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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Taking the Cake. By John von Daler

                         It was ten o'clock. The kids were safely in bed and fast asleep. It was Saturday night. We had decided to celebrate the end of the week by eating some hash cookies.

                These were the sixties. Out on our balcony I had for months just for the fun of it cultivated a little marihuana plant in a clay pot. We did not smoke anything either of us, so my intention was more or less just to watch the thing grow. Many of our friends tried puffing on all kinds of marihuana, but my throat at any rate was too sensitive to tolerate a lot of hot smoke.
                But then we got curious. Maybe we were missing out on something. We decided to try just this one time. So I baked some cookies filled with marihuana hot off the plant and added something else that I cannot remember. Maybe carrots? Then I put in all-spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and various other goodies.
                At any rate we now had some fairly tasty cookies, not sweet, but spicy. We ate one each and then sat down to read our books and to wait.
                Actually, the waiting was boring. Nothing happened. I think an hour went by without any change in our moods. I went to the bathroom and while I was there began to study the tiles on the floor. I discovered that each little row of mortar between the tiles had become a canal, very straight but also very picturesque. In my daily life I had never noticed that a few microscopic insects lived on those canals. Now they were rowing around the bathroom in their tiny gondolas. Since the marihuana did not seem to be working, I called to my wife that she should come out and see the funny little insects row around our bathroom. She came and we enjoyed the activity together for quite a few minutes. Little Venice we called it.
                When we went back into the living room, I decided to lie down on a big mattress that we had in the corner. As I lay there I felt myself floating upwards, off the mattress and a foot or so into the air. I asked my wife to come and put her hand on my stomach, as I was afraid that I might fly all the way to the ceiling and get stuck there. She was feeling a little the same way so we lay there with our hands on each other's stomachs, holding each other down.
                At this point I think we made a very good decision. We started to talk about our kids, and what would happen if they woke up and found us floating there. We agreed right at that moment not ever to try this experiment again as long as the kids were small. Then we "flew" out to the kitchen and drank some sugared water to bring ourselves down again. And I at least have never tried hash again.
                Since then quite a few decades have passed. The children have left home and started their own adult lives. But I have never come back to that experiment - until a few days ago when I had an operation for cataracts in one eye. The combination of weird, red lights that flew around in front of me as they operated and the wild avantgard music made by the various machines in the operating room brought back the whole hash sequence in my mind. Now I am looking forward to them operating on the other eye so I can get high again.
                Old people really have to work to get their kicks, n'est-ce pas?

My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is now available. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Please feel free to write a short review of "Pieces" in your own language at or GoodReads. Thanks for your support! "Pieces" at

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