to just sit down on the couch and relax, but like, no, I had to follow the snake. And I actually did realize that there was a separate world back on Earth where Ian lived and that the Ian that lived on Earth was not going to understand what I was going through so I was going to have to explain it to him. The problem was that I was only able to communicate in beatnik poetry and was not able to distinguish between what I was saying aloud and what I was saying telepathically. Oops.
I started to try to tell him that since I had to follow the snake, he was going to have to just keep walking around outside and I was going to have to keep following him until I had successfully escaped from Zeesersow. That sounds pretty logical. Now, this is difficult enough to explain sober. And on acid, it didn't quite come out right. There were these sentences I was directing at Ian, but I could tell as they were coming out that they sounded a lot more like beatnik poetry than normal human speech. 'The snake...Follow...I need to follow...Forward motion...Need you to walk forward outside... let'stakeawalkoutside...the snake' or something like that. And I honestly have no clue how much of this I successfully said aloud and how much of it I was just staring at him with monstrous pupils and not saying anything because it was telepathic. I could tell by the look on Ian's face that he did not understand.
'Uh, you're really starting to freak me out, man!'
'The snake?' That was probably telepathic.
'Uh, why don't you, uh, just go back to your room. I need to...do some thinking before I go to my doctor's appointment.'
And this is when I had to play 'The Game.' This is why people climb over the barbed wire fence of a government research building and get arrested like this other kid at my college did while on a massive amount of shrooms. When somebody comes between you and the snake, even if, ironically, that somebody is the snake, bad shit can happen. And thank God my room was next door.
STAGE 6: THE GAME- Ian led me into the hallway, went back into his room, and closed the door on me. Uh, WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THAT, IAN?! YOU'RE THE SNAKE! God told me to follow the snake and I was now locked outside of the room that the snake was in. This was no good. I felt like Ian had just thrown me out of an airplane without a parachute. I was really fucked now.
But then I realized that God intended this to happen. This was all part of 'The Game.' I remembered now. I had played this game before. The snake had actually left Ian and God wasn't going to tell me where it was anymore. I was going to have to figure this out for myself. And I was going to have to make sense of every little detail that had happened so far on the trip. Everything was a clue. Every little detail along the way had hardcore symbolic meaning. Everything was a symbol. And God was done talking to me. I was going to have to escape from Zeesersow on my own.
'Oh, I get it.' I said this out loud to no one with huge pupils acting like a monkey with C.P. in the middle of the hallway, yes. I mean really I said it to God, but onlookers would have been pretty confused as to what was going on with me. Luckily, everyone else was asleep in their rooms by this point. And 'Oh, I get it' was the best sentence I had gotten out of my mouth in a while. I was proud of that sentence. And, clearly, I was gonna have to go to my room and figure out where the snake went.
I followed my hand with my eyes as I pulled my room key out of my pocket and slammed it in the keyhole as I was being sucked toward the door. And then I was sucked into sitting down in my chair in front of my desk and laptop computer. There were a ton of icons on my desktop, but I couldn't make any of them out. It looked like a blur of alien symbols. And then it hit me like a truck. The one-eyed midget claymation skeleton playing chess by himself, the chessboard on the quad, Prince of Persia, Tetrisland, and now 'The Game.' They were all games! And this game I was playing now, scrambling to find meaning in completely arbitrary things, was the game I had been playing my whole life. Life is a game! Work with me here, I was on a lot of acid.
Life is a game we think we're playing with other people, but really, we're just playing by ourselves. We're all just playing chess by ourselves. We're all living in a fake reality trapped inside our own brains assigning meaning to completely meaningless sensory information and making everything and everyone into symbols. Everything is a symbol of our own creation. Everything we see and everything we experience has more to do with us than it has to do with anything or anyone else because everything is only the way we perceive it.
Everyone else's personality is really just an aspect of our own personality that we assign to them to make sense of the, uh, 'personality data' they've presented us with or something. But it's not who they really are. And we filter out everything that gets in the way of our ability to believe that things have meaning and we are all therefore basically 'following the snake' and not realizing it. Or something. And, above all, we spend our whole lives just looking in the mirror because everything else... is really just us. And we will all never really get to know anyone else or anything else ever!
Now, I mean, that's all basically just a corny way of explaining common sense ideas that I already knew anyway. Yeah, we're all stuck in our own biased brains. Get over it. But on that much acid, I was feeling that shit rather than just thinking it and it was really fucking intense.
