-Leery of Leary

One positive thing about OCD is that you get stuff done. (Or, in my case, I underachieve if it’s something I’m not that interested in because I’m lazy and don’t want to commit.) But apply OCD to a fear you might have and you begin to see every conceivable way this fear can come to life—and act frantically.

As long as I can remember, I have had a paralyzing fear of LSD. I don’t know why hearing the stories and urban legends has hit me more than other people. I’ve often theorized that if there are past lives, maybe I died during a bad trip. I think it’s more a combination of getting it beaten into my susceptible brain at a young age from all angles.

First, there were those fliers passed out at school (or, in my case, Hebrew school) with the warning, “people are passing around decals to kids with blue stars and red pyramids. Don’t let them take them! It’s acid!” This was assuming that drug dealers would pass out drugs for free. Not so much, but as a kid that scared the crap out of me. So much so that I stopped getting boxes of Cracker Jacks. Who knows if those removable tattoo “prizes” aren’t switched out by some disgruntled factory worker with tabs of LSD?

Snack or poison?

Snack or poison?

Throw on a very weirdly plotted episode of Beauty and The Beast that consists of Vincent having a bad trip most of the time and that’ll mess you up. I mean, really? They couldn’t just allude to it? They had to show it through his eyes? Sigh.







Finally, there’s the trauma from one of the teachers in the gifted program I was in. Twice a week I’d be bussed to a school for “gifted” classes and one of the teachers—let’s call her Mrs. P—managed to incorporate graphic stories of her friends in the ’60s having bad trips and mutilating or even killing themselves into any subject. She was sweet but why? Sure, I mean, why wouldn’t you include a story about a woman burning her face on the flame of a stove when flashing back and thinking it’s a flower when you are teaching a class called “Young Astronauts” about space and NASA? There’s no better time to throw in a story about someone flashing back and driving off a cliff than in a class called “Cuisenaire Rods” about making art with blocks.

Then, during my teenage years, when I thought I could get past it, I was horrified during an episode of SNL when Helen Hunt was hosting, and they show a clip of an after school special about the negative effects of PCP. BTW, the person who posted this mistakenly thinks it’s about crank. Psh! If only…

I get to college, and, among other uncomfortable things my roommate did, he brought in a variety of drugs to sell to people (many of which he didn’t know and would bring in off the street) including LSD. Before Purell—that I’m not sure would have done any good anyway—I washed my hands profusely every time I touched something that was dorm room property in case he had been handling his stash while using the phone or refrigerator.

Now, I’m a lot less petrified. Oh, I still have issues. I mean, I didn’t even watch all of the links I posted here. I’ve taken to being more fearful of germs, not-turned-off stoves, and unlocked front doors. But still, part of me still watches my drinks at bars. You never know when you might end up coming back from the bathroom one minute and driving off a cliff, possibly made of colorful blocks, the next.


4 Responses to “-Leery of Leary”

  1. You ever hear of DMT–the strongest psychedellic known to science? It’s produced in most living things including you and me. It’s inside us right now! It’s easily neutralized by things in the body but sometimes–rogue scientists believe–it sneaks out and causes intense dreams, alien abductions, mystical experiences, etc.

  2. What about a pepper from a Guatemalan insane asylum? I’m glad you’re getting better with it.

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