21 November 2017
Uncle G’s FUN 420 Reviews
Words and Photography by Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Seeing how this is an archival website, I’d like to introduce to my newer 420 readers, a series of essays I did for a non-profit pro-cannabis website out of New York City, some years ago. One that I’ve been involved with since the year 2011. The webmistress is the wonderful Arlene Williams aka Ganja Granny. I love her to death! The website: Green Ribbon World.
Please note … regarding this republishing. We’re going back in time. Six years ago. I was married for the second time. This past February (2017) that union was dissolved one day shy of us being a couple 22 years. No resentment or hard feelings. I’d rather look forward more than backward.
Editing: Versions 2.0 … my aim is to clean up any remaining typos and grammar errors. The originally published essays could be found on the Green Ribbon World website. When finally done (this could take some time) archiving all the past essays published, I’ll start writing new ones. In a way, I already have done so: Uncle G’s FUN 420 Reviews.
Uncle G’s Corner
Topic: In Remembrance (originally: Smokin’ Buddies Through The Years)
So what does a long time primarily stoner dude like myself do when given the opportunity to write a somewhat regular column on a popular cannabis website, like Green Ribbon World? One thing I would like to do is author a super lengthy column about what crap it is, that marijuana is always being labeled like it’s fact; a gateway drug. Shit gets under my skin. Oh, wait…snap…I already did that; Uncle G’s FUN 420 Reviews: Uncle G’s Corner (#04): Parts 01 and 02.
Another thing would be to write a piece on actual people I’ve been around over the decades; past and present. Might even be a recurring theme. Some real characters, good and bad. I’d like to focus on those I consumed cannabis with, over the many decades. Or had a beer with or both! For the record, I am okay with the safe, moderate consumption of alcohol. Problems arise when one overdoes it. My Mom died at age 49 a real alcoholic. It’s a nasty slow death. As a child, I saw it with my own eyes.
Personally, I deem marijuana rather harmless for most adults. Add other substances to that like alcohol, and the effects are so different. Can be potentially dangerous. A whole other ballgame. As the days, months, and years fly by, for most this becomes a lifestyle that is difficult to maintain. When I was heavy into it, we drank, swallowed, snorted, and smoked practically anything that would alter reality for us. Labeled it as having well-deserved FUN.
The person I’d like to reminisce about is named; Stephen Tyner. Is deceased now. Has been for a while. Died back in the 1980’s. A violent crime statistic.
I have a hard time remembering now when I first heard Steve had passed away. He’s been buried for a while by the time before I learned of his early demise. Death would have had to happen, while he was in his early twenties. Obviously, I’m not a hundred percent sure. Recent internet searches bring up nothing. I lost touch with immediate family members. What I know comes via old friends Steve and I associated with.
I met Steve while in my teen years, on the Jersey Shore. Time was the late 1970’s. Yours truly was serving out yet another sentence given to me by a guy in a black robe who figured he knew what was best for me. What a long line of those I had. Judges were always big sending me places when I was a youngin’….. like a military school; Admiral Farragut Academy. An orphan with a trust fund. Cost me around five thousand dollars and I was there for less than 24 hours. When sent for a haircut, I walked out the front gate. Besides that total nightmare, multiple foster homes, juvenile detention centers, or worse yet, trying to scare me straight. ‘Scared Straight‘, a wonderful motivational program aimed at teens who have been in trouble with the law. Wish I could say that worked. Apparently, I still had a little badness in me after my court-ordered trip to Rahway State Prison. The famous documentary (1978), narrated by Peter Falk, was filmed a week before my scheduled appearance. Lucky me! Really … how fucking embarrassing! PLUS the reunion specials (OMG!).
Back to our story, this time around, the great State of New Jersey was paying me to get my G.E.D., at a place called M.A.C.O.M. in Eatontown. I had dropped out of school when I turned age 16, found a job, and went to work full time; 40 hours. For minimum wage. A dishwasher in a breakfast/lunch place; Gab N’ Eat. Because I was a foster child, I needed permission from a Judge to do this. My social worker at the time helped make everything so. I asked him one morning if he wanted to get high with me, and he said, no. Decent guy! I might have been mature for my age, but still under age eighteen.