I was still determined to escape from Zeesersow and return to my fake life right where it left off. And playing 'The Game' by figuring out the rest of the clues of the trip was the only way to do this. And I was running out of time. I felt like I was James Bond and God was Dr. No or Goldfinger or Blofeld or somebody and he had put me in one of those stupidly complex traps with a timer and he was laughing at me thinking I'd never get out of it. I'd be stuck in Zeesersow forever.
But I was gonna prove that fucker wrong. I had to focus on turning back into my fake Earth identity. I remembered my Earth name, but not a whole lot else. How was I supposed to turn back into myself if I couldn't remember a goddamned thing about myself?
Then I remembered Rob offering me the swigs of alcohol. This was a clue. Then I realized that drinking must be the first step in returning to Earth. That's where the snake went. It went into some kind of drink. So I bolted over to the fridge with my hands still dangling by my head, grabbed my roommate's bottle of milk, and drank that fucker right down like my life depended on it, which I thought it did. I could tell I was making progress.
Then there was the song, 'Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus' by Frank Zappa. I listened to this song on repeat right after I dosed and it had been playing in my head over and over earlier in the trip. Clearly, I was gonna have to have this song playing over and over to get back to Earth. And the CD it was from, The Grand Wazoo, was still in my walkman sitting on my desk. So I grabbed the walkman, shoved the headphones in my ears, and I realized that the room was FINALLY gonna fill with some goddamned music like Dan had said. Except not in a good way. The instant the song started playing, I got mind's eye visuals of enormous hollow Keebler elf trees filling my room. I realized this was an omen of things to come if I set the volume too high. So, to solve my potential tree infestation problem, I turned the volume way down.
As I sauntered in circles around my windy dorm room listening to my walkman and making strange gestures with my hands, it began to dawn on me that God, Zeesersow, and the snake were all a bunch of drugfucked nonsense. This was a relief. However, I now had an equally serious problem on my hands. Had the acid made me permanently insane? I struggled to remember anything about the college kid who had accidentally ingested an extraordinary amount of lysergic acid and I couldn't come up with much. His name was Will Nichols, but what else? I still wasn't him. But I used to be. Could I ever be him again? I felt like my brain was completely rearranged and I now had to perform brain surgery on myself to return it to the way it was before I did acid. And playing this nutty game with nearby objects and clues from the trip was the only way to reassemble my brain so that I was Will Nichols again.
I looked at my laptop screen again and I could now make out all the desktop icons. I was making progress. Although the captions of the icons looked like they were written in Klingon. I still had a ways to go. The laptop screen then changed to a screensaver of stars flying by and it felt like a window out of my dorm room spacecraft as it was returning to Earth at the speed of light. I realized this was not literally the case, but it felt like a pretty good metaphor for the progress I was making. And this was the end of 'The Game.'
STAGE 7: STARTING TO COME DOWN- All I had to do was sit it out and come down. I looked over at my digital alarm clock and I successfully read it to be about 6:00 A.M. That meant it had been ten hours since I dosed. I figured in another two hours, I'd remember everything about myself and I'd be completely sober and I'd go to sleep and all would be well with the world.
But everything was basically going well. I eventually got tired of listening to 'Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus' on repeat, so I turned off my walkman, took the headphones out of my ears, and stared at my laptop screen as I got more strange mind's eye visuals. Then I heard the door to Ian's room open. He was going off to his doctor's appointment. But then I noticed that it was past 8:00 A.M. and I was still tripping. This meant it had been over 12 hours since I had dosed. And I had read on the internet that an acid trip never lasts more than 12 hours under any circumstances. Hmm.
STAGE 8: WHY AM I STILL TRIPPING?!/ AM I STILL TRIPPING?!- Being the optimist that I am, I thought to myself, 'Well, maybe that means 12 hours after I started really tripping and not just twelve hours after I dosed. So, I bet in another hour or so, I'll be sober.' No such luck. 'Well, maybe it means 12 hours after I started tripping hardcore as opposed to that puny, windy, Busta Rhymes shit. So, yeah, I'll be sober in another couple hours.'
When it got to be noon on Saturday and I was still tripping, I was no longer an optimist. Am I stuck like this? Am I gonna be tripping the rest of my miserable life? Have I become one of those legendary 'acid casualties'? Was letting an unstable gay southerner with a fake British accent decide how much LSD I put in my body the biggest mistake of my life?
I now remembered everything about myself, but all my memories still seemed a distant, surreal blur. I also felt like even if I did eventually become sober again, I would be a completely different person from now on. Had the acid completely changed me? And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't even remember what it felt like to be sober. I was still completely depersonalized. I looked down at my arms and they still seemed to be just as much a part of the scenery as everything else. I looked around the room and everything looked like it was slowly moving forward on its own. I was still getting mild mind's eye visuals and I still felt like I was getting ever so slowly and slightly sucked forward as I was sitting at my desk. I could now read English words and actually think pretty clearly, but what the fuck was wrong with me? It couldn't have been the acid at this point, could it? It was supposed to be long out of my system by now.
