Last post pertaining to 180 Degrees South, I swear :). But all of this reminded me of a poem one of my NOLS instructors shared with us while we were in the field. It made me smile to myself because of how many people I could insert as this searcher, that would never see themselves as such. And who doesn't love a new Shel Silverstein discovery ?
The Perfect High - a poem by Shel Silverstein
There once was a boy named Gimme-Some-Roy... He was nothin' like me or you,
'cause laying back and getting high was all he cared to do.
As a kid, he sat in the cellar...sniffing airplane glue. And then he smoked banana peels, when that was the thing to do. He tried aspirin in Coca-Cola, he breathed helium on the sly, and his life became an endless search to find the perfect high.
But grass just made him wanna lay back and eat chocolate-chip pizza all night,
and the great things he wrote when he was stoned looked like shit in the morning light.
Speed made him wanna rap all day, reds laid him too far back, Cocaine-Rose was sweet to his nose, but the price nearly broke his back.
He tried PCP, he tried THC, but they never quite did the trick. Poppers nearly blew his heart, mushrooms made him sick. Acid made him see the light, but he couldn't remember it long. Hash was a little too weak, and smack was a lot too strong. Quaaludes made him stumble, booze just made him cry. Then he heard of a cat named Baba Fats who knew of the perfect high.
Now, Baba Fats was a hermit cat...lived high up in Nepal, High on a craggy mountain top, up a sheer and icy wall. "Well, hell!" says Roy, "I'm a healthy boy, and I'll crawl or climb or fly,
Till I find that guru who'll give me the clue as to what's the perfect high."
So out and off goes Gimme-Some-Roy, to the land that knows no time, Up a trail no man could conquer, to a cliff no man could climb. For fourteen years he climbed that cliff...back down again he'd slide . . .
He'd sit and cry, then climb some more, pursuing the perfect high.
Grinding his teeth, coughing blood, aching and shaking and weak, Starving and sore, bleeding and tore, he reaches the mountain peak. And his eyes blink red like a snow-blind wolf, and he snarls the snarl of a rat,
As there in repose, and wearing no clothes, sits the god-like Baba Fats.
"What's happenin', Fats?" says Roy with joy, "I've come to state my biz . . .
I hear you're hip to the perfect trip... Please tell me what it is. "For you can see," says Roy to he, "I'm about to die, So for my last ride, tell me, how can I achieve the perfect high?"
"Well, dog my cats!" says Baba Fats. "Another burned out soul, Who's lookin' for an alchemist to turn his trip to gold. It isn't in a dealer's stash, or on a druggist's shelf... Son, if you would find the perfect high, find it in yourself."
"Why, you jive mother-fucker!" says Roy, "I climbed through rain and sleet,
I froze three fingers off my hands, and four toes off my feet! I braved the lair of the polar bear, I've tasted the maggot's kiss. Now, you tell me the high is in myself? What kinda shit is this?
My ears, before they froze off," says Roy, "had heard all kinda crap; But I didn't climb for fourteen years to hear your sophomore rap. And I didn't climb up here to hear that the high is on the natch, So you tell me where the real stuff is, or I'll kill your guru ass!"
"Okay...okay," says Baba Fats, "You're forcin' it outta me... There is a land beyond the sun that's known as Zabolee. A wretched land of stone and sand, where snakes and buzzards scream, And in this devil's garden blooms the mystic Tzutzu tree.
Now, once every ten years it blooms one flower, as white as the Key West sky,
And he who eats of the Tzutzu flower shall know the perfect high. For the rush comes on like a tidal wave...hits like the blazin' sun. And the high? It lasts forever, and the down don't never come.
But, Zabolee Land is ruled by a giant, who stands twelve cubits high, And with eyes of red in his hundred heads, he awaits the passer-by. And you must slay the red-eyed giant, and swim the river of slime, Where the mucous beasts await to feast on those who journey by. And if you slay the giant and beasts, and swim the slimy sea, There's a blood-drinking witch who sharpens her teeth as she guards the Tzutzu tree."
"Well, to hell with your witches and giants," says Roy, "To hell with the beasts of the sea--
Why, as long as the Tzutzu flower still blooms, hope still blooms for me."
And with tears of joy in his sun-blind eyes, he slips the guru a five, And crawls back down the mountainside, pursuing the perfect high.
"Well, that is that," says Baba Fats, sitting back down on his stone, Facing another thousand years of talking to God, alone. "Yes, Lord, it's always the same...old men or bright-eyed youth... It's always easier to sell 'em some shit than it is to give them the truth."