Author’s Note: My friend and business partner, Don Judson, asked me recently if I’d seen the documentary, Pink Floyd – The Making Of The Dark Side Of The Moon. I hadn’t. But I fixed that this past weekend. Don and the film prompted this reflection.
Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album, The Dark Side of the Moon, was released on March 1, 1973. I was 19 years old. I lived in a fleabag, third-floor, walk-up apartment on Goodwill Avenue in Meriden, Connecticut, my hometown.
That summer, my third as a lifeguard, a long-haired stoner (as was I) who lived in a fleabag, third-floor, walk-up apartment across the street, played The Dark Side of the Moon loudly and constantly. I was grateful because as long as neither of us moved — and as long as both of us kept our windows open — I wouldn’t have to buy the album. I don’t know what the going rate for lifeguards is today. But in 1973, being a lifeguard, even the head guard at Beaver Pond, wasn’t a high-paying gig.
One morning (I didn’t have to be on duty until 1:00 p.m.), there was a knock at my door. When I went to answer it, the stoner was standing there. We greeted each other, and I asked what I could do for him.
“Oh, hey, man,” he said, sounding for all the world like Tommy Chong. “Could I borrow an egg?”
“You don’t have to borrow it,” I replied. “You can keep it. Is one enough? I have plenty more if you need them.”
“Oh, no, man. It’s not for me,” the stoner said with a look on his face that suggested he thought I was as high as he was. (I wasn’t, at least not right then.)
“Okay,” I said. “Then who is it for?”
“It’s for my lizard, man.”
Don’t Go Back
Given the era in which I grew up, I was duty-bound, of course, to do my share of psychedelic drugs and then some. And I readily admit that, with the exception of a few bad trips, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. But as much as I enjoyed it, I never lost the keen awareness that I was experimenting. I was doing what I was doing for the experience of doing it. I was doing it for the same reason I got tattoos later in my life. I didn’t want to wonder what doing those things was like. I wanted to know.
I have no idea what happened to my friend with the lizard. I hope he turned out okay. I have other friends from those days who didn’t turn out okay. Some of them ended up burning themselves out. Some of them didn’t turn out at all.
One time when I was in my forties, I was visiting a friend. He asked me if I wanted to drop some LSD. I said, “I don’t know about you, but I made it to my forties so I wouldn’t have to be curious about that stuff anymore. I’m not. Thank you. No.”
When he finally discovered he wasn’t Peter Pan, he killed himself.
There are times at which I dearly miss the dark side. But I have no desire to go back.