S*x and Dr*gs
It was in this apartment that I indulged in the joys of nitrous oxide. I had some conversations with John Lilly about ‘rapture of the deep’ and he turned me on to some research about recreational use of laughing gas.
I was referred to William James, a philosopher, who one hundred years ago tried to be objective about the rapture and deep feelings that could be obtained by using light doses of the gas. It is a fairly easy drug to obtain if you don’t mind inhaling on a whipped cream can facing upwards. It is much cleaner to get the gray whippets used to charge whipped cream dispensers and just omit putting cream in the container. You could blow your eardrums out if you were not careful to press softly on the dispenser handle. Once I found out how good it was, I illegally ordered a 165 pound charge of nitrous oxide in a five foot tall blue tank with a pressure regulator on it. By blowing up large balloons and putting a ping pong ball in the neck of the balloon you can sip with no danger of blowing your head off.
The secret of the experience is to hover in the twilight of consciousness, aware but free from the roof chatter of the brain that interferes with thoughtful and insightful meditation. You can strip away the layers of censorship and observe people or ideas or yourself without running off at the mouth.
This was the feeling and experience I had when I lost my tonsils and foreskin at five years old, the great heavenly chord, the tingle and vibration of my body, and the flash of fireworks, and the long tunnel into bliss. At five, I did not know what an orgasm was but I recognized it later in life.
Time seems to change and my observations of other people was that I could read their thoughts. I could see them blush or knew that they were telling a lie or concealing something. It was the closest thing to real magic or mentalism that I have ever experienced. If I could float out of my body at any time this would be it.
There are two dangers of nitrous oxide: it is highly flammable and therefore not compatible with pot smoking, and without the presence of oxygen it is fatal. It is so highly regulated in dentistry that most dentists do not want to fool with it. Special oxygen blenders must be tested and certified and in some areas must be secured from theft at all times.
Chronic use will cause a palsy or tremble to the hands. I was saddened by seeing the receptionist in my dentist’s office with the shaky hand symptom. It happens too often in the families and employees of dentists.
You should not use an oxygen mask to administer or you will surely die. Using the ping pong ball in the neck of the balloon or just holding the balloon neck is fairly safe. If you go unconscious the balloon just goes unattended and you start to breath air again.
The beauty of the drug is instantaneous high and a very quick recovery. By the time you could get out the door and start to drive a car you would be fully in control of your senses. The gas goes straight to your brain and begins to clear as soon as you start to breath normal air again.
It is reported, in ancient Greece the Oracles of Delphi had pools that bubbled up and that the priests and priestesses upon gathering the vapors of the pool could foretell the future and give answers to spiritual questions. The bubbles were nitrous oxide.
I found it more satisfying and more in control than the dangerous task of finding reliable LSD. Learning from John Lilly, I knew that taking LSD at a party is not wise, but having a handler and a controlled environment could be quite therapeutic. In my one and only LSD experience, I collected soothing classic music, paper and writing instruments, and set aside 24 hours to be totally committed to solitude and introspection.
I guided my expectations to a life review. How did I get here and what contributed to what I am at this moment? It was very similar to the process of writing this memoir. In my session, I began to talk and draw a diagram of my life. It was like a tree. I began to draw the roots and branches and labeled the branches, leaves, and twigs with the people and experiences I had. I could see the influence of my parents, teachers, scout masters, wives, and lovers. It all connected with me, the trunk. My vision of reality was that there was a visible part of the tree and a hidden part, the roots. Whatever it was, it was the past and the future, like two cones attached at the point which was the present. Thirty years later, I read a book about near death experiences where a common experience was that the dead were shown a picture of eternal life that was the image of two cones connected at the tips representing the past, present, and future. In all, the trip was worth it and I never had a desire to do it again and never had a flashback.
I wish I could find those notes I took.
Another drug popular with the sex crowd was amyl nitrate, a drug used by heart patients, in the form of ‘poppers’. Poppers were glass vials, encased in cotton and gauze that could be broken and sniffed to stimulate the heart and open capillaries in the brain to offset any shutdown due to stroke or heart failure. The little nitro pills placed under the tongue at the onset of a heart attack symptom are related in kick starting the blood system. Before Viagra there were poppers. Bolt was a variation of this drug that was sold in adult only stores in the big cities. It was a small bottle with a wick in the neck like an Airwick bottle. Popular with gay men, it was also a favorite of the straight swinging set. The base solvent is highly flammable and one celebrity has set himself on fire by soaking a joint with it. I haven’t seen a Vicks inhaler for years, but that is what I used to store my Bolt in. Like nitrous oxide, it hits in a flash and can be used to time events for either party in close encounters. This drug was thought to be related to AIDS before the real cause was discovered. I thought it might be dangerous and quit using it.
Alcohol is another story. It
legal and everywhere. Because of that, it is the most
dangerous and causes more deaths than any drug even though the victims
be users. Intellectually I knew I should quit, but in reality I could
not do it