The Selected Quirks of Madjag
The Madjag Chronicles were compiled as memoirs and mental snapshots of my experiences during the 1978-1982 guerrilla growing years in Madjag Canyon and beyond. Importing weed from Mexico, lining up connections with the Colombians, and living for months in Jamaica to set up a 1/2 ton Ganja flight were some of my subsequent adventures. In recent years I have been a medical marijuana grower, a pollen chucker, and an Admin/Moderator for several online cannabis forums.
Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword
“He not busy being born is busy dying.”
– Bob Dylan
Lest we forget, it’s our mission to evolve. Change is inevitable so why not become your own Change Agent? Become the primary creative force in your life and seek out ways to go beyond the beyond….
Authentic Presence is a Tibetan Buddhist term that I learned about through the writings of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. A crazy wisdom yogi who loved sake, Trungpa entered the western world and became the first to define Tibetan Buddhism in ways that Westerners could truly understand. By being in our world fully, he was able to see through our sunglasses and experience our world view. This first-hand knowledge gave him the ability to easily move between two worlds and become the Oracle necessary for reaching Western minds. His simple clarity and humorous way of explaining Tibetan Buddhism is brilliant.
Some of my friends never did seem to get outside of themselves, though. They allowed their life to be one of a victim instead of taking credit for being a creator. I’m sure you’ve had your share of suicide friends, too. The first friend that kills himself is always a shock. We knew them so well, we think, yet how did this event slip by us? Why didn’t we see it coming and work to prevent it?
My dear friend Michelle took herself way too seriously. She allowed her inner Judge to deliver a guilty verdict. She accepted what her Mind told her without question. Her shame and remorse for certain events was so great that she believed she needed to be punished, that she needed to die. And so she did by her own hand.
“Suicide victim” sounds like there is no one to blame and that it somehow happened to that person without them having anything to do with it. What, the world did it to them? Ah ha! That’s the crux. It’s as if we want to pardon them for what has “happened” to them, but nothing has happened to them. They did it 100% all by themselves.
We all have guilty thoughts at times and it’s not unusual for shame to pop in and out of a healthy person’s life. For some more, for some less. This is no surprise. What is surprising, though, is that some folks believe most everything that they hear or see in their mind as if it’s “true”. They base their entire guilty verdict and case upon info that they themselves came up with. But wait, that’s cheating. They need to find an impartial judge and let them decide, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works.
Accidental suicides like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are a different sort of animal, one that hides a different sadness and motivation. My closest, oldest friend George was on that train and just couldn’t get off. He was busted carrying 10,000 hits of acid and a few ounces of coke while driving back to Phoenix from LA. To pass the time he took a nice big Black Beauty, that’s pharmaceutical speed, and was pulled over by California State Highway Patrol doing 88 mph in a 70 mph zone. His wealthy father hired a top attorney and the judge ultimately said that George could go into the Armed Forces, into jail, or into college. He chose college and graduated Cum Laude from medical school as an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist and surgeon.
George never really had the “calling” to be a healer. A few months after he had started his private practice he told me that on one day he’d be telling a doomed patient that he couldn’t operate on their throat cancer because it was too advanced and had spread too widely throughout their body and on the next day he would be listening to a family pouring praise upon him because he had saved their young boy’s life by repairing his massively-fractured face, a face that had hit a tree head-on at 20 mph, propelled from a tumbling ATV.
The emotional roller coaster ride was too much Geo’s heart and soul so he went back to his comfortable drug world for pain relief, this time as his own doctor. Need a prescription? No problem.
One day his wife of only 2 weeks found him collapsed and dead in the kitchen. Apparently his breathing had stopped from first drinking a few beers and following that with a Demerol chaser injected directly into his butt muscle. This is flirting with death, as any doctor knows, because the dose that kills is so close to the dose that doesn’t when you start mixing alcohol and intravenous pain killers.
All morning on that day it seemed that everything was going wrong for me at work 300 miles away in Sedona. I was truly upset and I didn’t know why I was making so many mistakes. I felt shaky somehow. When the phone rang around lunchtime and a lady friend’s voice said, “Doctor George is dead”, it all became clear. I burst into tears as if my body had been waiting for my consciousness to catch up with the pain it had perceived hours before. Oh George, oh man….
