RW165 - The Going Places Gang

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John's group of friends in High School being called The Going Places Gang.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Weather in Seattle, Texas and California, could you survive there if the grid went out? (RW165)

Dan had read things about Seattle, like the weather has changed and about Bigfoot. This is the time of the season for loving. Everybody who lives in the Northwest are very wise and know a lot of things, and part of that is because they use every part of the buffalo and the reason for that is that you cannot ever know when you walk out of the house in the morning what environment you are walking into. John doesn't mean that you can’t look out the window and know what it looks like, but between the time you walk out of the house in the morning and when you come home at night the temperature may fluctuate by 25 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale, it could rain, it could wind, it could hail, it could be super bright and sunny and clear. All of this could happen within the space of the time when you went into your appointment and when you came out. It is the time of the year where everyone has to remember that they live in a place that is perched on the edge of the earth.

Seattle has domesticated a lot in the last couple of decades, and it fools people into thinking that it is a normal place, just a normal city in a normal temperate climate full of just regular normal people, but really it is an outpost in the same way that San Antonio will always just be a pueblo. They can put a million people there, but San Antonio is only supposed to be a little Mission Church and a place to water your horse.

Seattle is a place that you used to put in your dugout canoe and trade clams with other people, that is what it is intended to be, and all the streets and all the sewer systems and all the electric lights in the world can’t change the fact that God has it out for this place. The Pacific Ocean is our biggest ocean and we spend a lot of time in this country focusing on the hurricane season in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico as being the most extreme weather conditions, and they are, but only because all of the things that are happening in the Pacific Ocean are just happening out there and there is no Florida sticking down into it to catch all the debris. There are cyclones that would turn your hair white just to think about them, just to read the statistics, happening in the Pacific, but nobody notices or cares because it is out there and the only thing it is affecting are some seabirds and maybe a giant garbage raft.

The hangover from those things come up here and they don’t pummel the Northwest, but they represent a steady constant place where old battles battles long fought drop their remnants, which is one of the things that makes it so wonderful here. We used to feel disgruntled because it was so warm and sunny other places, but now that other places are all covered with forest fires and dust storms and other plagues of grasshoppers, the signs of the Apocalypse are all around us.

Texas has a plague of crickets this time. Every two years crickets swarm over all of Austin, and the weird thing is that you would think they would be up in the trees, but they all flock to cover the walls and entry ways of buildings and they completely cover it. They get those weird plagues from time to time. Austin of course is a place that shouldn’t support a population anywhere near what it has today just from the standpoint of how much water and food they are capable of producing. Austin should still be just a cowboy town with about 12000 people in it.

Up in Seattle they could feed everybody, they have a naturally fecund land, so in the event that all the power grids went down, which is the way we think now while John's parents never thought this way, but if everything went to shit, how hard would it be to feed everybody? It would be really hard!

In California PG&E turned off everyone’s power because of the risk of fire and wind and part of California just has no power right now. The other aspect to it was that all of their water comes from somewhere else and they wouldn’t even have water to drink if it wasn’t pushed down in a giant pipeline for hundreds of miles.

For instance Chicago is an enormous city, but it is surrounded by very fertile land that all of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, other than the cities, other than the big towns, in those states there is a lot of land that is given over to agriculture, and probably pretty inefficiently given over to agriculture in a lot of areas. A lot of land is being used to farm feed for animals and so forth.

The land around Chicago land is capable of growing food without industrial food growing technology. It doesn’t require bringing water from thousands of miles away, Whether or not you could feed all of Chicago land if the grid went down, probably not, there are going to be mass die offs then, but you could live in Chicago and survive off of the the land in the environment nearby, given some mass deaths that would cull out the weak.

In Seattle they have abundant seafood and there is a lot of land that is given over to cultivation and a lot more land that is fallow and that could be called, but in California if the water shuts down and the power shuts down you are just… California is the most productive agricultural state in the union, the almonds, strawberries, asparagus, they grow everything there, but it is all based on this water that is pumped in from far off and if that spigot gets shut off you can't grow anything down there except Yucca and there are millions of people there!

