Rendition of 00individual’s Black Box circa late ’60s / early ’70s copyright 2013 00individual TLL
EXPERIENCE TRUE PSYCHEDELIC TRIPS!
MIND-BLOWER #14 – late ’60s / early ’70s
the BLACK BOX
The Black Box was made by a science-fiend and Spiderman gymnast friend in L.A. and consisted of two big Frankenstein bolts exposed on the top of the Box next to, but apart from each other with a red button positioned below center between them. Inside was a secret mix of batteries and electrical stuff designed so that whoever touched both bolts and completed the circuit when the red button was pushed would get a good jolt of ee-lec-tricity!
The Black Box put out enough juice that the effect on a group of people holding hands to complete the circuit – once jolted – would/could result in screams, yells, profanity and broken circuits from hands yanked back in shock and laughter; so a single jolt per person was, well, …adequate.
I brought the Black Box along on our move from L.A. to Mammoth Mountain for the winter of 1971 as it was always an exciting and fun Tribe-pleaser. One evening while playing Hearts and listening to Pink Floyd’s new album Meddle, we all agreed that it was time to make things more interesting; so whoever ended up with the Queen of Spades had to take a hit from the Black Box.
The anticipation of the shock was probably worse than the actual shock, well, not really, but it was exhilarating foreplay to the inevitable. That said, we also stipulated that if anyone tried to run all the points and didn’t succeed and held the Queen, then they’d have to take 13 jolts of electricity, per the Queen’s value. However, if they were successful every other player would have to take thirteen jolts each – so this suddenly became a high stakes game of Hearts.
Mr. Frost, our neighbor and fellow psychedelic soul was pretty good at Hearts and he and I had a considerable good-natured competitive one-ups-man relationship for the bizarre, so we all agreed; knowing full well with those stakes that no one but either of us would attempt a “run” anyway.
As he game progressed I felt I had a very real opportunity to get all 26 points and not only win the hand, but the evenings’ game, shut-down Mr. Frost and make everyone take their thirteen jolts.
Although I was very close, I was unsuccessful and took the thirteen jolts. But in doing so I realized that I could take more – for once I was “glued to the bolts” it was like involuntary muscle reaction mixed with a sharp pain, but after that night I felt I could probably take jolts forever.
One night everyone was getting high and we went through a series of Black Box experiments from group hand held shocks to the now famous “endurance” runs where Mr. Frost and I held the joint Championship. This led to the next level of Black Box fun when we tried to get our girlfriends or any girls to try to connect the current through French kissing or just touching tongues. But as much as we tried, none of them were brave enough – however, this alone created a lot of interactive fun that went on for quite some time – which was one of the other mystical secrets that the Black Box held; it created opportunities for playful interaction with the Chicks, Man. But in the end the only ones willing to try were myself and Mr. Frost.
Since both of us were secure in our manhood and Seekers of the Bizarre and with a room-filled audience we decided that we would complete the circuit by touching our tongues.
Imagine our surprise when our wet tongues heightened the shock past what we were normally expecting – plus the electricity ran right under our tongues along the sublingulal ridge and zapped the tips of our tongues with what I heard in my head as a crack like a whip as our heads involuntarily recoiled and the gathered Tribe went wild with laughter – fun was had by all.
Whether straight, stoned or psychedlicized, it’s all about the heightened exciting anticipation . . until . . . zap!
Ah, yes, good times indeed.
Items as seemingly insignificant as the Black Box represented a predestined search by an entire generation to experience the extremes in all of life in order to make sense of life.
Why were we unashamed to shed our clothing and “nude-up” naturally?
Why were we unafraid to consume mind-altering drugs with absolutely no knowledge of the consequences?
Why were we so in tune with an unknown evolving culture while rejecting traditional values?
How did we become aware at just the right time in history to spearhead the “Question Authority” mandate on a generational level?
The answer to these questions and many more like them is simple; Baby Boomers were
predestined to rebel because the times demanded a new reality.
History is high-watermarked by individuals, groups, states and nations that have made an indelible impact for change in world history – but there has only been one generation that has done so. That is not random, that is predestined.
The willingness and ability to attain awareness and then use that knowledge to take action and stand up to the “authorities” during a time in history that needed a revolutionary nudge out of the tired, restricted, unjust and unquestioned doldrums of past traditions and moral “laws” was what “my generation” was here to do. That is not random, that is predestined.
Unfortunately, our work was never done and we must forever be vigilant, for no matter what era – there is always a Monster on the loose . . .
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