I don’t go to funerals so I wrote his mother and father instead. It was a short note that let them know how much I owed their dear son and how much I cared for him. I told them that because of my early college friendship with him I had come to visit and ultimately moved to Arizona where I have lived for 47 years since that day; I told them that the yard sale Geo told me to visit was where I met my future wife and the mother of my two daughters; I mentioned that I even hear an echo of George’s laugh every time I laugh. I absorbed a bit of it over the many years of his hilarious antics that were accompanied by his madman laugh. He was the Joker for sure, the Coyote, the Trickster in the flesh and I was just an amateur in his shadow.
Even more crazy was the fact that his other close friends, ones he knew long before we met, were even greater Tricksters and George had actually been their student. When I met the biggest Jokester of them all, Steve-O, I soon learned why.
Steve had a secret lab in northern Cali, tucked deep into the woods not far from Redway. There, the Country Tavern, on the road to Shelter Cove, was his headquarters in the Emerald Triangle’s booming cannabis sector. Though homegrown weed was king Steve had followed a different call entirely. He had a chemist and together they made extremely pure, pharmaceutical-quality LSD. Steve distributed the acid across the West through a network of close friends like George. It was a tight operation that never crashed and burned over the many years it operated from that redwood forest laboratory. Steve-O was basically insane, but being a bad-ass, he was able to keep ahead of the curve that inevitably had to eat him, too.
I was one of George’s testers and when he returned from Cali with a new batch of acid, I would be one of the first to give it a whirl. This fine acid started as a liquid and was somehow poured and mixed into an ounce of rice flour or some other similarly benign substance. The ounce of powder could be combined with 15 more ounces of flour as a filler to make a pound of street-ready acid. 1,000’s of capsules and many hours later, that pound would be transformed into a decent bucket of acid caps, single hits, ready for local dealers to offer up to their loyal customers.
Some dealers preferred buying the powder and doing the capping themselves, partly because some of these questionable characters would cut the powder even more and have 25%, maybe 50% more caps to sell. Capitalism was certainly practiced in the drug world, too, and the type of dealer who’d hang out on the street in Boulder on “The Hill” was just the kind you’d expect to have a pocketful ready to sell to anyone who asked, “Got any acid man?”.
If you’ve ever had pharmaceutical-grade LSD you’ve experienced something that cannot be explained with words. It isn’t something to take lightly or to play with in large doses. Mix and match, you say? Why not? Be like another friend I met back in the early 70’s who used to shoot speed and acid together and then drive a cab all night in Denver. He confided to me that he estimates that he did maybe 200 doses that way before he woke up one day face down with the needle still in his bruised and bleeding arm. When I met G-man he couldn’t finish a sentence. I’d ask him what he was doing now that he lived in Jerome and he would answer, ”Well, I’m, uh, I have, uh, moved to, uhhhh, I’ve moved to, uhhhh, a small, ummm, uhhh, and, ummm…….”
Two years later, after giving up all alcohol, drugs, weed, and becoming a vegetarian G-man could actually finish a sentence. But I digress, in the name of words to the wise.
Let’s go to the party instead!
George said that Steve loved to play tricks on people. His main magic was to spike them with a large dose of acid slipped into their food or drink. For acid-heads or even experienced weed smokers, the initial rush would reveal that you were in for a ride. It wouldn’t be entirely unfamiliar or spooky and you could get ready. On the other hand, for the first time acid subject, the effects could be anything from groovy to terrifying, usually both! In all my years I have never been spiked and am grateful for be spared that excitement. I’ve seen even experienced trippers go off the deep end and spiral down into dark territory. I’ve always felt that spiking was a bad karmic move. Soon I’d realize just how bad it could get when George began his tale from his most recent Cali drug resupply trip.