Texas, too: You can ranch in Texas, but most of Texas you can’t plow, not really! Texas is like Spain, it is meant to be mostly… The main crops are corn, cotton, rice, wheat, peanuts, sugar sugarcane, sunflower, sorghum. Texas is a big state right with a 1000 different environments, but down by Houston where it is all muggy maybe they are growing rice in their backyard. Rice won’t grow at home, John said it many years, and John never has a second cup of rice at home (find reference?).

Alaska has a short growing season, but it is an intense growing season. Alaska grows those enormous cabbages, they grow a lot of food in Alaska in a very short amount of time because the sun is up all the time. Dan wonders If you were to give a plant 24 hours a day seven days a week of light would it just be happy and grow or would there be problems?
That is a great question.

Growing marijuana at home (RW165)

John knew a lot of people that were engaged in the hydroponic growing of marijuana back in the days. You are doing this in your own house under a special lamp in a mirrored box or something with tin foil, aluminum foil, put shiny side out over the windows and sometimes multiple lights.

John had a couple of friends that had little drip irrigation systems built up and they had their lights on a complicated timer where the lights were on, then they went off it. It was all very carefully calibrated and John assumed that the reason the lights went off at times was to either fool the plants into thinking that something else was happening and then they could fool them that it was morning or something, or that the plants needed to dream? The economy of that stuff never fully… A gram of weed was $10 when John started smoking pot. Dan looked up a picture of how much that is and it shows two nuggs (?) next to a quarter and a gram of weed looks like it is two quarter sized nuggets. To John that is a Canadian Toonie.

If somebody gave John two little hairy balls like that and called it a gram, he would have called it a short gram. A gram isn’t going to completely fill the bottom of a baggie, a little sandwich bag, but you should be able to work your way through a gram of pot, which is why the basic increment of pot smoking is one gram. When John first started smoking pot he would keep a gram tucked in his underwear drawer and would smoke a little bit every day, but it was back when he could just take three little poof poof poofs and be stoned as high as can be. Later on in his pot smoking career he could smoke an 1/8 ounce of pot a day, if you had it laying around.

There is one image called "A visual guide to cannabis quantities" (see here). One ounce looks like a lot. It might have been that a lot of the grams that John used to buy in the day were eyeballed. Somebody had some weed and they split it up. You know that an ounce has 28 grams, so if you buy an ounce you should be able to split it up into 28 little piles. The economy of being a pot dealer, if you are somebody who had the heavy upfront cash to either buy or produce ounces of pot, you didn’t want to get down into this dumb selling dime bag grams to Ding Dongs, you would split that stuff up into into quarters or eighths and sell those and just get out of the scumbag business.

If you had the money to buy a quarter ounce, which was $60 and John never had $60, certainly not $60 to spend on a quarter even though he liked to smoke pot, but if you could buy a quarter you are rolling higher, you are not sitting around dealing with eighths. John could tell you the number of times he could buy an 1/8 counted on a hand and a half. He is thrifty and conservative and he is not somebody who when he has a plenitude of weed he will think "I will always have weed!" and smoke it all. If he had a plentitude of weed that belongs to him he will divvy it up and hide it all over the house and put some in the freezer and smoke just as little as it takes because he wantS to make it last and you can get pretty stoned off of a few puffs of weed. The danger is that we get into a habitual, like "I’m smoking it all day. Every time I pull over I have another hit!", but John tends to portion it out.

There are all kinds of times in a pot smoker's life when one finds oneself in the proximity to a ton of weed that you can’t take with you, but that you can smoke when you are there. There are people that spend a lot of money on weed, they don’t even bat an eye at it. They just have an ounce of weed in the freezer at all times, or they have an ounce of weed just laying around. John's brother David, when they showed up at his house in July of 1986, Kel McCardle and John bought one way tickets on Alaska Airlines out of Alaska to go on a great adventure across America, and sometime in the winter of 1986 Kel got kicked out of his house and he showed up at John's house in January of 1986 and said "I’m leaving! I’m dropping out of school and going down to America, driving to the lower 48. Are you with me?" - "No, I’m not!" and the first reason was that it was January and Kel was in a Scirocco (?) and John was not going to drive the Alcan Highway in January in a Scirocco, that is a suicide run.

