Psilocybin: What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been

It’s Sunday evening. I’m flipping channels as I luxuriate on my new leather sectional. Her name is Fiona. I love her. Our Covid splurge. Fiona sighs as I settle deeper, sipping my umpteenth glass of a precocious, fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon.

Expectations are low. Buzz is high. Sunday TV generally blows. My wife reveals that her Chicago Cubs are playing. Fucking kill me. Baseball. Three hours of watching pseudo athletes relentlessly spit makes my soul ache for an early death.

And then magic happens. A blessed alternative.

That sexy bastard, Anderson Cooper, is hosting a segment of 60 Minutes about psilocybin. Isn’t that the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms? Intrigued, the old retired Deadhead in me peeks out of his smoky back room in the attics of my mind.

He seems so real. His name is Jerry (yes, named after Jerry Garcia, the late lead singer for the Grateful Dead. Duh). Okay, so he resembles Jerry, too. Fine, it is Jerry. Screw you. My imagination, my rules.

Hey, PS. Long time. What’s up, man? Jerry takes a long drag on his joint. It smells so wonderfully skunky.

Hey, Papa Bear. Yeah, I had to tuck you away after college. Sorry for that. Life. You know.

No worries, man. We had some good times, didn’t we? I can taste the tendrils of spicy weed wafting across my face.

We sure did, Captain Trips. It reminded me of us when this TV show explored psychedelic drugs like psilocybin.

Whoa, yeah. Those shrooms would steal the face right off your head back in the day. Wisps of pungent smoke caress my cheeks with the sensuality of delicate fingers. So relaxed.

The smell transforms into a bear. A vivid blue Grateful Dead dancing bear with golden tufted neck fur. His name is Owsley, my long-lost totem. My college spirit animal. A solitary tear of joy rolls down my cheek at our reunion.

Jerry smiles. Take good care of Owsley. He will help you remember. Better get truckin’.

I place my hand in Owsley’s paw. And we’re off, sliding down a shimmery rainbow into Time.  

Psilocybin: Purple Haze

As Owsley and I traverse time through cosmic purple clouds, blaring with guitar feedback and fuzzbox effects, we are atingle. The freedom, the music, the synchronicity – it’s simply exhilarating.

Owsley nods, and we drop off the rainbow, freefalling through a hole in an azure sky, landing gently at the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco. We have found ourselves in 1967, in the middle of the famous Summer of Love. Over 100,000 hippies converged on the Haight-Ashbury district that summer.

Beatnik bohemians are everywhere. Smiling. Laughing. Hugging. Fucking. Oh shit, get a room. Tripping their balls off. The air smells of marijuana, patchouli, and body odor with a tinge of minge. As I watch a group of tie-dyed counter-culturists sharing a brown bag of magic mushrooms, they’re quoting erstwhile Harvard professor Timothy Leary’s famous “turn on, tune in, drop out” mantra.

As the drugs kick in, there is no fear.  Their receptivity to the impending mind-bending experience is sublime. As they slowly sip their beers and the psilocybin works her magic, they talk about truly radical and subversive things. Shit the government should worry about. Connectivity with the universe. Expanding their self-awareness. Exploring a more profound spirituality. Promoting expressions of love. Dank, dangerous stuff.

It feels bittersweet. Sweet because of their authenticity. Bitter because of their naivete. Owsley always has a shit-eating grin on his face.  No clue what he is thinking.

Little did our small brigade of trippy troopers know, the Nixon administration would sign into law the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970. With the massive concert event at Woodstock in 1969 as the final barometer of the flowerchildren’s disinterest in authority or conformity, conservatives needed to reel in the rabble and ban their rebellious behavior.

Another fucking reason to hate Richard Nixon. He killed love and served up the 1970s. Yuck.

Owsley does not speak. He holds out his little blue paw, and away we go to kiss the sky.

Psilocybin: Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict

Like a psychoactive ghost leading Ebenezer Scrooge, my blue bruin levitates us to the twinkling rainbow, and we once more permeate the veil of history.  As we miraculously transcend relativity, Pink Floyd is blaring from all the stars. Hauntingly experimental. Avant-garde sound collages. Ugly. Edgy.

We alight at the University of Rochester, Spring semester of my college Freshman year, 1988. I realize it is Dandelion Day because I am sporting a daring Minnie Mouse ensemble and recently ate a fistful of magic mushrooms.

The school’s flower is a dandelion as a joke. Dandelions are a prolific weed, so the school celebrated their botanical nihilism with a Friday holiday for the opening of Spring Fest weekend. Basically, it was a sanctioned reason to party. A few days to vent some steam amidst the intense academic rigor.

I am not in a good headspace.

  • My “Freshman Fifteen” was showing. I feel fat. Some so-called friends reinforced that anxiety by telling me I looked fat in my Minnie Mouse costume that was enjoying her magnificent April reprise from last Halloween’s debut. 
  • I am riddled with guilt. My best friend had drowned just over a year earlier.  I miss him terribly and feel enormous guilt for throwing him into a pool. Didn’t matter I didn’t know he couldn’t swim. I blame myself.
  • I am failing out.  My grades are in the toilet. Fraternity life and rugby have completely overtaken my misaligned priorities for my lifelong dream of medical school. So unaccustomed to failure, I don’t possess the coping skills to pull myself out of the academic ditch.

