Sunday, September 16, 2012

Smoking Grass with a NASA Scientist

I smoked weed with a mad scientist at NASA once. 

The years I spent as a press officer at NASA I did not run into a lot of pot heads, I was really out of place there.  

But once in a while you’d see a glimmer in someone’s eye, or smell smoke coming from a parked car, and you'd meet up with another “head,” even in 1978 in a regimented region such as Clear Lake south of Houston, Texas, where sits the LBJ Space Center. 

On assignment from an East Coast university, Mad Scientist was a wild-eyed super-genius from that elite population who enter college before becoming a teenager.  He’d spent most his life cloistered in science academia and then working on government projects. He became my instant friend at NASA in Houston because he smoked weed.  Or pot or grass, we didn't call it weed back in the 1970s. 

I probably met him at one of the happy hours along NASA Road One, as there weren’t a lot of other places for a scientist working on a secret mission and an out of place journalist to meet. 

He had marijuana!  

One night I went off with Mad Scientist to get high at his apartment on Nassau Bay.  I was finally going to get to smoke pot after months of “partying” at bars with people who seemed to be in military uniform, even when they just were wearing street clothes.    

Mad Scientist could have been called wild-eyed and bushy tailed.  His hair had an electrified frizz and was untended, so the overall shape of his head was oblique.  He wore thick black-rimmed lenses, with a skinny body, and an awkward quickness to his movement that all together made him appear like a comic book version of a mad scientist. 

I was so glad to connect with him.  He had marijuana.   

And what happens?

We smoke ash. 

It turns out Mad Scientist was paranoid about getting caught with pot or weed or marijuana while he was in Houston working at NASA, so, all he brought with him was ash. 

There are still molecules of cannabis left over in the ash, Mad Scientist explained to me in a science professor voice, as he packed the stinking ash into a sticky pipe.  He said the black powder in his shoe box that smelled like a tar pit was ash from marijuana he’d smoked in Boston six months earlier.  He saved the ashes to smoke them over and over again as there are still molecules of THC in the ash, he explained. 

Now hiding inside his living room as far away from his window as possible, we were to put that ash into a pipe and light it, inhale the wretched smoke from the ashes, then put the ashes from smoking the ashes back into the box to smoke again later. 

Needless to say, there was no buzz.  Don't know if Mad Scientist ever got to put his project on the Space Shuttle or whatever ... 

Wouldn't we all be better off if weed was just legal? 


1 comment:

  1. Funny story, Kay. I thought it was going to be a tale about superweed grown by a space scientist in his experimental space farm. Too bad; if there were more free thinkers and mystics in the space program, maybe it wouldn't have turned into such an an unimaginative accounting exercise.


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