35 years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine named Tomas. His name wasn’t really Tomas. He was really a White guy named Tom, but everyone called him Tomas for some stoned joke reason that no one remembered.
He was a great guy, and I think one night decades ago, he and I sort of shared a woman for ten minutes or so. Or something like that. The memory is dim in the drunken haze of the receding years.
Anyway, he was over at my apartment one morning so many years ago. I had to go to work later on. Not sure if we smoked some pot or not. I think we did though because that was what we tended to do whenever we met.
I think he was laying hard truths into me and saying that some of our mutual friends were mad at me for some reason or other. I was being a Jew and pissing everyone people off somehow. Or they had some complaints against me.
That sort of thing is never easy to listen to, but I am the least irritable person you will ever meet, so it went down, and I didn’t spit it back up violently. Went down like cod liver oil, but went down nevertheless. Hard truths you know. Nobody wants to hear them. Our first reaction is always, “This is a lie! This can’t be true!” Then the shock of recognition that maybe just maybe you are messing up, maybe even big-time. And that always feels bad because failure like that never feels good. There’s often some hurt that goes along with it which probably boils down to feelings of betrayal.
Anyway, the conversation got a bit awkward, and I leaned back in my chair. My anxiety level was going up, and I wasn’t very comfortable, but that’s a normal reaction to any hard truth. They hit you like a wrecking ball right in the gut, knock the wind out of you, and there’s your anxiety energy right there.
He leaned back in his chair, and we both sort of stared at the wall for a few minutes. He knew I was hurt by the harsh revelation. Then he leaned over in his chair towards me and smiled that wicked elfish smile of his.
“Oh fuck it,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. It’s all bullshit anyway.”
I was a bit confused. What was all bullshit? The harsh truths were bullshit? My reaction was bullshit? Color me perplexed.
“What’s all bullshit?” I asked. I really wanted to know. My eyes were darting back and forth, and my head was deliberately mini-shaking around like when I am confused and need an answer, the sooner the better.
He leaned over a bit more, and there was warm energy flowing off of him heading my way. It felt like a warm blanket or a silk cocoon. A cozy little snuggle.
He started to barely chuckle with that stoner nihilism all potheads recognize well. His eyes were twinkling, dancing gems in the half dark room.
“Everything,” he said conspiratorially. There was a soft laugh and a barely stifled snort. It wasn’t really a chuckle, more of a pre-chuckle. He let the word hang a bit, and now he was into a soft rolling bit of a laugh.
“Everything?” I asked dumbfounded. “Everything’s bullshit?” I was shaking my head in disbelief. I was a bit stunned. I mean, some things are serious or sacred, right? The very thought was a bit disorienting, like being cast tumbling into a bewildering, head shaking, blinking universe where nothing meant anything or mattered at all. It was almost frightening.
“Yep,” he said, and he started that soft laugh again.
Now I caught on and sunk back into my chair with the realization. Well, of course it was true. Nothing still meant anything at all, but now I didn’t care anymore, and the whole idea of a meaningless trifling world seemed more funny than anything else. And I knew that of course I had figured this out long ago anyway. I just never realized I had.
“Wanna do another bong hit?” Tomas asked.
“Sure,” I said.