Sensing my looming depression, Owsley gives me a big fuzzy hug. I sneeze. Turns out, I’m allergic to his ethereal dander. Allergic even to magic? Fuck me.

As the psychotropics kick-in, my trip manifests my feelings of insecurity, shame, and inadequacy. Vivid visuals take over. Not the good kind.

I am hanging by my feet, upside down on a meat hook, moving along some sort of eternal conveyance system.  I stop in front of Frankenberry – yeah, the monster from the disgusting General Mills strawberry marshmallow cereal box. He repeatedly feeds me white and pink Good & Plenty licorice candy. He laughs deeply and mumbles some gibberish in old Scottish.  

When the psychic torture ended, and it feels like forever, I spend several hours on the floor of our dorm bathroom, puking my mind out. All night as the trip continues for seemingly endless hours, I can only taste licorice choking in my throat every time I barf.

I have never since ingested licorice.

Look. As Jerry and I concurred earlier, there were other times in college where I had positive experiences partying with close friends and taking psilocybin mushrooms. I was in a better headspace then. I was with experienced sojourners and the safety factor was high. Totally different experience.

I am in no way advocating extensive use of mind-altering drugs.  But I think Owsley was showing me it was not always a bed of roses nor a mouthful of licorice. Please take heed. Everything in moderation.

Owsley tries another hug, and I shove him away by his perma-grin face. No. We join hand and paw, and our journey resumes.

Psilocybin: Tomorrow Never Knows

We glide along the glimmering prism of radiant energy, propelling us…forward? The cosmic drums and sitar of The Beatles blare in Dolby® surround sound. I am certain we are moving forward in time.

Colors fade, and I open my eyes, sitting on my leather sectional. Fiona has aged, her face creased and careworn with time. But still beautiful to me. Where I once held a glass of wine, I now hold a container of Ensure®. I am fucking old as dirt.

On the TV, an elderly but still damn fine Anderson Cooper discusses all the miracles achieved using psilocybin. Turns out, identical to hydroxychloroquine and oleandrin, it’s some sort of miracle substance.

Once a lonely experimental investigation site in 2020, the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research is a present-day global leader in the studied deployment of psilocybin therapeutics.

In addition to providing relief to people suffering from addiction, anxiety, and depression years ago, this wonder drug has also solved the following crises…

  • Defeated Covid-19. This is a bit of a misnomer. Psilocybin was administered to all Covidiots.  Following the overthrow of the Trump Regime, an armed CDC rounded up the Covidiots and fed them large (some say toxic) doses of the hallucinogen. They went crazy with self-loathing, dying from a rare ailment dubbed Douchitis. After they all died, the rational people stayed safely home until a vaccine emerged. Now the world is a happier, healthier, and more harmonious place.
  • Enabled First Contact.  Alien intelligence was too advanced for us to notice.  It required a firm belief in the Mandela Effect to actualize into real parallel universes crossing over into our own.  The Bobs are a sentient species of dildos (Battery Operated Boyfriends) that share interdimensional cosmic pairings with humans. For every PS human, there is a replica PS Bob, similar in every prodigious detail of their essence except that PS Bob is a dildo. Our scientists are still hard at work deciphering their strange whirring and buzzing language.
  • Proved the existence of god. Apparently to heavenly entities, psilocybin is a gateway drug to the Pearly Gates. Everyone on the other side uses it to attain a fuller, more personal connection to the vibrations of the Universe. The Bobs opened our eyes to this amazing vibrating reality. Also designated as “God’s Dandruff (GD),” psilocybin is like dust in the His Dark Materials trilogy. The drug is a remnant of elemental consciousness, also once called the soul. By consuming GD, consciousness joins across the cosmos to other States of Being (SOB), creating one giant GD-SOB.

Satisfied, I take Owlsey’s mute paw one last time, as we return to our time and reality.

Psilocybin: The End

My middle-aged eyes flutter open. Fiona releases me from the warmth of our cuddle as I sit up. Had I fallen asleep? Was this all a dream?

On the TV, a late-night homage, possibly an infomercial, blares music loudly. Something from The Doors. Jim Morrison screaming something about wanting to fuck his mother. Disturbing, troubled times, the Sixties.

Like a psilocybin trip, that dream was intense.  So real.

I look around my living room, secretly wishing that Jerry or Owsley will jump out and startle me. Or maybe PS Bob will tickle my butthole with a quick hello. We would all have such a big belly laugh. But, alas, none of the above occurs. Sigh.

Tying (or perhaps tie-dying) it all together, what did I learn from this experience?

