The following excerpt is from Part One
of Jennifer Knight's forthcoming narrative nonfiction book
CRAZY IS AS CRAZY DOES: The Stoner Delirium Vol. 1
"Study or be Studied" is an excerpt from ONE CRAZY STONER by Jennifer F. Knight.
(introduction by Adam Gorightly)
Your colorful Colorado correspondent here present had just served five troublesome days on a 72-hour hold for observation inside my local Nut-House when the strange notion to craft this dangerous proof of honest work in gonzo journalism finally began to take hold.
We, the uninsured subjects, were trapped inside a federally-funded mental health facility courtesy of a very special scholarship program. Stripped of all personal effects and locked up tight in a sterile construct full of doctors and nurses and tunnels and chambers and lights and puzzles and military flags and electroshock machinery.
I suppose I should probably use the term 'electroconvulsive equipment' here instead, because I remember the hospital staff becoming rather serious about this small and subtle change to their language.
Certain mental health professionals no longer wished to make use of the word 'electroshock' although this dangerous invention was still widely available back then.
The year was 2014, a time when electroshock therapy could be suggested by a doctor and then demanded by a judge in order to force clinical remedy upon a disenfranchised mental patient. Fortunately, that sort of legally-induced medical treatment was reserved for only the most severely maladjusted among us.
Judges hold more power than you and me, I suppose, because their gowns open to the front. I mean, they seem normal enough otherwise.
I fought my way through several brute-force attacks meant to break into the most treasured of my thinking parts over those five troublesome days, attacks which I can only assume were ordered at the behest of whatever faceless preternatural authority was actually in charge of the institution. I handled each situation to the best of my foggy-minded ability (in spite of the backless gown and slipper socks) thereby avoiding any potentially hazardous connection between my seemingly delicate temples and the community’s local power grid.
A little discretion goes a long way.
Prior to that fateful psychotic break, before my capture by ambulance and the mandatory incarceration for evaluation that followed, the best part of me was researching the journalistic work of Nellie Bly, daring author of Ten Days in a Mad-House.
That crazy bitch feigned mental malady to get at the heart of her story, a twisted assignment, professional malingering for a major newspaper - covert operations for the love of her craft - and I most certainly admired her for it. As far as I can tell, any working female journalist in the late nineteenth century was quite obviously insane. I mean, there were only a few probable explanations for such enigmatic behavior back then.
Thinking back to the interview portion of my mental health evaluation, I can remember asking the infamous Dr. Labcoat if beholding the crystal-clear voice of Hunter S. Thompson counted as an auditory hallucination.
If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.
Then I referenced the beautiful mind of Dr. John Nash and asked Labcoat if he was planning to throw me a pen ceremony later. He was not amused.
"Am I crazy?"
"No, Jennifer. You're not crazy."
The honorable Dr. Labcoat prescribed several psychotropic medications and I ate them all, along with the stool softeners, because I wanted out. There was honest work to be done beyond those eggshell walls and I was anxious to escape them and assume my front line position in America's [doomed] War on [some] Drugs.
Diagnosis? Gravely Disabled.
Upon release from the institution, I was granted asylum by two strange men your noble narrator dubbed Hash Prophets (knights of the banana-shaped table). They were a couple of intelligent, music-loving stoners who'd been dug up and transplanted from Iowa, good and honest root-bound people now working like highly trained service dogs in Colorado's burgeoning [medical] marijuana industry.
The Hash Prophets were renting a two-story house on the north end of Colorado Springs with an elaborate hydroponic grow operation running like a wet-hot American dream in its basement, and they invited me to stay a while.
I accepted this residency program, because it offered an otherwise impossible opportunity to study the decriminalization and eventual legalization of marijuana in the United States. I trusted them. We did science.
Given my newly manifested domestic situation (a mostly hassle-free set and setting in a town built for NORAD by Jesus and the feds) I was able to reach out to the editorial staff at the Marijuana Free Press and offer up some relatively valuable wordsmithing free of charge.
In other words, I got myself a non-paying job firing off random missives about freedom and discretion and dangerous drugs to a small and somewhat fragile audience for the love of independent American journalism...
CRAZY IS AS CRAZY DOES: The Stoner Delirium Vol. 1