My G.E.D classes were held in the mornings. In a pre-test, I passed everything the first time except for math. My focus was on that. Was there with other juvenile delinquents, which included Steve. Birds of a feather, we hit it off pretty quickly.
I remember Penny, one of my GED teachers. In her early 30’s, and divorced. Hot to trot! Anytime I walked with her, it was hard not to notice guys who passed us going the other direction, turning around to check Penny out. Hopefully, they were her and not me. My skinny bubble butt attracted both sexes, while I’m sure her nicely shaped derriere did as well. The 1970’s were, after all, a wild decade. Penny attended my wedding. It was the last I ever saw of her. Always kind to me. One regret I have is that I never smoked pot with the lady. I got those vibes she did. More than once. But I never attempted to find out. Didn’t want to cross that bridge I guess. Looking back, I wish I have pursued it. Had a beautiful mind as well. Because of our ages, that would have been against the law. Am sure she would have declined.
I got along really well with Steve’s sister. Good looking girl. Real curly hair. We hung out many times. She was also at my first wedding. With other young ladies, I knew. Some I saw naked, and others I wished I had. Made for a nice group of young women. All dressed to the nines. Which made for a few awkward moments. Nothing like later on that night. The maid of honor would hook up with one of the limo drivers. I had friends who never being around a champagne fountain before, overindulged and ended up throwing up chunks outside in the bushes. Oh, what a night!
I did get high with practically everyone else back then, including Steve. Remember, he’s our main topic. And by getting high (smoking reefer for recreational use) with Steve, that’s how I got to know his sister better. Besides sharing joints, we all drank together as well. I’d get shitface blitzed! Wine, beer, or whiskey. Whatever contained alcohol. Did drugs also. Whatever was available. Was pretty open-minded to just about anything. We did LSD together more than once. Steve’s sister wasn’t a partying fool. She attended a Catholic High School, getting pretty good grades (if I remember right). Plus this ambitious young lady also worked part-time at the hospital. Looked great wearing white. And yeah, I had a serious crush on her.
Fire! Fire! There I was sleeping on the couch. Steve and I shared a small house together. I was like age seventeen. Steve literally fell on me. And good thing he did. Woke me up from a dead sleep. The house filled with thick gray smoke.
The story goes, Steve was hungry. Staggered into the house after a night of drinking, and turned the oven on to 400 degrees. Opened the door, and placed inside, a leftover takeout pizza. Still in the box. Imagine what happened next. Now awoken from Steve passing out on me, and then falling on the floor, I dragged his passed out drunk ass out of the house, and onto the front lawn. Next, I got the pizza box out of the oven. The pizza was burnt, black and charred. Opened all the windows. No longer any danger, I went outside while the house aired out, and passed out on the lawn next to Steve. Hours later we both woke up. I missed work that day. Almost died in a fire. Good excuse for the boss. Steve’s version had him saving OUR lives. We still remained friends. But I did move out. This was the second and last time I shared a place with him. Can you blame me?
Time marched on. Steve was best man at my first wedding. On the anniversary U.S. citizens best remember as; Pearl Harbor Day (07 Dec).
The night before the big event, Steve took me out drinking. I woke up on the floor of Steve’s fathers living room, the next morning. I regained consciousness. His Dad wished me luck in my forthcoming marriage. And on his way out the door, instructed Steve to have me drink, a huge can of tomato juice. That would sober me up, he said. Not that I drank the whole can, but I did consume at least half. I did make it to the church on time, so it must have helped. We hitched a ride from Steve’s Father’s house. Made it home with enough time to call my bride, who was getting ready to cancel the wedding not knowing where I was, and then prepare myself for that night’s festivities.
What Tyner and I did best was smoke pot. We come up with crazy ideas. Just having a good time. Doing bongs, and listening to records; Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More From The Road (1976). But unfortunately, not all times with Steve were good ones. He had a positive, good-natured side, and a really terrible bad side. Getting super wasted would most times trigger the negative personality. Trouble would ensue. I tend to be a happy person when baked or tanked unless fucked with. The same with most folks.