The sounds of people walking outside my door gave me mind's eye visuals of a huge gray robot with fork-lift arms stomping through the dorm hallway. Then someone on my hall started blasting 'Everything is in its Right Place' by Radiohead. I'm not a big Radiohead fan and everything was definitely not in its right place. But the song gave me mind's eye visuals of a deep blue control panel with little robot heads and this was oddly comforting.
Then the burping started. I burped a lot that Saturday. And every time I burped, I felt like I was getting just a little more sane. This was probably just a placebo mind game I was playing with myself, but who knows?
But then things got really shitty. It was now 8:00 P.M. on Saturday and I was still tripping. It had been 24 hours since I dosed. It was beginning to seem like God was right. I'd never escape from Zeesersow. I fucked up my brain for life. I now had the forbidden knowledge of what it feels like to be incurably insane and I had forgotten how to feel any other way. But real schizophrenia's a walk in the park compared to what I experienced. All real schizophrenics do is hear voices and think the government is after them. I dealt with shit way more hardcore than that, albeit briefly.
Then I got a mind's eye visual of my mom's face looking at me and crying. Her son's brain was permanently damaged from doing a drug. I couldn't face her. I knew what I had to do. I'd wait a couple of days and if I was still tripping, I'd go to the university hospital. If the doctors told me there was nothing they could do and I'd be stuck like this for the rest of my life, I'd jump in front of the train that comes through campus and end it all.
But then things got way better. By 9:00 P.M., I could feel it wearing off. I knew for the first time that I was returning to the proud, stiff world of sobriety. But I still worried that I'd never be the same again. I laid down on my bed and pictured myself slowly flying off into the sunset on a magic carpet with two dark-skinned people I didn't recognize. What? Who are you? Whatever. I was still pretty dazed and confused.
I took off my headphones, turned off my laptop, and decided I was finally able to sleep. I didn't feel like I was tripping anymore, but I still only felt about 37% normal. I wondered if I'd be the same person I was before I did acid when I'd wake up on Sunday. I was still so confused that I literally hoped I wouldn't have permanently adopted the personality of someone I had seen during my trip, such as Ian, Rob, Dan, and Walt. I didn't want to turn into any of them. I wanted to be the same old me again. Give me a break, I was coming off drugs and I was very sleep-deprived. I looked at my clock and saw it was 10:00 P.M. 26 hours. I struggled to breathe as I fell asleep thinking to myself, 'I'll never do an hallucinogen again. I'll never do an hallucinogen again. I'll never do an hallucinogen again.'
CONCLUSION- 'Hell, I'd do it again.' That was my first thought waking up early Sunday afternoon. And why the hell not? That was one nutty Native-American ride. I had survived a beatnik nightmare multiplied by a skeleton festival in a paranthesis of ego death and Native-American horror to the power of an evil God. Could it really have been much worse? And I'm fine afterwards? Hell, this acid stuff must be pretty harmless afterall.
And I did it again two weekends later. I mean, I did less. I did two hits of that same batch and watched a cartoon with Donald Duck and a bunch of Nazis dancing around and heiling Hitler. And shockingly enough, this was a good trip.
But what the hell is acid, anyway? And how seriously should I take it? Is the center of the universe really just a bunch of dancing beatniks and one-eyed midget claymation skeletons? Where is the universe? What is the sound of a one-handed clap? Why do most people love things that suck? What is college? Is it all a sick joke? Is life really just a game?
Even if life is a game, you might as well win it. If an hallucinogenic drug changes your life or your worldview, you are too much of a flake to have done it in the first place. But if you've got your head screwed on tight and you've got a sense of humor, acid is great fun. There is nothing funnier or crazier than a massive dose of acid. And, hell, like dreams, there probably is a little bit of valid insight underneath all that craziness. But, uh, take it with a grain of salt.
But do acid. Or don't do acid. I don't care. I'm gonna keep doing it. I'm gonna find one-eyed midget skeletons to play chess with, have telepathic conversations with dancing beatniks, walk on chessboards, follow snakes, watch pharmacies turn into the Pearly Gates of Heaven, watch myself disappear, visit places in the universe we're never supposed to see, and get screamed at by God all while you brag to your pussy emo friends that you were once so drunk that you fell over in a bush. Wuss. And you're asking me if I'm glad that unstable, ambiguously gay southerner with a fake British accent gave me way too much acid my first time? And I'm answering that question with a question. Is a frog's ass watertight?
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