THE FORGIVENESS OF BUTT-HEAD
We swallowed the little cardboard stained with the LSD and began to smoke pot as much as we could, as fast as we could. We where working under the theory that doing so made getting off on the acid better since it usually took about an hour or so for the acid to kick in. After half the pot was gone, we decided to go out and walk around as the acid was taking effect and we could goof on everybody and everything. We walked down to the beach and laughed at people, stuck in their normal, boring existence, all the while declaring how free and better off we where because we where able to get high. Yet I always knew, deep down, that I was just as pathetic if not more so, and no matter how high I got, it wouldn’t change that. In fact the notion was, deep down, that getting stoned was making it worse and was in fact, speeding up the momentum of my certain, yet still unknown, impending calamity.
We left the beach because it was a cold, gray and windy day and there weren’t that many "suckers" to make fun of. We decided to walk over to the liquor store and get some brews. As we were walking along the pond that spilled out into the sound, I heard Beavis say casually, "That’s the house where terrorists live." Suddenly I was gripped with a grave fear. My mind went into a paranoid spiral, imagining terrorists, guns, bloodshed and murder.
We walked the length of Weed Avenue and turned onto The Post Road where The Liquor Locker was. It was maybe a half-hour walk and all the while Beavis was laughing and carrying on in his happy tripped out way, but I didn’t hear a word he was saying. My mind was preoccupied with thoughts of terrorists and mayhem. Suddenly things weren’t so funny anymore. When we got to the liquor store I stopped outside, I couldn’t go in. Beavis said, "what’s the matter dude, you alright?" I said that I couldn’t go in there and face these people. This was the first time that I had shown that anything was wrong with me, mostly since Beavis was in his own psychedelic world and all this was only going on in my own head. He said, "OK man, I’ll get the beers, wait here."
He went inside, a little confused but not much more so than usual. I stayed outside, now afraid to look at people, with my head down, afraid to look up and see the terrorists inside my mind, and outside. I was afraid to see anything looking at me, in the same way that I was seeing out. When Beavis came out with a couple of six packs I told him that I had to go home. He said OK since we always partied at my house; it didn’t seem like that an unusual request. I said let’s take the side streets home, afraid to be seen and to see, but with beer in hand he was happy to oblige since drinking on the main streets wouldn’t be cool anyway.
When we got to my house we went up to the attic which I maintained as a party room, with old, used overstuffed chairs, a stereo eight-track tape player, beer coolers and posters of rock bands and barely dressed models of the day. I put on some music, started to plow myself with beer and weed, hoping to rid my mind of the thoughts of terrorists in the neighborhood, and what that suddenly seemed to mean to me. All this was normal to Beavis because that was where we always hung out and got wasted, but I was sinking deeper and deeper into my own made up world and this wasn’t fun anymore.
Finally my grandmother yelled up the stairs, as she always did, telling us to turn the music down and to stop smoking "that god damn pot." Our shouting matches where famous in the neighborhood for both the insane content and sheer volume, being that we were both raving alcoholics at the time. I went to the door to scream as usual that we weren’t doing anything, and for her to go have a drink, which always made her go away swearing and talking to herself. Somehow, yelling seemed to satisfy her need to discipline me, and it freed her to return to her drinking; having to discipline me was why I think she was pissed in the first place. We had disturbed her drinking. As I looked out the door and down the stairs to the landing below, she looked up and saw how I looked, and told me in a very sincere and caring manner, that I had better be careful with what I was doing to myself. What?
Suddenly, in a flash, everything changed and I was in an old black and white movie from the forties! The truth of what she was saying was so profound that it shook me even more. The scary movie in my head had spread to the world outside. It was too much to bear. I meekly told her, “OK”, and went back inside and told Beavis that he had to go.
He said, "dude, what’s the matter?"
"I dunno but with the terrorists living in that house and all…I’m a little …you just gotta go."
"Terrorists, what terrorists!"
"You know, the ones you said lived down by the pond!"
He looked at me at first as if I was joking and laughed, but when he saw that I wasn’t smiling and sensed what was going on, he got a little nervous and said, "Dude, I said Terry, my brother Terry, lived in that house, not terrorists."
I felt myself turn white. Holy shit, how could I be that wrong! I was completely mistaken…it was all in my head. From one misperception I had gone into an entire story of terrorists! I had been wrong from the beginning! None of what I had thought and experienced for the last horrifying hour was true at all.
I was dazed and confused and more than a little unnerved.
Seeing that I wasn’t going to be any fun anymore, Beavis told me to take it easy and went away trying not to laugh, happily tripping on his way. Being a good get high buddy, he left behind the beers saying that I probably needed them more than him; but I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t do anything. I just sat there stunned and thought about what just happened. As it sank in, that I was wrong about everything, that nothing I thought meant anything at all, I felt the color come back to my face. I slowly became relieved as it all lifted and began to sheepishly laugh at myself. I WAS THE GOOF!
I became so happy and grateful that I was wrong, that I went downstairs and gave my grandmother a beer and we drank and laughed as we watched an old black and white James Cagney movie.
Forgiveness, of this whole world, it’s kind of like that.
And while I’m pretty sure that my pal wasn’t really Beavis, although who’s to say, I certainly am a butthead anytime that I perceive a threat, constituted of my own mistaken thinking, projected "out there" including in and onto my "brother." In that moment I need the miracle of forgiveness, found in the humble and glorious admission of being wholly mistaken.
God doesn’t make buttheads.
Yet when Beavis and Butthead are joined, rock on dude!
Remembering to laugh
E.J. (Morgan) Shearn
Las Cruces New Mexico