Friday Free-for-all #32: Roll illegal and weird

Friday Free for All

What makes you roll your eyes every time you hear it?

That’s simple. Any time somebody takes astrology seriously. Actually, I’ll extend that — any time anybody starts prating on about whatever particular brand of woo woo they subscribe to. It’s a long list: Crystals, reiki, homeopathy, chiropracty, acupuncture, anything peddled on The Goop, tarot or any kind of psychic reader (but see below), and so much more.

I’d even also include a lot of bullshit conspiracy theories (there’s a redundancy!) like “chemtrails”, QAnon, and 9/11 Truthers, to name but  a few.

What’s really frustrating is that I know so many otherwise intelligent and well-informed people who so easily go in for one or more of these things. Well, except for chemtrails and QAnon. I have yet to meet anyone nursing anything resembling a brain in their skull that fell for either of those.

And those last three, more than the others, will make me roll my eyes harder than the dice on a Vegas craps table during a pro competition.

Sure, some of that woo woo is harmless — like reading your horoscope for daily advice, provided you don’t take it too seriously. But some of the medical practices can actually be dangerous or deadly, as well as ridiculously expensive if you get hooked and keep buying the shit. I’m looking at you, Goop fans, but I’m sure that plenty of people have blown a fortune buying crystals, or going to any of the pseudo-medics listed, never mind being scammed by a psychic.

But that brings me back to my initial mention of psychic and tarot readers, which came with a caveat. A lot of them are ethical, and while what they claim they’re doing is total bullshit, what the good ones actually do can be beneficial.

I say this because I was once fortunate enough to get to sit in as a friend of mine did what was midway between a psychic and tarot reading for someone else. He was using one of those New Age Woo Woo decks that was, I think, Archangels. I don’t remember.

If I do remember correctly, the Sitter (as they are always called) picked three cards, each one to represent an aspect of their current concern — something like goal, obstacle, and outcome.

The cards basically had the names and images, but there was a book that came with it, with longer descriptions of the Archangels. And here is where I watched somebody good it actually do something good by exploiting someone’s belief in the woo woo to that person’s advantage.

Basically, it turned into a mini counselling session, nothing more nor less. But the Reader, my friend, was able to use the vague descriptions in the book to form open-ended questions, so that he slowly induced the Sitter to talk through his own situation and discover the issue he thought he had.

And so it continued with the other two cards until the Sitter came up with this amazing realization. In his case, I think it revolved around having a career he enjoyed but which he felt was a dead end, and the possibility of changing but fear over doing so.

All the Reader did was have the Sitter walk through that fear, discover what could realistically be done, and then find a plan to do it. So, in that case, if the woo woo works for you, then it works. But not for the reason you thought it did. No supernatural powers or angels here. Just one dude with some insight and empathy who knows how to ask the right questions.

Speaking of which…

What’s the most illegal thing you’ve done?

This is always such an interesting question, because the definition of “legal” varies so much. I’ve committed sodomy in several states, but it was only illegal in one of them, Texas. Ironically, it was the overturning of that state’s law by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 that made it legal to get your same-sex freak on in all 50 states.

Oh. And oral and anal because, while these laws were often supposed to be targeted at gay people (of the male variety in particular) straight people also technically fell victim, since the wording was of the “only a ding-dong in a hoo-hah is considered actual, legal sex.”

Not the terms they used, but the intent behind the laws was about as mature.

So, yes. I’ve definitely violated state law by sticking my ding-dong where Texas used to say it wasn’t supposed to go, multiple times and in multiple positions.

But state law is for amateurs. What about Federal?

Again, for the most part when we’re not talking about crimes of violence committed by one person against others — rape, assault, sexual assault, murder, arson, armed robbery, burglary, mayhem, and the like — then it’s really kind of hard to define what a crime is.

I mean, that list between the dashes there really should be the 8 1/2 Commandments of “How Thou Shalt Write Thy Laws.”

