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Super Mario overindulges on (Magic) Mushrooms

October 1995.

After graduating from University, I had decided to leave my hometown of Montreal in the hopes of finding a job in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. You see, Montreal was not, at the time, a place of opportunity for those looking for employment within the financial industry. And so, I followed the words of Horace Greeley (google him) which were to "Head West, Young man".

I arrived in Vancouver in late September and went to stay in a youth hostel. My intentions were clear, take my (empty) resume from one financial firm to the other, and find a job in this booming city. Well, one thing led to another, and within a couple of days, I got "caught up" in a vicious circle of partying and, of course, the resume went into the wastebasket (recycling wasn't a thing back then). You know what they say, once Vancouver has you, she'll never let you go (or was that Bangkok?)

A few days later, these three people I had become buddies with, one Frenchman, one Brit, and one Hungarian psychedelic hippy, decided to buy a used car. They suggested we take it down along the West Coast, stopping in cities like Seattle and Portland, till we would eventually get to California.

Well, as (bad) luck would have it, the Frenchman turned out to be a drug addict who drove like he was Stevie Wonder, and so the Brit got out of the car at one point at some random rest area by some middle-of-nowhere highway and we never saw him again. The Hungarian Hippy (it has a nice ring to it don't you think?) walked into the kitchen of a restaurant (fancy word for McDonald's, hey we were unemployed) one night where we were having dinner and we also never saw him again. And so it was now just me and the French tête de hashish.

Despite several driving adventures where I am convinced we came close to falling off a cliff, we eventually arrived at our final destination: San Francisco.

We found a backpacker's hostel or inn (I'm not even sure what it was it may have well been a homeless shelter for all I knew, as Frenchie had me high from the weed he was smoking incessantly). I walked up to my room where 3 guys were chatting. They were around my age and seemed quite friendly.

"Hey dude we gonna head down to the basement to watch a movie, care to join us?"

"I'm kind of tired, long drive, maybe tomorrow?". "Well why don't you have some freshly brewed tea we prepared that'll wake you up for sure bro".

One of the guys came up 5 minutes later and handed me a fresh cup of tea. I began smelling it and even though it was different than the teas I was accustomed to, I drank it all in the hopes I would get a much needed "kick".

Well let me tell you. This was no Earl Grey. Moments later I began hallucinating. As in seeing my (dead) grandparents as miniature statuettes, dancing the French can-can. One of the guys walked into the room to check on me and saw me tripping. The next thing I knew I was watching Pee-Wee Herman reruns in the basement with some strangers, and laughing hysterically. "What the hell did you put in that tea" I recall asking as I began slurring my words. "Shrooms dude , good old like?".

Well these were no Super Mario mushrooms. I was completely transformed, elevated. These mushroom goombas were turning me into the Wizard of Oz's Oompa pa Loompas. I eventually got the munchies (not sure if the Frenchman had given me a toke as well) and me and Frenchie ended up going to Burger King's. When we got there I recall having a pig mask on my head. I ordered a burger, some fries and a couple of sundaes.

Moments after sitting down I got up and felt a major head rush. I began frantically hopping around the restaurant thinking I was a kangaroo. My buddy was embarrassed, what with all the families and children there staring at me in sheer bewilderment. "What are you doing man, please, please sit down". "No, no this is the best I have ever felt in my life I feel so DAMN good". And boom. Down I went like a sack of Idaho potatoes, only to wake up moments later with everything around me having seemingly gone completely white, hearing whispers from strangers asking if "the pig man was going to be ok".

The moral of the story, folks: never wear a pig mask in a family restaurant.

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