Kel was like: "I can’t live here anymore! My dad kicked me out, my mom kicked me out, I’m out!" - "Kel, you are not out. We will go to the lower 48, we will go across America, just not in January!" John was a 17 year old High School Senior, but he was not yet a stoner. He didn’t smoke pot in High School, he looked down on it and was a very judgmental kid and he thought that stoners were losers. He drank, but he had never taken LSD at that point, he wouldn’t even imagine buying another drug. People were doing cocaine all around him, but he was just extremely contemptuous of them. He also was contemptuous of people that were having sex. All of that behavior was unseemly and beneath him that you would be having sex in High School how disgusting!

That was not something that was taught to him by his parents exactly, it was something just in him, an innate sensibility. The first time his friend Kevin said that he had gone to third base with a girl John was like: "Well, are you sure you are ready for this?" He and John had a good relationship and his reaction was: "What is the matter with you? When a teenage boy says he got to third base with a teenage girl, his best friend does an high five or: Wow, tell me more! or whatever. To say Are you sure you are ready for this, you sound like an old man!"

They used to have a gag where he would come to John for advice and John would pretend to smoke an imaginary pipe. He was a year older than John and he was much more grown up than John. He would come to him and say: "Is the doctor in?" and John would pretend to load his invisible pipe and sit and puff on it to get it going and he would take the pipe out, hold it in his hand and say: "Okay, go ahead!" and then he would present whatever his problem was, his social problem or whatever was plaguing him. John would sit and talk therapy him, the same stuff that he does now he was doing when he was 15. It was frustrating to him because although John was a good friend he also was like an extremely strange teenager and he just would not abide sex and drugs, except that all his friends were doing sex and drugs.

John’s group of friends in High School, the Going Places Gang (RW165)

John's group of friends described themselves… among the upper middle class affluent white kids at East High in the 1980s, class of 1986, there was a division between the Soshes and the Conserves. John did not coin these terms. The Soshes were made up of hockey players, cheerleaders, people who like to party, people with mullets, people with Chevy step side pickups, people who wore cowboy boots, people who wore acid-wash jeans. The girls within the Soshes put a lot of product in their hair and had those giant bangs that looked like the Cliffs of Dover.

They were very proud of being Soshes and the word Sosh is actually from a teen movie, the outsiders or something. They adopted it for themselves and then they described John's group of friends who were also upper middle class white kids as the Conserves because they were conservative, which meant that they did not do cocaine, they didn’t have sex at parties, they did not have conspicuous wealth, they didn’t live in big houses and have new cars. They drove Volkswagens and Subarus and we did not wear cowboy boots or acid-washed jeans, they were preppy, and according to the Soshes they were boring, no-one ever got in fist fights and there wasn’t a ton of sex about it, there was not even really Any pot smoking. There was sex, Kevin got to third base, he might even Have gone all the way.

John's little group of friends who were called the Conserves by the outsiders, they called themselves, and this is terrible, The Going Places Gang (Dan looses it!) in response to the fact that at a certain point we got tired of this Sosh / Conserve thing, this all sounds like a John Hughes movie, it evoked the hole in the Wall Gang or the Apple Dumpling Gang, and it meant that all of the people in John's gang felt like they were foregoing all the hedonistic pleasures of teenage life in order that they go to the best colleges and become the right kind of people. There was a smugness about not being on drugs, not being conspicuously wealthy, based in the assuredness that all of their peers were going to burn out early and they were going to end up working for their parents while they were on their way to join…

This story just gets worse and worse. One time John was on the ski lift, it was a beautiful day, he was up there with a friend riding the ski lift, and he looked down and here come a bunch of the Sosh boys skiing together. Skiing also was a place where John can’t think of an environment other than maybe if you played polo where there is more opportunity to be snobby and classist and assholeish than on a ski mountain. There was a very clear distinction between ski racers and freedoggers. John was a racer. There were a few guys… there were plenty of people on the racing team that qualified as Soshes, but John's year 1986 was an unusual year, it was not a great year for ski racers from East High. There were a lot of ski races from West High and Diamond and Service and they were all probably Soshes in their own schools, but at East High in 1986 there weren’t that many ski racers.