Steve had met George in the San Francisco bay area on this particular visit. Steve wanted to share some of the highlights of the north bay around Oakland and Berkeley where he had spent a lot of his time earlier before moving north to the Emerald Triangle. Many of Steve’s biggest acid contractors lived there. I mean, why not with 100,000+ students, loads of hippies, and endless VW vanloads of young people flooding in from all over the USA in order to be a part of the groovy scene in the Haight-Ashbury district, Berkeley, and Golden Gate Park. The year was 1972 and the time was right for change. Like so many other I, too, had moved. I hitch-hiked to San Francisco and found a place to live in the Noe Valley district of so that I could study Aikido at the excellent SF Aiki-Kai in the Mission. I had dreamed of such an adventure and finally made it real.
Steve took George and his two Arizona friends, Larry and David, on a unique bar tour that included a final stop at a dive-bar and topless joint. This club was in a rough neighborhood, but no worries, it catered to anyone and everyone who could afford a drink and perhaps a tip for the ladies on stage. After settling in at a table near the back of the club, Steve left the others and began walking around the place with a big pitcher of beer, visiting table after table and talking loudly to all sorts of drunken men who were out for a good time. Steve would hang for a while at a table, pour the fellows there a few refills from his big glass beer pitcher, and then move on to another table repeating the same motions. Finally, when he was finished with this unusual bar room routine, Steve left his pitcher on one of the tables and walked back to George’s table.
To George and his Arizona companions it seemed like Steve was everybody’s new best friend. He seemed totally at ease just crashing in on each table and shooting the shit for a few minutes before sliding on over to the next group. What Geo and crew didn’t know was that most of these guys were off-duty men from two nearby military bases. The topless bar was one of their prime hangouts and it catered to soldiers and sailors in more ways than one. Steve knew this and had planned all along to provide Geo and his buddies with the show of their lives.
10-15 minutes after Steve had begun his initial bar room visits there seemed to be a bit of disturbance festering at one of the tables. Nothing though that wouldn’t pass for drunk testosterone boys facing off over some nasty comment or sarcastic joke. It just rose up out of the audience a bit louder and harsher than one would expect. Like an echo, across the room a few other tables mirrored this energy and several guys started getting real loud. Suddenly one soldier climbs up onto the dance stage and corners one of the ladies in mid-action, trying to engage in some sort of sexual dance that wasn’t cool by any means. Large hands soon lifted this kid off the stage and into a corner where the bouncers, probably motorcycle gang members making a little money working part-time, pinned him mercilessly against the wall while telling him what’s what. As they were occupied with this first troublemaker, other soldiers began fighting, climbing on the stage, throwing glasses, grabbing the dancers, you name it and the club’s bouncers had no possible way of handling the decaying scene. It was pure chaos…
By this time Larry and David were getting scared, stood up, and backed up to the far wall at the of the rear of the crazy place. They were looking for a way out. George joined them and together they moved slowly toward the doors that led to the street, following the wall and avoiding any fights or crazy kids who might drag them into the melee. They had just about made it when the double entry doors flew open and a crowd of SWAT team officers jammed into the bar with shields raised and clubs swinging. My friends stood still against the wall as the commotion deeper within the joint attracted the police. Though they were scared as shit, Geo and crew continued to move with their backs along the wall until they slipped out the front doors. Lots of bodies were going in and out at that point so they got lucky and hit the road, never looking back.
When they regrouped later that day at Steve’s Oakland house, there he was, sitting on the porch of the old cottage and grinning like a happy Santa. George and the boys knew what had happened by that point, but just to clarify, Steve launched into the details of how he had used an ounce of pure acid powder that he had in his pocket and had poured gobs of it into the many pitchers of beer that he had been sharing and leaving around the bar room. By his reckoning, most of those boys had taken at least 10-20 hits of acid each. They’d be tripping for days.
A few days later a local north bay newspaper related that the bar incident had lead to its permanent closing. Geo and crew went back to AZ with his doctor’s bag full of shiny, crystalline powder and a bright, psychedelic future for Scottsdale, Phoenix, Boulder, and Denver. As the Universe would have it, Steve-O soon met Captain Karma himself when a friend that he had spiked got him back and sent Steve on an unexpected and intensely trippy vacation. Ever the good sport, Steve got the poor guy on the floor and punched him out pretty badly, setting himself up for an even freakier acid trip due to his retaliation and anger. What a sport he was.
A Jamaican proverb worth remembering: “Dirty game play twice”.