  • Psychedelic drugs are neither good nor bad.  People are. So, if you wish to take hallucinations for a test drive, do so wisely, cautiously, and safely. No judgment. You do you, friend. But if you are a Covidiot? Avoid.
  • Therapy is on my agenda for 2021.  Too many unresolved issues from the past, and if I want to meet god, I need to clear that up before some future psilocybin hallucination involves Count Chocula feeding me rat turds. Or, worse, getting the Violet Beauregarde treatment from Booberry. Brrr.
  • I love my couch, Fiona, way too fucking much.  I am going to Lazy Boy tomorrow and getting an uncomfortable, overpriced chair.  Covid has made me apathetic and kind of weird. Need to work those kinks out before my wife gets her SW Bob to visit a lot more frequently.

For today, let’s close with the unsettling lyrics of the Lizard King:

This is the end / Beautiful friend / This is the end / My only friend, the end.

Let’s open a digital dialogue. Scroll down to LEAVE A REPLY. Thanks!

Psilocybin: Set List from this Article

Truckin’, The Grateful Dead, American Beauty © 1970

Purple Haze, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?  © 1967

Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict, Pink Floyd, Ummagumma © 1969

Tomorrow Never Knows, The Beatles, Revolver © 1966

The End, The Doors, The Doors © 1967

About PS Conway

Hey everyone! Welcome to Life Sucks. Laugh Here. In my college years, I was an English major and aspiring writer. Then life took over - marriage and kids - in our mid-twenties. Like all good Catholics of Irish descent, I literally looked sideways at my wife, and she was pregnant three weeks after our wedding. And then the ride of life began. My writing took a backseat for the next twenty-five years. But now, our daughters are raised, and my wife and I are in a Renaissance phase of our lives. As I begin to write again, I see so much negativity, tribalism, and anger on social media... so many people seem to think life sucks. The only antidote to this mind-rotting negativity that I know of, albeit transient, is laughter. So, I have committed to writing and growing this blog around that singular objective... try my damnedest to provide original writing that makes people laugh. And maybe think a little, too. Hope you really enjoy. If you laugh, please share this blog with your friends so we can grow our subscriber base and online influence. We are on a mission to spread joy, mirth, cheer, yule, and good humor to as many folks as possible. Thank you for joining this effort. Sláinte! - PS Conway

13 comments on “Psilocybin: What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been

  1. Matt Jacobs

    Thanks for the flashbacks PC. I think back to the drug era in my life and wonder how I made it out. Mushrooms were the shit, however.

    • Matt! Doing my best Edith Bunker. Harmonize with me! “Those were the days!” 🤣😂

      • Matt Jacobs

        Do you think if we ate an 1/8 of mushrooms it would kill us now? I want to give it a go for science

      • All about safe place, safe friends. Been so freakin long, bro. Hard to say. Death is nigh in our aging years anyway. Might be worth the risk. ☮️

  2. I love how you described the feeling when your wife wants to watch baseball, because that is exactly how I feel when my relatives want to watch rugby or cricket (it’s so boring).
    I thought about using schrooms or something to go on a spirit journey (or whatever it’s called) but I think I should get a guide. I don’t want to be alone when I trip balls.

    All the best from South Africa, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

    • Michelle! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Glad you connected with this piece. Definitely plan ahead for that trip, nothing worse than being force fed licorice candy by Frankenberry. Hahahahaha! Cheers 🍷🍷🍷

  3. abober514

    Love this post!! Super interesting to hear about your past, therapy should probably be on my agenda as well. That’s why we write funny shit, it’s our coping mechanism! Definitely agree with your views on psychedelics, I too have had good and bad experiences with them. It entirely depends on the person.

    • OmG that is so freakin true about broken people writing comedy. Our past is our creative fuel. And totally agree that psychedelic drugs can be a key or a cage… proceed with caution. But if you go gliding along that shimmery rainbow with your Owsley, commit fully and completely. Thanks so much. 🍾🥂

    • My first rule of thumb for using psychedelics, is to always be in a “good” mood! Because all it does is amplify whatever mood you’re already in!!!

  4. Wow! Thanks for taking me on your magic mystery tour! You are a riot! I really do not think that you need any psychedelic drugs to go on any trips! Your mind is like one big trip in itself!
    Thanks for the laughs as always!💙😂

    • Kat! So so true. The drugs can be an encumbrance sometimes. Better to let the neurons fire organically to release my full creative fury. Hahaha. Peace. Out. 🍷🍷

  5. Hahaha! Wildly entertaining, as always! I laughed out loud several times. Can’t believe you named your couch, Fiona. Wait… yes I can. I would love to revisit my “trips”. Burning Man and Love your Mother Earth Festival at the hot springs. 🤣🤣

    • Jessica! Oh, I love me some Fiona. Meow. 🤣😂 One of the highlights of my week is hearing that something I wrote made someone laugh. For all my zany hijinks, I am very mission focused and serious about spreading some happiness around. We need it!! Wouldn’t hurt if people took some time to think a little more, too. Trying to push the envelope as much as I can. But I’ll take the laughs mostly. Cheers 🥂🥂🥂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.