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. I mean, if my arm left my field of vision, it might like disappear or something. I had to make sure it was still there. And as I turned the key, I could feel it in my chest like the door was a part of me.

I burrowed through a wind tunnel to the mirror over my sink and saw a beating human heart coming out of my lip. This was unpleasant, but I knew it wasn't real. God was clearly trying to distract me from playing "The Game." And I wasn't gonna let Him.

And then I was sucked into sitting down in my chair in front of my desk and laptop computer. Fortunately, my narc roommate, Peter, was away at a slumber party with several of his platonic girlfriends. Literally. Unfortunately, I was slowly and surely getting sucked into my laptop screen. My desktop icons were a blur of strange alien symbols between me and the screen and the icon captions looked like they were written in Burmese.

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! Err...yeah.

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.

But, anyway, 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. This reminds me of Total Recall when the creepy psychiatrist guy tells Arnold Schwarzenneger to swallow the pill as a symbol of his desire to return to reality and then Arnold Schwarzenneger blows the guy's brains out. So, yeah, 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.

Now this all sounds slightly insane. And it makes one wonder about the degree of control I had at this point. I was clearly in an extremely suggestible state not unlike a terrible government mind-control experiment. Someone had said something about drinking, so I drank my roommate's milk. I had heard a song earlier, so I was determined to play the song again.

But what if the circumstances had been different? What if I had been sitting on a grassy knoll on a sunny Friday afternoon on November 22, 1963 with a loaded sniper rifle nearby? And what if someone had repeated the words "kill", "J.F.K", and "gun" throughout my trip? Kill...J.F.K....with a gun? Hell, there's a gun right there. And there's J.F.K., whaddaya know? I probably would have shot J.F.K. right in the green lizard tail growing out of his ass and sent that shape-shifting reptilian alien back to his home dimension David Icke style. And maybe I would have missed and hit him in the head. And coming down, I would've wondered if I had really killed the president. I was starting to see why the C.I.A. thought they might be able to brainwash people with this stuff.

Or maybe not. Did some separate sober part of me still have my best interests in mind? Well, the shroomer who got arrested climbing over the barbed wire fence didn't seem to have this luxury, so I probably didn't either. This is what sitters are for.

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. I remembered his name, 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 myself 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 Burmese. I still had a ways to go. I looked in the mirror and I no longer had a beating human heart coming out of my lip. I was making progress. Although the right side of my lower lip was hanging out of my mouth like Bill Murray in Caddyshack and my face was stuck in a strange, startled expression with monstrous pupils. 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- After a while longer of sauntering around in circles with headphones on in the windy spaceship, it dawned on me that this nutty game I was playing was also just a bunch of drugfucked nonsense. So I just down at my desk continuing to listen to "Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus" for the hell of it. But I was still tripping pretty hardcore and still didn't even remember much of anything about myself.

And then something terrible and unexpected happened. My roommate came back. Son...of a bitch. Uh, why the fuck would you do that, Peter? I'm on acid and you're a narc! This sucked hardcore. And to understand exactly how hardcore it sucked, you have to understand Peter.

Peter was exactly the kind of cute little gay-boy that women just want to breast-feed. He wasn't actually that short, but he had a very small frame and was very skinny and looked younger than he was. Every single one of Peter's friends was a girl, and almost all of them rarely if ever drank alcohol. Peter walked around like a princess trying to shake a fly off her head and literally said, "You go girl!" to one of his platonic girlfriends over the phone. My side of the room looked like the Holocaust and Peter's side of the room was spotless and even Peter's platonic girlfriends would tease him about being "anal." Insert "anal" joke here. Peter would often play hide-and-go-seek on the quad with his platonic girlfriends at night. When Ian asked one of Peter's platonic girlfriends if Peter was gay, she replied that Peter described himself as "asexual." Peter's favorite word was "EWWWW!"

Peter was a die-hard Republican, loved Fox News, loved Bill O'Reilly, and loved George W. Bush. I once asked Peter what he thought of Bill O'Reilly's sexual harassment scandal where he suggested to a secretary over the phone that she engage in some weird, wild three-way vibrator shit with him and someone else and he responded, "That's not true." I then asked why Bill O'Reilly would settle out of court if it wasn't true, and he again responded, "That's not true." Ian once asked Peter why he liked George W. Bush and Peter responded, "He's a good president." Ian then mentioned the Iraq war and Peter responded, "Well, he's just bombing them for a little while." Okay. Peter drove a BMW and paid $200.00 to have three poor black guys build a wooden loft bed for him when he could have just lofted his own damn bed for free in two minutes like everyone else that wanted a loft did. Peter's favorite phrase was, "Whatever, my parents will pay for it!"