There were a lot of freedoggers, who ski however they want, they flop around, they carve with both edges, they lean way back on their skis, they have rear entry boots, they tie handkerchiefs around their ankles, they ski without hats and they wear jeans! In 1986 ski racers adhered to a pretty rigid dress code. You wore certain kinds of ski wear, it was important that it be assembled correctly, but most importantly you were visibly a ski racer by the way that you skied, your technique, your style, your panache would be evident from a mile away. If John were sitting on the ski lift right now looking at Mount Alyeska in 1985 he would be able to pick out the people that had trained as racers, he could tell the people who were extremely good skiers but had never trained as racers, so they looked amazing and they skied really well, but you could just tell they hadn’t raced. He could tell the people that were good skiers, but at that point he had already drawn the line on them.

John was also looking down at people that are having a great time right, who were spending a bunch of money having a great time skiing and he would just be like: ”No! Nope! Sorry! The way that you just made that turn X-es you out of the world!” There were so many codes, so many rules, the way you sat on the ski lift, the way you tucked your poles up under your outboard leg, the way you swung your skis while you were riding the lift, all these things communicated status, and even within the status what your status was, where you fit in the hierarchy. John was never at the top of the hierarchy or even in the top of the middle, because he was a good skier but not a great one.

John was riding the ski lift and here come the Sosh boys with their mullets flying in the wind and their acid-washed jeans. They were rich kids and had expensive equipment, but they were terrible skiers. They would look like good skiers to anyone, but John could tell that they were terrible, awful even, embarrassingly bad. They come skiing down, it was a beautiful sunny day, and the guy in the lead comes shushing to a stop right beneath the chairlift and his five buddies all come shushing up and they all shush to a stop in a little group. Just as John passed over their heads one of them says: ”Yeah, we are the brat pack!”

John had never been given such a gift, such a like wrapped up little natively as this moment. In the style of a 15 year old he said: ”More like the butt pack!” and they all looked up and there John was just hovering above them, hovering but also on a fast-moving chairlift, so then he was gone. He dropped his bone mo, his grenade, ”Butt pack” and then flew away. All they could do was shout ”Fuck you!”, but by the grace of God it stuck. The person sitting next to John on the lift was a member of this whole clan, the story got reported: ”You are never going to believe what happened!” And Butt Pack actually… because it was outrageous that they called themselves the brat pack. That is terrible! The Brat Pack is how they thought of themselves.

Butt Pack is what they ended up being called by everyone except them. It was truly a triumph High School take down. In contrast John’s group were Going Places Gang. The problem was that senior year Rick Garnett who thought that he was above all rules, even above the rules of the Going Places Gang started to date one of the Soshes, which was outrageous. Rick went across the aisle and started dating, not just a sosh girl, but one of the most sosh, one of the sosh girls who was very conscious of being sosh and very much like: ”Here is how it is going to go!” She was not a passive person. They briefly had what could have been a bridge-mending relationship, in the sense that they were suddenly all at the same parties because Rick was one of them and she was one of them and there they were all at the same places, but it was a very uneasy detente and didn’t last.

During that time Rick gave away all of their codes and they started getting mocked. John was not going places. He was the one member of the Going Places Gang who was going nowhere because he graduated last in his class. He was an outlier within his own clan. His friends were extremely concerned that he even knew Cal, let alone that he liked Cal, let alone that Cal and John had a separate culture. Halfway through John’s senior year his friends, the Going Places Gang, they never edged him out, but there started to be events where he would hear about later because people were pairing off, dating one another, going to things as couples, but Kevin and Tammy and Kelly and Eric and Rick had gone and done something and John heard about it later.

