#184 – Partying with the Dead

My friend Ned swears he’ll never smoke pot again. Sure, he’s made that same promise on prior occasions, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he follows through this time. I know I would, under the same the circumstances.

It’s not like Ned regularly partakes anymore. Since he became a family man, he’s limited his marijuana intake to special occasions. As he informed me last night, this past weekend witnessed one of those special occasions.

Last Saturday, Ned accompanied his older brother Phil, and a friend of Phil’s, to a Grateful Dead concert. Not the Grateful Dead, of course. They’ve been disbanded for years. Rather, the trio went to see either a tribute band or an offshoot with one or two original group members. Whichever the case, the music was all Grateful Dead and, according to Ned, great.

As at actual Dead concerts in the good old days, Saturday night’s affair proved a psychedelic affair — for the audience. Ned spotted more than one patron bemused by LSD or other hallucinogens; and the unmistakable scent of marijuana wafted throughout the venue all evening. In a bid to soak up the full concert-going experience and recapture the glory of their youth, Ned and his two fifty-something companions enjoyed a few tokes themselves.

Maybe the pot passed around was a lot stronger than they were used to. Or else they smoked more than their aging bodies could accommodate. In any event, Ned and his companions couldn’t recall ever getting so wasted. Phil’s pal, Jerry, even told Ned at one point: “I can’t lift my arms anymore, so you hold the joint for me.” From then on, each time a joint was passed around, Ned held it to Jerry’s lips before taking a puff of his own.

It wasn’t until the show ended and they stood up to leave that Ned and Phil made a shocking discovery. Nudging Jerry to awaken him from his stupor, Phil found that Jerry had at some point passed from mellow to “away,” as in dead! Despite frantic efforts by Phil and the EMTs called to the scene, Jerry could not be revived. The cause of death remains unclear, since the autopsy results haven’t yet been released.

Ned told me his brother feels heartbroken over the loss of his good friend. Ned’s pretty upset as well. In his case, however, he’s not mourning the passing of a guy he barely knew … so much as freaking out for repeatedly sharing a joint with a corpse. It’s the last doobie he’ll ever split with anyone, living or dead, so he insists; and this time I believe him.

 
 
Just one of the Grateful Dead tribute bands in Ned’s area


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