Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Psychedelic Rabbis and Religious Highs Part 2.

Meanwhile, back to reality…

“Yeah, I wrote articles about the homeless. I actually used to dress like them and go out for field research to see what it was like to be homeless,” he said.

I thought maybe he had just finished a day of “research”.

“I met this lady, she was a nice lady. I should have married her. We were working at the same university. I was studying to be a rabbi. She would tell me that I didn’t want to get married, so she was going to leave. I should have married her, but she was a very smart lady. She didn’t like what I wanted to write about though,” he said.

“So, do you still see her at all,” I said.

“No. She was getting swept up in the academic crowd you know, and she wanted to go off with those people. I should have married her,” he said.

 I felt like I should have weeded him off of this subject.

“So what did you find while you were researching,” I said.

“Well, I would go way uptown, out of the area where I worked because I didn’t want people who might know me to see me being homeless,” he said.

“I see, that’s kind of smart,” I said.

“Yeah. What I found was that black women who were mothers always gave the most. They would have four or five kids with them, but they were always digging through their purses for me. I think its cause they really knew what it was like to grow up poor,” he said.

“How about the other end of the spectrum? Did you notice anyone who didn’t give anything,” I asked.

“Well…” he paused for a moment.

“Are you gay,” he said.

I had a feeling about what was coming. I wanted an honest answer from him. I said no because I wanted to know what he was really going to say.

“I found that gay men where the group to give the least,” he said.

“How did you know that they were gay,” I asked.

“I’ve gone around to the different neighborhoods doing this,” he said.

“Well, why do you feel like they gave the least,” I said.

“I think it’s all the narcissism,” he answered.

“Really,” I said.

“How long did you write about your experiences,” I asked.

 It felt rather clear that he is still working on it, even if he wasn’t writing anything.

 “A long while. I still like to go out there and immerse myself into the culture,” he said.

I just shook my head and smiled. I still didn’t know a lot of people in New York, so I though I would try and squeeze a Tuesday’s with Maury moment out of this.

“So you were studying to be a Rabbi, did you make it,” I asked.

“Oh yes, yes, I became a rabbi. You know prayer is the most important thing to being a rabbi. It’s what keeps you strong and close to the almighty,” he said.

Now I thought we were getting somewhere. I was waiting for the words of wisdom to flow over me like a slow moving brook. The kind of advice that would hold the stones to put in a sling shot to slay the giant with. Wisdom that could only come from aged rabbi’s who worked with the poor and sacrificed their love lives.  

“Have you ever tried acid?” he said.

The flowing water stopped.

“Come again,” I said.

“Acid, have you ever tried acid. It’s a really great substance for getting in touch with God,” he said.

I shook my head unsure of how to answer.

“I’ve never done any drugs before. I think I might have gotten high once off of my inhaler, but I was pretty young,” I said.

“No, you would need something a bit stronger like acid. You should really think about giving it a try it really opens up your mind,” he said.

I smiled, thinking that the punch line was going to come around the corner at any moment. He would bust out some catchy zinger that most Jewish comedy writers could come up with off the top of their heads, catchy like Chelsea Handler not Jay Leno. There is a difference people. Still his face stayed consistent and straightforward. He spoke with the certainty of someone who just looked at their watch to tell me the time. Not an ounce of doubt discomfort.

“I’ll see if I can make it through the looking glass,” I said.

“Well, I’m here almost every Tuesday around this same time if you would like to come back and talk again. Are you sure you don’t need some money,” he said.

Are you sure you don’t need a straight jacket and some methadone, I thought to myself.

“How noble,” I shook his hand and parted ways.

Every now and then, over the years of returning to Barnes and Noble, sometimes I find myself peeking into the café’ to see if my Rabbi is still sitting there choreographing a new sip with his coffee and passing along the connection to God that can only come with LSD.

I give this two PP’s out of four.  

Next time on This Peculiar Life...

I'll bringing you my Perculiar Person of the Month. It may be person of the week if I can get a steady flow of interviews. ;)

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