It didn’t feel like he was excluded so much as it didn’t occur to them to invite him because… there was an important moment, a seminal moment, which was that Tammy had a birthday party and they were at that age where there were a few members of the group that had turned 18. Kevin turned 18 in November of their senior year, John was still 17 and had only just turned 17. Tammy had a birthday party that was held at the Mush Inn Motel, a motel in downtown Anchorage that was famous at the time as a seedy hotel on the edge of town and it is still a seedy hotel on the edge of town, which means dangerously gross. Looking at it right now on TripAdvisor it has a 1.5 rating. There are pictures of stained mattresses, stained with blood. The Mush Inn was not quite that bad in 1985, but it was extremely bad. Here is an article that says a lawsuit was filed against the owners of the Mush Inn, claiming that they abuse and prey on the most vulnerable members of the community and continue to rent units after the Municipality of Anchorage gave them notice of serious habitability problems, bedbugs, leaks, rodents, roaches etc.

It had not quite become a slum at the time, it was the place that you went and got like the honeymoon suite, which had a heart-shaped bathtub, there were motel rooms that had themes. It was basically a place that you would go with a hooker, but it was also a fun, seedy, gross. It was also cheap and for High School students it felt very risky and cool. Although the Going Places Gang weren’t doing cocaine they definitely had a sense of risk. They used to drive around town, a big group, in two cars right, eight of them driving around town, and they had a list of all of the church dances and Sober House dances, dances that were being put on in the basement of a Catholic church to keep kids off drugs. They would drive around town with this list and show up at a church and just eight of them roll into the teen dance that up until that point had been a bunch of kids that were forced to go to this by their parents on a Saturday night instead of being allowed to go do something fun.

They would walk into these dances and they were just the most depressing, sad affairs, and they would come in and started dancing and going crazy, dancing with all of the kids that had been forced to be there. It seems crazy now, it seems like the type of thing as if they were inspired by Footloose or something. Considering that the Soshes were probably having orgies it seems a little tame, but it felt risky because they were just rolling into places, they didn’t know anything about them, they were often environments that were tightly controlled by adult chaperones and they would come in and just set the place on ear.

The Mush-Inn Motel party became an infamous event because everybody was there, even juniors, there might have even been Sophomores there, it was an enormous party. Kevin and the older boys had rented several rooms including the honeymoon suite, and all these kids had somehow lied to their parents in such a way that they were going to be able to spend the night at the Mush-Inn motel. John doesn’t know how many rooms were devoted to this party, it was type thing where you would be in one room and then you would go across. It was a motel, not a hotel, so the doors all opened to the parking lot, you can go up the stairs to the second floor, look down over the balcony, come down, one of these places, a little bit of a complex.

This couldn’t happen today, but John and Kel dressed all in black with black watch caps and they parked a few blocks away, they had pellet rifles, and they snuck up the alley to the Mush-Inn Motel and situated themselves. They had these long barreled pellet rifles that were meant to shoot cans or whatever, but they had taken the rifles at some earlier time, put them in a vise and hacksawed to the barrels off of them, making sawed-off pellet rifles, which is not the way pellet rifle barrels are designed. A pellet rifle barrel is actually a hollow tube that looks like a gun barrel and then inside of it is a smaller tube where the pellet goes, and when you saw a barrel off you have sawed off the thing that kept the little barrel situated within the larger barrel. Now the barrel where the pellets go is floating in the space, and you can wedge a little piece of match stick in there to keep it stable, but it is no longer an accurate weapon. Because they had made sawed-off shotguns basically, they would then put several BBs in at once, as many as they could fit in there. When you shot it, it would send a little shotgun pattern.

None of the BBs were traveling very fast, in swaying off the barrel they eliminated all the velocity and all of the accuracy and they created these annoyance weapons where they put five BBs in it and shoot it and it would just send a little pattern of BBs out, just fast enough to sting, but not fast enough to pierce the skin or probably not even fast enough to put out an eye. They did it knowing that, it was their intent. They also sawed the stocks off, they basically tried to make the shotgun that Mel Gibson carried in Road Warrior that would fit in a holster.

