“If you do it, I’ll do it.”
Those were easy words for me to say. If there was a comparable bet it would be the Cincinnati Reds in the 1919 World Series. There was no way I would be forced to smoke weed and I made the bet as if I was up a couple grand at the blackjack table. I was playing with house money and I couldn’t lose.
It was a dark, cold night in Oneonta, NY which means it was Saturday. My friends and I all agreed to venture to the only attraction in the surrounding area and go bowling.
To be fair there was a WalMart, but after 20 minutes of getting yelled at to stop riding the kid’s bikes through the aisles there wasn’t much else to do. Plus it put all the small mom & pop shops out of business so we needed to save-face in order to do our weekly shopping there.
I’m a bowler. I’ve bowled my entire life and I never shied away from telling (bragging) about my skills. Outside of my – errrr – “bowling friends” I could get away with impressing others with tales of bowling a 250 game here, a 240 game there, and then hitting them directly in the mouth with the time I bowled a 275. Mouths agape I felt proud secretly knowing that my less-than-stellar 180 average was impressive among the bowling commoners I surrounded myself with at school.
With my confidence at an all time high we took to the lanes. I scoured every rack, every lane, for the perfect compliment to my bowling arsenal that I left behind at Woodmere Lanes. I came across a ball that I claimed as my mistress for the night, feeling ashamed I resorted to cheating on my equipment in order to claim victory over such easy targets.
This wasn’t shooting fish in a barrel it was throwing a stick of dynamite in there.
The first few frames I needed to find my groove, which is an acceptable part of the game. I threw a couple of shots, missed a few spares, but overall I was in the hunt, like a champion jockey holding back his mighty steed until the home stretch, I knew I had it in the bag.
I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, I had a steely demeanor that I needed to preserve, and I took off toward the foul like. The ball left my hand and spun out to the 2nd to last arrow on the right side of the lane. As it continued its course through the oil, the ball eventually found a dry spot and snapped back toward the pins. I threw the perfect shot and all ten pins scattered to the back of the lane like a pack of teenagers from a house party broken up by the cops.
A smile came across my face and I let out a sigh of relief. I certainly wasn’t proud of my 134, but I got to claim victory and, despite what younger generations are being told, it is EVERYTHING.
As I turned toward the commoners I needed to collect myself and appear angry. Walking back to them I gave a light kick to the ball return – a commonplace act for bowlers everywhere frustrated with their game and taking it out on random pieces of plastic that are minding their own business – which created a collective gasp and resulted in us leaving after just one game or as the front desk guy said, “destruction of property is prohibited and we must ask you to leave or we will call the police.”
It was a veiled threat, for sure, but the police really didn’t have much to break-up around there so arriving at a bowling alley to apprehend an “angry red-head” would probably cause them to look at each other and say “this is what we’ve been training for.”
With our activity for the night coming to an abrupt end we were faced with a dilemma:
“What do we do now?”
We sat in silence and all pretended to think of things we could do but secretly hoped someone else would make a dumb suggestion so we could make fun of them and then just go to Taco Bell.
“I think I want to smoke tonight.”
This is the point where you need to re-read that sentence, widen your eyes, and hear a record coming to a screeching halt.
We all snapped our heads around and looked at Steve inquisitively.
Two out of the four of us applauded with huge smiles on their faces. Steve sat there with a grin that was reminiscent of a child recognizing the oddly shaped present they asked for was sitting under the Christmas tree. I hoped my sheer terror would go unnoticed.
Once the applause quieted down and all the particulars of who had weed and where it could be consumed were figured out I thought I was home free. No one had brought up my promise and I kept my mouth shut.
“Bob, you’re in right?”
I thought of every excuse I could’ve but at that time I thought my word meant something important and I gave in. On the 10 minute ride back to campus I had to set a strategy and make sure to follow it thoroughly if I was to survive this night.
My mind was already racing a mile a minute and it certainly didn’t help that upon arriving back at our dorm that there was a cop car sitting in the parking lot – they must’ve heard about the angry redhead after all.
As the preparations were being made multiple people joined the foray and I started to calm down. If my math was correct – it wasn’t – I would only have to take a few hits, get buzzed, and then be on my way for the night.
As to not bore you with the laborious details, the horde of us all created a circle – or sypher, if you will – and smoked and I felt fine.
Walking back to my dorm room I was good to go and ready to throw on “When Animals Attack Really Stupid People Who Attempt To Confine Wild Beasts For Their Own Entertainment 7” so I could enjoy a good laugh. In the stairwell I ran into a neighbor of mine and at that precise moment my body said “hey, what does this lever do?” and I was transported into an almost comatose-like state that was reminiscent of Johnny Depp’s depiction of Hunter S. Thompson in “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.”
Overall I was pretty chill though. At one point I had to go to the bathroom so I left my room and made the arduous journey to the community restroom down the hall. On my venture I passed my R.A.’s room and heard a quiet voice say “there goes Rob!”
Side note: people call me different names, I’m aware I used “Bob” earlier.
The tone in her voice wasn’t dramatic enough for it to register as anything more than her pointing out that I was walking past the room. Which, thinking about it now, is TOTALLY FUCKING WEIRD!
I get done doing my business and open the door to leave the restroom. After I walked through the door frame and turned the corner I saw my R.A. standing in the hallway.
Nothing phased me and I continued on smiling the whole way. I even nodded and said a cheery “hey!” to him as I passed which, to be honest, was a suspicious activity coming from me.
My entire world crumbled around me as soon as my hand touched the “when was the last time this thing was cleaned?” doorknob to my room. Everything hit me. The cop car in the parking lot – that, let’s be honest, was probably just a security guard sleeping – the girl’s voice saying “there goes Rob!” and the menacing look my typically sheepish R.A. gave me as I walked by him.
I entered the room and immediately stripped my clothing off. It didn’t matter that there was 12 people packed into a room that was the size of a Hollywood jail cell, all that mattered was me not getting caught by that shifty cop (security guard) or having my room raided by the F.B.I. (my R.A. just gazing in and determining that there was nothing in plain sight so a full search of the room wasn’t necessary – also, he didn’t really give a shit)
For the remainder of the night I laid in the fetal position with my bed sheets pulled over my head. I was in a cocoon and not ready to emerge from my dwelling until morning where I could stretch my arms to accurate complete this analogy.
It was probably around 4 a.m when I drifted off into my psychedelic dreamscape. Actually, that’s bullshit. People try to make it seem like psychedelia occurs when you smoke weed, but it doesn’t. If you’re looking for an experience where your face is melting off of your skull and you meet care bears that are really cops telling you to get out of that tree that you thought was a friendly octopus engulfing you in its loving embrace, acid is the way to go.
I woke up around 1 p.m. later that day with a weed hangover. I felt like garbage and from that moment on I made a very strong decision.
NEVER. TRUST. STEVE. AGAIN.
Oh, and the R.A. in the hall? He was looking to see if I was going to my own room or the room across the hall from mine. Turns out they were having quite the party and he was seeing which door I would choose. At least I made one good choice that night.