Everything else? Well, those are open to debate and interpretation and ad hoc sessions of committees of (unfortunately way too often old white men) debating into the night and then doing what the lobbyists pay them to.

Which should make up the other half to round the above list to 9 Commandments: “Thou Shalt Not via Public Office.”

What should definitely be legal? “Congress (or whoever) shall pass no laws limiting what the People can ingest or inject into or do with or to their own bodies, or do with or to the body of one or more others, provided that all involved are consenting adults.

TL;DR: No drugs should be illegal. And, in fact, the one I took was actually totes legal right up until… 1966, when the U.S. said “Hell Noes…”

Not bad. It had a 21-year run, seemed to have some really beneficial uses, but, as is typical, the panic breakdown seemed to work like this:

Liberals: This seems useful. Let’s explore it!

Conservatives: This scares me. BAN IT!

So, anyway… seeing as how I first did it decades after the U.S. banned it, I did indeed violate federal law multiple times in the 90s by (gasp) dropping acid. Never mind that I’ve also done the same every time I’ve smoked pot, even after it became legal in California. The LSD stuff is just more interesting.

The most interesting part, probably, is this: Unlike other drugs, the effective doses of LSD are miniscule, measured in micrograms, of which I don’t think I’ve even taken more than 1,000 at once. One microgram is a millionth of gram, and a gram is just under four hundredths of an ounce.

Second: LSD apparently crosses the blood-brain barrier quickly, does its thing to certain receptors, and then quickly leaves the brain. It can stay upstairs for about twenty minutes, and then circulate in your blood for about forty-eight hours.

So it’s kind of like this drug sneaks into your brain, bangs a gong and runs away, leaving you to enjoy the reverberations.

Subjective view via many trips: What LSD seems to do is this: It turns off your brain’s filters for a while, and we have a ton of those. Your pupils dilate so your peripheral vision expands like crazy (especially crazy if it’s already mad good, like mine was and is) and you start to experience things in what I’ve always described as “Hindu Time.”

Not meant to be any kind of aspersion or cultural appropriation, but the thing that talking to people while I was tripping that most struck me was that it suddenly seemed like they had multiple faces and arms, all overlapping and swirling. This was a side effect of the thing known as “trails,” but, to me, it made every conversation feel like it took place simultaneously except just before now, right now, and just after.

Then the peak of the trip would hit, most likely involving some sort of audio stimulation (usually music) and this is where the outside world would vanish, but is this really all that different from going to sleep and dreaming? Yeah, I don’t think so.

The more I did it, the more I realized… LSD makes us remove our filters and shields and face the world naked. Some of us like that and embrace it. Too many of us don’t.

And that is what we’re voting on in November, plain and simple. Please. Be brave, Bea Arthur, be naked… but remove those goddamn shields at the very least.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?

Okay, this is one of those things where I have to give a lot of benefit of the doubt, but let’s start with what I saw…

An entire curio case full of what could be, at the most charitable, referred to as “Jim Crow Memorabilia.” Or, in other words, the smaller, indoor versions of all those tasteless Lawn Jockeys that were mostly eliminated decades ago.

Less charitably, let’s call it a tiny “Museum of Really Racist Shit.” All kinds of stereotyped figurines, some even with placards using incredibly racist slurs.

And I was of two minds on this one, given that the owner of the house happened to work in the business of liquidating estates and such, so he basically evaluated and sold off shit owned by dead old people.

So… favorable evaluation One: This was the shit he refused to sell because it was so goddamned racist, but he felt it necessary to preserve somewhere private in order to document the abuse.

Less favorable evaluation Two: Since my host was from the South… this was the shit he refused to sell because he wanted to keep it for himself, because it somehow fed his narrative.

Conflicty points: I’ve been to dinner parties he’s hosted with guests of all races, which make me lean toward option One. On the other hand, it was at one of those dinner parties that I learned that an Asian man could actually be prejudiced as fuck against Black men, and that broke my white brain.

I mean… really?

But those are the answers for now. Enjoy!

 

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