When my parents first visited me in the dorms, they were unprepared for the hellish spectacle that awaited. As a child, I’d always considered the Catholic blandishments of the film “The Sentinel” some strong-ass meat. After a couple years in the dorms, public sexual congress between bleached blond tobacco family druids and closely shaven Apocalypse Now extras was nothing to raise an eyebrow about.  I did have to  attempt to explain the drunk naked  girl sweeping her vomit up in the hallway just across from my room. “Pledge week”, I offered. They were strangely satisfied.

I never had a clear idea  if I was living in a dorm room or a  Piranesi carceri, but  almost miraculously, through the munificence of North Carolina’s Outlaws biker gang, my parent’s departure coincided with a flood of cheap blotter acid in the dorms. I was unaware of this development until the guitarist for my band informed me we were about to make historic inroads on the structure of local music. Unfortunately our bassist was on tour with the university jazz band, and ultimately would not recoup his investment in the future. We ate his share of the four way hit as a kind of tribute .

I didn’t know that time had folded until I decided I needed a carbonated beverage of any description to wash the terrible dryness from my throat, and we advanced on the vending machine in the dorm lobby. I fidgeted briefly with the change in my pocket, and tentatively moved my forearm toward the machine. The machine gave me my selection without my having touched it. My wife says this is common. As it turned out , it was a harbinger of another fucked-up day in the dorms.

Music hadn’t gotten me laid much, at that point, and  I was counting on some sonic breakthrough that would make me a sort of pussy lord, or , at the very least get me a 30k job with the local recording industry, so I could caution young rockers against the perils of drugs and whores; then see what bonus was left over for me. But ultimately, music took a twelve-string Rickenbacker and shoved it up my ass sideways.

My early efforts were based on the philosphical infallibilty of Neil Young and gradually shifted to the disturbing subtleties of Albert Goldman, leading directly to this lyric:

Good morning flower In the sparkling clear syringe

My veins have grown a rose. I push it back to its bed beneath my skin.

And now I stand in God’s applause.

Nice, if I’d ever done heroin.

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