Peter had literally never drank alcohol before and insisted that he never would. When one of his platonic girlfriends was acting goofy one day, he said, "Did you smoke like a pack of weed before you came here?" You read that right. A pack of weed. Okay. Ian once made a weird face at Peter and Peter replied, "Ewww, are you high? EWWWWWW, get away from me!!!" Peter also once said to me, "I should report Ian. I should just like put an anonymous letter under the R.A.'s door that says, 'Ian has a bong! I've seen it!'" Hookah, Peter. It's a hookah.

So, clearly, it sucked hardcore for Peter to walk in just then for two reasons. The first reason was that I didn't need to be thinking about Peter's "asexuality" on acid. I mean, what, one day, am I gonna lift up Peter's bed sheets and see twenty tiny little baby peters gasping for air that he birthed out on his own while I was in class? Bad trip.

But more importantly, it sucked hardcore for Peter to walk in just then because Peter was a hardcore narc. Peter played hide and go seek in the quad and I walked on a chessboard in the quad getting yelled at by God on acid. Peter had never drank alcohol before and here I was in the room with him completely bonkers on acid in the middle of a Native-American vision quest. Peter was considering reporting Ian for smoking weed and here I was on more acid than the dealers had ever done with monstrous pupils making strange gestures with my hands. Fuuuuuccccckkk.

But wait a minute. Peter was supposed to be at that slumber party with his platonic girlfriends. Why was he walking into our room at like six in the morning? Was he literally too much of a wuss to not get homesick at a sleepover party in fucking college? Yep. But it was definitely a good thing that he didn't come back any sooner. What would have happened if he had come back when I drank his milk and was trying to figure out where the snake went?

"Uh, why are you drinking my milk?"

"I'm..sorry, God...I...thoughtthatwas...the snake."


"The location of the snake...where is it?"

"Uh...are you drunk?"

"Yes...Peter, I'm drunk...where'sthesnake...Peter, where's the snake? I know...Peterdoesn'tknowwherethesnakeis...but whoever' up his eyes knowswherethesnakewent."

"Ewww, you smoked weed, didn't you? Ewwwww, I'm telling the R.A.! Ewwwww, get away from me!!!! EWWWWWW!!!!"

It would not have been good. It would not have panned out well. Peter would have woken up our morbidly obese R.A. named John Ross, John Ross's eyes would have lit up and he probably would have looked like one of those pig guys with axes in Return of the Jedi and Peter probably would have grown a green lizard tail out of his ass. And about an hour later, I would have been tripping in jail. Timing is everything.

I was sitting in front of my laptop at my desk listening to "Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus" making strange gestures with my hands when Peter walked in. Luckily, the lights in the room were already off so my monstrous pupils weren't as painfully obvious. Peter looked at me weird and then walked behind me to his mighty wooden loft. He was probably thinking to himself, "What a surprise. My roommate's drunk again."

Thankfully, Peter didn't say anything to me. Then again, he rarely ever did. I slowly turned my head around to see what Peter was doing and I saw that he was scratching his back with a stiff-as-a-board, dead rigor mortis racoon. Son of a bitch. That had to be the acid talking. There's no way Peter was actually scratching his back with a dead racoon. Was it just a mind's eye visual? No, I was pretty sure it was a real-as-my-hand hallucination. This would mean I still had quite a lot of coming down to do. But I wasn't about to turn around again to find out.

Peter climbed up into his mighty wooden loft and fell asleep. Now it seemed like I was finally safe. 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.

I then got some mind's eye visuals and telepathy of my crazy Lebanese woman Arabic 102 professor named Rima sitting in my roommate's butterfly chair telling me with her thick Lebanese accent, "Oh, yes! I remember doing acid in college! It was very strange!" Rima laughed as she said this. This was funny. Then I got mind's eye visuals and telepathy of my roommate's face warped halfway between his real face and Drew Barrymore's face saying in a combination of his own voice and Drew Barrymore's voice, "Come BACK to reality! Come BACK to reality!" The Peter/Drew Barrymore hybrid laughed as it said this. This was not nearly as funny and instead somewhat disturbing, especially since I hate Drew Barrymore.