Anyway, they showed up at the Mush-Inn motel, and John doesn’t remember, but he feels like he hadn’t been invited, and Tammy was one of John’s inner circle, she was Kevin’s girlfriend just as much as Kelly was his and Tammy and Kelly were best friends. For John not to have been invited to Tammy’s birthday party at the Mush-Inn motel that is more than an oversight because John was spending a lot of time with Kel, too much time, and there was no way Kel was ever going to be accepted as even a peripheral adjunct member of the Going Places gang. No chance! Kelly didn’t want to be, first of all, but Kel did not meet the qualifications. John hanging out with Kel and all of the people that Kel introduced him to combined with the fact that John was last in class, he had always been a black sheep.

There had been a lot of times in John’s life where people have felt like: ”Well, this confirms it! This latest bit of Intel confirms that John is not going to make it! John is not flourishing!” At several different times it seemed like John was about to fall out the bottom of the world, and there were a lot of people that at different times of his life, friends of his, who were stealing themselves to hear bad news about John, or feeling they couldn’t get too close to him because you don’t want to get dragged down. Somehow, by the grace of God, each time John did not fall out the bottom of the world.

This was one of those times. All of his friends just wanted to go off to good colleges. Their senior year was almost over, they just wanted to leave Anchorage with a good reputation and go off to Johns Hopkins or whatever and not have any lasting scars, anymore than the psychological scars that you get from growing up in Anchorage. Kelly and John showed up at this party, dressed all in black, head to toe, gloves, watch caps, carrying sawed-off shotguns, and they got there late enough in the evening that everybody was drunk and they started walking around the shadows of this motel, picking people off. At first nobody knew where it was coming from, people started screaming. This was winter in Alaska but they were cool, they didn’t all wear snow pants and big puffy jackets all the time, but everybody had their tight jeans on and their boat shoes, it was just cold and when you are really cold BBs sting a little bit extra because you are already cold.

The way the Mash-Inn was configured you could hide behind a doorway or hide behind a wall, it took a long time for people to realize that they were there and where the BBs were coming from. People started running around, and once someone shouted: ”It is John and Kel!” they just went into Terminator mode walking up and down the halls, slowly loading their guns and shooting BBs at people, absolutely ruining the party. Looking back at it, it is 100% an active shooter situation, and in the world today it would have been a major police incident, and it shares some DNA with a psycho shooter situation. Kel and John had been excluded from this party and this was their reaction, but there was just a LOL over the top of it, they knew that they weren’t doing any real harm, they were just trying to ruin the party and they did. Tammy probably didn’t forgive John all the way ever again, it drove a wedge between them, and it was maybe the final straw in John’s exclusion from the Conserves. At the end of that party he had proved to them that he was not worthy of their friendship.

In part it was John saying: ”I’m leaving now!” and actually it was the moment that he said: ”I’m intentionally going down now! I’m going to follow Kel as far down as Kel and I go, and I am going to keep going down from there!” It feels almost like a conscious choice. It was right then that Kel was kicked out of his house, and he was kicked out of his house for good cause, and he wanted to leave in his Scirocco and John told him that we needed to stick around, they needed to graduate from High School, and they could leave the next day if they wanted. It mollified him, he probably slept in his car for a few nights and then went and made some bargain with his mom that if he could sleep in the garage he wouldn’t… he made some deal.

