RETROSPECT

RETROSPECT

We Were Jammin’

In my second year at Cornell my family were happy because they thought they could finally stop worrying about me. I don’t know why they worried so much; I thought I was doing fine. Of course, I was still a virgin, but so what? I had some pretty deep crushes: one on Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, the other was on Alan Ladd in the movie Shane. Anyway, we were all on the quad to take part in the new art form, a Happening. We covered an entire car in strawberry jam. It was a long hot day and by the end of it I was convinced I would never eat jam again.


The teacher who organized the Happening told me he was from San Francisco and he had dropped acid with the Indians. Which Indians did he mean, I wondered: the ones in the movies? He also said he wanted me to help when he did this Happening again at Franconia College. I didn’t want to help this guy do anything, but when he told me I would get credit, I agreed. On the drive there he talked about looking for mushrooms in the woods and how much fun the Happening was going to be.


Franconia College was a place for stupid rich kids who couldn’t get into a better college. Upon our arrival we were immediately warned, “Don’t get into the swimming pool because if you do you will get clap of the eyeball.” These students were real hippies. There was dog shit in the buildings and some of the kids were living in teepees in the woods.


I went up on the roof to get high. Just as I was opening my trusty little pill bottle and preparing to flush my brains down the toilet with a dose of the pharmaceutical amphetamine that my father was giving my mom to help her clean our apartment faster, I heard a distinctly feminine whimpering.


You didn’t want to hear somebody crying directly after taking as much speed as I had; it could send you down a very dark hallway. My choice was either to push her off the roof or ask her what the matter was. She was a tiny fragile girl and what came out of her mouth truly presented a predicament:


“I don’t have a boyfriend so when they want sex they come after me and I have to do it because sex is free now and everyone has to do it and I love it, but I can’t do it so much… so I hide up here. ”


“Why don’t you just say No?” I volunteered bluntly.


“And get ostracized… I just take acid, it makes it easier.”


“No shit… well, you can come back to New York with us if you want.”
“Oh no, I can’t.”


“Why not?”


“What about my education?”