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 around 8:00 A.M. I heard the door to Ian's room open. He was going off to his doctor's appointment. If he had really been on six acid, God help him. But he was sober and had probably just gotten some sleep.

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.

It was early Saturday afternoon and everyone was waking up. My roommate woke up, climbed down from his mighty wooden loft, got dressed, looked at me still sitting in front of my laptop, said nothing, and left the room for the day. 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. Good times.

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 looked for anything to distract myself as I continued to come down. I put my headphones in my laptop and listened to the first downloaded song I saw, "Fire on the Mountain" by the Grateful Dead.

Now I don't even really like the Grateful Dead very much. For improvisational music, I prefer jazz and live Zappa to that corny, bland hippy stuff. I had downloaded a few Grateful Dead songs out of curiosity and the only one I liked at all was "Fire on the Mountain." I don't think anyone knows what the hell the lyrics of this song are really about, but they seemed to take on a special significance for me at the time. "Long-distance runner, what you standin' there for?" I was a long-distance runner, alright. 25 hours.

I listened to "Fire on the Mountain" numerous times before listening to "Planet Caravan" by Black Sabbath on repeat. And with its soft bongos and vocals through a Leslie speaker, "Planet Caravan" may be the world's best coming down and falling asleep music. I kept the headphones on as 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. Those were four heavy-duty Native-American cards I was dealt that night, but I pulled it off. I 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 listening to Van Halen and then watched a cartoon with Donald Duck and a bunch of Nazis dancing around and heiling Hitler. It's called "Der Fuehrer's Face" and you can watch it on youtube. And shockingly enough, this was a good trip. One would think Donald Duck plus a bunch of Nazis and swastikas plus two hits of very strong LSD would equal bad trip, but this was not the case. It had nothing to do with hating Jews, World War II, or the Holocaust. The swastikas turned into "N"s to signify my last name. And, at the time, this meant that, in the future, I was going to be "the international symbol of rebellion." Uhhhh, ok.

And then I listened to "Heavy Duty Judy" by Frank Zappa and I felt like I was fucking my future half-black, half-Asian wife with Frank's guitar solo as she fucked me back with the rhythm section while the bass watched. Or something. And I got mind's eye visuals of the future and me and my woman were on both on acid getting a quicky wedding done in Las Vegas and an eccentric Taiwanese classmate of mine was the Justice of the Peace marrying us. And after he married us, he started conducting with his arms. Yeah, ok. I also decided that I should "love and respect women more" and "love my Mom more." Yeah, alright.

And this was all after I watched myself disappear in the mirror and narrowly escaped a bunch of cops as they were busting Ian's room for weed. My roommate Peter probably reported him. And Ian again claimed to be on six hits, but somehow I doubt it. And then Ian was expelled for weed, failing all this classes, and forging a doctor's note. Or he had to have back surgery near exam week so he decided to withdraw from our college and then transfer to American University in Cairo, Egypt. Or his dad's stock options fell through and could no longer afford our college. It depends on who you ask or when you ask Ian. And if you call Ian now, he'll tell you that he's living in an apartment nearby "making his own mescaline" for himself and planning on going to a very cheap nearby college and then going to grad school in Cairo to become an archaeologist and that his parents are bribing him with a new car to get him to move back in with them. Or if you ask someone else, he's "making his own mescaline" to sell to other people to pay for his college education. After a while, you really stop caring.

But what the hell is acid, anyway? What should I make of my Significant Native-American Experience? And how seriously should I take it? Am I really a failed messiah from Zeesersow? Will I really be the international symbol or rebellion one day? Will I really marry a hot half-black, half-Asian chick on acid in Las Vegas with an eccentric Taiwanese Justice of the Peace spontaneously conducting? 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 am I on the black fraternity's e-mailing list and why did these three black girls I've never seen before know my name and wave to me and laugh numerous times freshman year? Seriously, why? Did I blackout? 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. And I wouldn't worry about hallucinogenic drugs changing your life or your self in a way you don't want them to be changed. Although I wouldn't recommend them to people with anxiety problems or a loose grip on reality. 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 you've gotta do a lot. I did one hit of weak acid two different times later on and it was pretty worthless. Doing a small amount of acid is like going to another country and never leaving the airport. And the sad thing is that most people these days do two to four hits of weak-as-shit acid and go around telling people, "Yeah, acid's not as visual as you think. You won't see things that aren't there." Do more, dumbass. You'll see.

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 beating human hearts come out of my lip, watch green lizard tails grow out of people's asses, 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?