A buddy of mine told me about the time he and some of his teenage surfer doper buddies were sitting around the quad at USF eyeing the chicks and digging the scene. This was 1966, I think, at the epicenter, just off Haight. Things moving fast, things moving slow, and walking across the street on acid was just like Section 43. Country Joe and the Fish, he said, which I knew already. Electric Music for the Mind and Body wasn’t released yet, he reminded me. Though I knew that too, since I had the record, I’d bought it used from a hippie record store. Someone very high had drawn perfect little flowers in ball point pen on the cover. But I didn’t let on. It was his story, his movie, his narrative, and I pictured him, young and tanned, a Ventura County boy, tripping and walking and laughing on a gray day in San Francisco. You could touch the sounds, he said. They had a feel. They’d walked all the way from Haight Street feeling the sounds. Now he and his pals were sitting around a table beneath an umbrella and taking hits from a joint rolled like a Lucky Strike. LSMFT. LSLSD. They giggled and tried not to. Coeds walked past. They smiled. A couple long haired dudes in wild get ups came through, handing out flyers. They were guitar players, they said. He took one of the flyers. It was cool and psychedelic. Big Brother and the Holding Company is looking for a singer, it said. You guys know any chicks that can sing? My friend apologized and said he couldn’t think of anybody. Well if you do, give them the flyer. He said he would.
Wow, I said. He sighed and stared past me, remembering. I wish I’d held on to that flyer, he said.