Saturday, January 30, 2016

When I was High

"Riding a Stutz Bearcat
Stutz Bearcat
Jim, and those were different times, when poets studied rules of verse and ladies they rolled their eyes!"
-- Lou Reed

I was high from about 1973 to 1979.  In or around 1979, something happened that made me realize that I had made my life unmanageable.  I stop short of telling other people what to do.  Even though I experiment with pot several times after that, I never got any enjoyment.  I had come to hate it.  I mean the particular process, not the whole period of life.

Iggy Pop
But to tell you the truth, pot was very popular at the Marshall Chess Club in those days.  Not to endorse it or anything, but the Marshall was founded by artists rather than businessmen, and we are the club that survived.

The basement was not locked.  That's where we would go to smoke.  I would say that there were two groups who smoked at the club regularly, the group my age and one a little bit older.  There was some intermingling.  The basement was affectionately called the Marshall Gills.

Its funny, but during the period that I was high much of the time, I gained a good deal of my experience in the chess world.

Marcel Duchamp
One funny story.  I was trying to get back into chess promoting.  I found out that Chess City was co-sponsoring the Pan-Am Intercollegiate at the Pennsylvania Hotel.  I contacted them to see if I could help direct.  The first day I helped them register players.  Then I went to up to the balcony to see how it looked. It wasn't as big a room as used for the US Open, but it was quite big.  You might be familiar with it from the New York Open.

Anyhow I came down to help post with on the wall charts.  One of the Chess City owners, Stu Morden talked with me and said, "Drink some water.  Your mouth is dry from the pot you smoked!"  He didn't fire me, but I was actually too embarrassed to continue and I quit the tournament on the spot.  Also during that tournament I saw one of the other Chess City owners, Vin Caveseno literally tackle someone who had stolen from the chess book concession.


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