"[T]he Covid pandemic seemed to confirm so many of our assumptions. It cast down the people we regarded as villains. It raised up those we thought were heroes. It prospered people who could shift easily to working from home even as it problematized the lives of those Trump voters living in the old economy."
Remarkable stuff. This is a UK outlet, saying lockdowns and social distancing "problematized the lives of those Trump voters living in the old economy" - you know, villains. Everybody else - the heroes who can work from home - prospered. I had to look up the author, Thomas Frank, and lo and behold he graduated from the same high school as I did, Shawnee Mission East in suburban Kansas City. We were very likely born at the same hospital, St. John's. He lived in Mission Hills, which is like a little Disneyland of mansions, I lived down the way where the lodgings were more modest, but still very nice.
This brings up a funny story. I was about maybe 25, working as a bartender at the Carriage Club in Mission Hills. Several years earlier I saw the funniest thing I've ever seen.
We had gotten a large quantity of DMT, a very potent psychedelic, you smoke it and it comes on fast and completely overwhelms you, you have to be sitting down and ready to just fall back and let it do its thing. When we administered it to people and explained it to them, they got apprehensive, and there's a threshold, either you get really high or you don't get anything. So we ended up wasting a lot on people who were pussyfooting.
So I decided to get a five-foot bong, and make people draw up the chamber, then catch their breath and inhale the whole thing, that way it wouldn't be wasted. Problem solved.
DMT leaves a residue, and this bong had built up quite a residue.
So one day this kid comes over, his name is Blake, we called him Blake the Flake because he was a trust fund kid who could only pay you once a month. He had never heard about DMT.
So we're sitting in a large Victorian house with a big living room, there's maybe eight people sitting around. Blake comes by and asks if he can pack a bowl of schwag, inferior Mexican marijuana (this was 1997). We were pot snobs, we wouldn't even put that stuff in our pipes, so we said "You can use that bong over there." The DMT bong.
So he packs a bowl and takes a rip. The poor guy, he had never heard of DMT and he got a roaring hit of it. He starts to panic, falling back and physically inert, and we all realize what happened and start laughing uncontrollably. I was rolling on the ground. This can only have contributed to his distress.
So back to the Carriage Club in Kansas City. I was working as a bartender years later, and this guy is closing down the bar and we start talking. "I went to school in Lawrence," this that, he says "Oh maybe you know my son Blake. He lives there." I look at his face and sure enough that's the father of Blake the Flake. I had totally forgotten about the incident, but it all came back to me in a flash. I laughed and said "Oh yeah, I think I know your son."