With Tyner, once he was fully cooked, getting into some kind of fight, was just about guaranteed. Weird shit was always bound to happen. Like this, for example. My buddy Tyner was thrown out of Madison Square Garden. We were there to see the Grateful Dead. Steve was tossed out before the show even started. We got inside, and then from being careless, and also being pretty wasted, Steve lost his ticket stub. Which he didn’t care about because he didn’t like the location of his seat anyway. That was too bad. While in the process of obtaining another seat, he had a run-in with security guards, which got him an early exit. I stayed, and watched from afar. His own fault! Watched the cops drag him away. Good concert! Saw Steve the next day. He remembered hardly anything. Like myself, amazing getting home safely.
Looking back, I wish all Steve and I did as far as getting a buzz goes, was toke weed. Maybe he’d be still alive today? Truth be known, besides pot, we did other things to escape reality with. For one, we discovered the joys and hardships of excessive drinking. Subjecting our bodies to whatever harm it caused. Did just about every drug we could find. Didn’t matter what it was. Both Tyner and I stayed away from needles during our time hanging out together. That would come later to the both of us. Not a part of my life that I am proud about. In 1986 I shot cocaine for a brief time. Mostly in my right arm. Steve got into heroin, so I was told. Stories that more than one person told me. Again, I never did needles with Tyner. A good thing. We could get hardcore together. The little devils inside us both loved to play.
I tried slowing down the drugs and drinking I was doing. The pot was never the problem. Now a newly married man. The best thing about tying the knot so young was that it triggered my maturing process. And what a slow ride to the top that one was.
For a while, I worked a full-time factory job Monday through Friday. On the weekends, I would sometimes work the flea markets. Selling real handmade leather belts and accessories. Owned a house. Duplex. Rented one side out. I was a landlord. Became a foster parent at age 19. A six-year-old girl fell into our laps. Here I was accepting responsibilities. Afraid of what would happen if I partied. With no real defenses, I was bound for failure. My bottom was a deep one.
I recognized my problem with alcohol when I was sixteen. By age seventeen, the law was up my ass. My stomach problems had begun. I’d drink whiskey for breakfast instead of a well-balanced meal. Horrible heartburn/acid reflux. No direction I was going, was a good one. Was a secret back then I kept super close to my chest … I was hooked on cough syrup (codeine) when I was 17. Lord only knows how I managed to steer clear of that. I’d sit in a room full of people, and not say a fucking word. I had an endless script from a doctor who would soon lose his license. Add to this magic little pills called; Valiums. A few folks knew I’d pop whatever I could find. Take ’em by the handfuls. The effects gave the outward appearance of having too much to drink. I’d bounce off the fucking walls walking to the bathroom. Wake up with bruises not having a clue as to how I got them. No adult supervision. Besides saying that, I take all responsibility for my actions. Could have died countless of times. For whatever reason, the grim reaper keeps looking the other way.
Getting married (age 18) forced me to behave. But from time to time, I did rebel against the responsibility. Steve’s sister and their Mom knew something was up when I broke the news. Felt I was getting married for all the wrong reasons. My actions said it all. Was a serious attempt to save myself. Plus at that time legally I was in a shitload of trouble. My childhood antics finally catching up with me. I found an open road and took it. Now when I rebelled after the fact, anything was possible. Like the one time, I was supposed to fly to West Palm Beach (Florida) to pick up a doctors car and drive it back to New Jersey. After some drinking at the airport bar waiting for my flight, I instead decided I wanted to visit San Francisco. Hell of a detour. Another story for another day.
My life became the motto; work hard_party harder! Smoked pot and drank beer, mostly. Tried to keep a distance from drugs and whiskey. It took a while, but I did at least calm down some. Steve proceeded in his own direction as well. Time went by. We totally lost touch. Moved from New Jersey to Florida for a spell. When back I tried finding Steve every so often. I never forgot the guy. I spent time running away from my own demons, not his. And then someone told me one day he was dead. A brother from another mother. Wish it would have ended up better for him.
Onward Through The Fog…
…appendage 21 November 2017 – A major rewrite. Hopefully, my editing skills are better than they were six years ago. I added and took away from the original. Various reasons. Am glad to re-publish and improve upon this one. — Gary “Uncle G” Brown