Dowd’s Downer

by Steed Dropout
June 13, 2014


Dysphoria. Photo by Ted Friedman.

When Maureen Dowd, a star New York Times reporter, screwed up with a pot-club marijuana edible in Colorado, recently, she faced a reporter’s dilemma. Should she write a tell-all or wait to be scooped on her own life?

Her tell-all was a public service spot, with Dowd telling us, essentially, “kids, don’t try this at home,” while filling us in on how to use edible THC.

Her editors must have been weak-kneed with delight. There’s just something sort of pro-pot about the Times but I can’t prove it. I suspected this when the Times ran a news obit a few years ago on Berkeley’s most famous pot Doc., Psychiatrist, Tod H. Mikuriya.

Mikuriya was a pioneer advocate (and user of) medical marijuana. You could feel between the lines the Times dug his message.

Dowd’s dysphoric debacle drew the usual slobbering crowds on-line. I had a pot- dysphoria disaster a thousand times worse than hers. So read on, you slobberers, if you really want something to slobber over.

The year is 1967, the Summer of Love in San Francisco, when everyone was sure to wear a flower in his hair, according to lyrics at the time. I was living a few miles from the Haight-Ashberry, attending SF State. Across the bay, in Berkeley, Country Joe mcDonald, a Telegraph Avenue busker, was famous for an early anti-Vietnamese war song, “The ‘Fish’ Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag.” McDonald had caused a run on bananas that emptied a Berkeley food co-op’s shelves of bananas. Donovan picked up on what is now known as the great banana peel hoax. Donovan’s song was, “They Call it Yellow Mellow.”

In the turn-of-the-century oven in the turn-of-the-century victorian on a hill in SF’s Excelsior District that my wife and daughter and I rented for $115, I baked banana peelings and smoked them.

When that didn’t work, I bought a lid (ounce) of marijuana for $15 (now $400+) and baked that in a cake and ate the whole cake. Then my wife and 3-year-old-daughter and I hopped into our 1961 Mercedez and headed for a nearby drive-in to watch Divorce American Style with Debbie Reynolds.

Soon enough I knew things were not right. Reynolds’ breasts had grown. Later this happened in the movie, the Banger Sisters, with Goldie Hawn’s expansive breasts. “That’s not right,” the woman seated behind me blurted out. “She’s flat chested.” The woman had arrived after Hawn had announced she’d been augmented.

But here was Debbie Reynolds, whose chest had grown. I had to clear this up, but as I stared at her neglige breasts. Hot guilt scorched me. I looked over at my wife; tears streamed down her face. My daughter was streaming tears in her car seat.

“Something’s wrong with me,” I told my wife. “Drive me home.”

We left Reynolds’ breasts and headed home. The tall wooden stairs to the Victorian’s front door were like steps in a castle. Beasts from a moat snapped at my ankles.

My wife called our daughter’s doctor. I saw an imaginary Chronicle banner head-line announcing that I, a recent hire at the University of Hawaii, had been arrested on drug charges.

“What’s going to happen to me?” I wailed to the doctor. “That’s a matter for the police,” the thoughtful doc volunteered. I heard every crackle and pop on the phone line, as if I were talking to Europe.

I was instructed to drink soap suds to vomit, but the soap suds tasted like lemonade. “I can’t even puke,” I moaned. I thought my life was ruined.

I was not the same for more than a year, if ever. I had a small nervous break-down in Hawaii and thought I was dying from blood poisoning when I dropped a fruit can on my bare toe and it became infected.

I asked Tod Mikuriya, the famous Berkeley pot-doc about what I had done back in the day. “Doc, who would do something this stupid?”

Mikuriya had a booming radio announcer’s voice. ”A doctor would be stupid enough to do this,” he boomed.

“Doctor’s have no respect for the effects of drugs.”

Let the slobbering begin. And Maureen Dowd, I hope you read this.

These views do not represent those of the publications in which my work appears.

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