And they did graduate from High School, they did leave almost immediately afterwards. You could buy a ticket to Seattle for $100 then. As John left he owed Kelly $200, he doesn’t remember why, she had loaned it to him… in a way they were so responsible… she loaned it to him to pay some application fee or something, but he had owed her this money for a long time and she had given John the impression that she had written it off, like "I never see that money again!”, part of this feeling that he had that he was excluded now from their gang, he was irresponsible, he was not of their class anymore and had become low class. John remembers he met Kelly and had gone to the bank and gotten $200 in $1 bills, put it in a video cassette box, taped it up, and handed it to her and said: ”Don’t open it until I am on the plane!” - ”What the fuck is this?” and it was $200 in $1 bills, which was a big deal, a lot of money, and she never expected to see it and John feels stupid because she was dating some other guy at the time and they probably just went and spent it on themselves. ”Fuck! Why don’t I do that! She had already decided she wasn’t gonna get it, why did I pay her?”

Kel and John flew down to Seattle, they got off the plane, they didn’t have anywhere to go, they had made no plans, it didn’t seem like they remembered how big of a town Seattle was. They had not thought about what they were going to do when they got off the plane. They didn’t have the beginning of an idea. They were in the airport with their little backpacks, having left Alaska to go around the world, and they honestly looked at each other and were like: ”Well, what do we do now?” It was late afternoon, they walked out, looked around, they thought that maybe there would be a Volkswagen bus for sale right there for $300.

John’s brother Davids lives here, John went to a phone booth and looked him up in the phone book, this all sounds like it was from 1000 years ago, he put a dime in the payphone, maybe it wasn’t even a quarter yet, he called him, and he answered, and John was like: ”Hey D.R.,it’s me, John, your little brother! Your 17 year old brother!” He was 37, a 20 year difference. He didn’t like John and had never liked him and John had never contacted him independently or otherwise. At a family gathering or a cocktail party John would avoid him. Here he gets this phone call: ”Hey, it’s me, your brother! I’m here in Seattle with a friend! We just landed and we are about to head off across America, but we don’t really have any money and we don’t have any ideas and we don’t know what to do. Can we stay with you?” and he was like: ”Ahhhhh… Look, I will come get you and you can spend the night here tonight, but after that you have to go. You can’t stick around. I’m not going to babysit you, I’m not going to show you the ropes or anything like that. I’ll give you a place to crash.” - ”Okay, great. Thanks!”

He showed up in some ratty-ass car that smelled like cigarettes and he drove them out to his house in Wallingford. It was a hippie house, it was nice, he had ferns and and hippie tapestries over the windows, he was living there with the lady. They came in and he was like: ”You guys can crash on the couch!” and right in the center of the coffee table was a wooden bowl that was big enough to hold two bags of microwave popcorn and the popcorn wouldn’t be spilling over the top, a big wooden mixing bowl. It was full of buds, heaped with buds, where the buds were falling over the sides, so many buds, John had never seen that many buds!

John didn’t smoke pot at this point still. He had smoked pot and it was one of those times… Mark Renner and John went out in his little S10 pickup and parked in the parking lot behind the Alaska Native hospital and John smoked pot for the first time, but he didn’t get high and it was boring and he was like: ”This is stupid! Cough cough cough!” and then he smoked it a second time and got a little bit high, but I was like: ”This is pretty dumb!”, so he was not yet a confirmed pot smoker. This bowl of buds, as fantastic as it was, held no appeal for John, but Kel definitely smoked pot and his jaw hit the floor, he had never seen that many buds either. That many buds to just be on the coffee table suggested a wealth of buds elsewhere, an enormous pile of buds, access to dope at a level that they just couldn’t comprehend. John’s brother was a drug person and this was just like a bowl of M&Ms on the table.

As he was putting them to bed, he said: ”Don’t smoke any of my buds!” and what he meant was he didn’t want the responsibility for John getting hooked on drugs, or he was just greedy and didn’t want John to smoke his buds, and John looked at Kel and said: ”Do not steal any of my brother’s buds!” - ”Oh dude!” - ”I’m serious. Those are my brother’s buds and don’t steal any!” - ”He won’t even notice! there are so many buds. I’ll just take a couple!” - ”No, don’t! I’m drawing the line on stealing my brother’s buds!” But John knows Kel pretty well, even now, and he is pretty sure that Kel stole some of John’s brother’s buds. He told him he didn’t, but John cannot imagine that Kel left those buds alone.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License