The ballad of Dwight Frye, er, Hawkins.
Or, Zen and the art of marijuana maintenance.




If you’re paying
attention, there is normally something humorous going on when you’re suffering.
For example, there is something kind of funny about insanity. For the most part
it’s tragic, and when you start calculating the effect the whole business of
being crazy is having on the families of the insane, that tragedy starts to
grow exponentially, it can really get out of control. Sorrow can be
intoxicating, and you can get addicted to it, so this quality of mental
instability, of having a kind of humor to it, is important, it’s like a built
in eject button, that helps us be kind to ourselves when we’re taking empathy
too far.


Just for
clarity, I’m not talking about laughing at crazy people, like someone on the
subway is talking to themselves, and that seems funny to you, if that’s you,
you haven’t taken the empathy vibe far enough.




I grew up with a
guy named Dwight Hawkins (not his real name!). Me, him, and a couple of other
fellows, started a band together in 7th grade, got in to skipping
school, girls, whatever, the whole nine yards. Anyhow, Dwight got really into
smoking weed and doing acid. He was like, the weed guy.


One night, him
and another buddy of mine, now we’re in 11th grade or so, decided to
drop four hits of acid, smoke a bunch of weed, and drink whiskey all night. There
were multiple kinds of acid involved, and you can probably guess what happened.
It started because my friend Rick was wearing a Sex Pistols shirt that said “Sid Vicious is dead” on the back. Dwight
got freaked and started saying he was dead. Blah, Blah, Blah… he “freaked out”, or “had a bad trip”… etc…


Thing is, Dwight
never returned. First he got really depressed, then he got into this
schizophrenic vibe of finding all kinds of meaning in series of numbers that
he’d see around, and eventually he just shut himself in. We all lost touch with
him, he was impossible to talk to, and he wouldn’t return calls. At one point,
he was the middle man for a weed dealer, and the report I got was that he would
sit in his living room with the shades drawn, and let the TV run with the sound
off and the radio on, and order pizzas. Pretty dark.


BUT! There was a
“Dwight returns” kind of thing that happened. We were all out of high school by
now. Suddenly Dwight was getting in touch with everybody and sounded really
lively. Apparently he had gotten into computers, and met a girl on line, and was
doing well! By this point I was living in New
York City, but when I heard from the guy, we agreed to
meet the next time I visited DC.


The date came
and I dropped by Dwight’s spot. He was living with his parents. It was good to
see him, and in many ways, he seemed like the old Dwight. There is this
slightly manic quality that people who’ve come back from going a little bonkers
tend to develop, like this nervous energy that results from feeling like the
rug could be pulled out from under you at any moment, but other than that, he
seemed pretty normal and appeared to be doing well. He confessed to getting
back into weed, he said that he just couldn’t go without it, but said that he
was only using a little at a time and that it was a good vibe. 


“Oh yeah” he
said excitedly, “I’ve been growing!!!” Next, of course, he wanted to show me
his plants. “Alright” I said, “let’s seem ’em”. I don’t much care about the
business of growing weed, it seems like taking things a little far, but, who
cares, Dwight was pretty psyched on these plants, so I figured I might as well
check them out.


We went into his
room and opened the door to his closet revealing a row of plants and some sun
lamps. Not a lot, maybe four plants. “Wow” I said, “theses are… uh… AMAZING!” It
really was not that amazing. I noticed that there was a bucket sitting in front
of them, it was directly in front of you when you opened the door. “What’s the
Bucket for?” I asked. 


Now check this


Dwight replied,
“Man, I love these plants so much, sometimes I just come, and sit in hear on
this bucket, and stare at them, FOR HOURS!” “Hours?!” I said. “Yeah man, HOURS!”


“Um, ok…”


Now I am a
practicing Buddhist, and I sit around for hours staring at the floor. If
suffering is funny, I suppose trying to end it is even funnier, and that’s
good, just don’t go crazy.


Sam Hillmer is joined in the Zs by Ben
Greenberg, Ian Antonio and Tony Lowe. Their new album
New Slaves is out now on The Social Registry. Check ‘em out at their MySpace page for tour dates, song samples and more.



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