Gettin’ down with the meg
DISCLAIMER: The following tale is in no way meant to promote the use of innocent spices for anything other than their intended purpose. I’m just telling you what happened.In 1985 I was in such a state that if someone wearing a turban told me what to do, I would do it. Those were innocent times, and turbans had different connotations.The turbaned man in this story was telling me to eat some nutmeg. He explained that if you grind some up in a coffee grinder and drink it in a smoothie, it will get you high. OK, technically he didn’t say “get you high.” The turbaned man was my yoga teacher, a Sikh, and he was suggesting that I drink a nutmeg shake and then go off and meditate, like he did. He explained that nutmeg taken in such quantities can produce some interesting effects which will enhance the meditation process. So, of course, I heard “get you high.”It wasn’t as if nutmeg was my only way of getting high. No, I had plenty of options that I exercised regularly – perhaps explaining my susceptibility to the whims of the turbaned – but I was up for expanding my horizons. The next afternoon found me in the garage with my father’s coffee grinder. The turbaned man said I should use a grinder that would not be used for coffee again, as the nutmeg taste would remain there forever. I determined, based solely on the fact that I would never get caught, that my dad’s grinder was in such a state of retirement.So there I stood in the garage, my own little proto-meth lab, grinding up nutmeg. This produced a horrible racket, like I was attempting to grind gravel, which sent my father snooping. Since it was his house and, OK, his grinder, I guess “snooping” is making it out to be a little more sinister than it was. It was more of a “What’s just exploded in the garage?” than a “Barry’s making noise, maybe he’s trying to get high. I’d better go spy on him.” He opened the garage door and there I stood, caught meg-handed. Luckily, I recovered quickly, realizing that I actually had nothing to hide. It was my business to know what gets you high, and 24 hours earlier I had no idea that nutmeg was on the list, so I was certain that my father wasn’t hip to it. Still, I was clearly up to something.”What are you doing with my bean grinder?” he asked angrily. Actually, he just asked it normally, which was the same as angrily. My dad’s baseline for anger was a little higher than the norm, which is what having your 19-year-old stoner son still living at home will do to you.”What are you doing with my bean grinder?” This was a fair question.The perfection of that moment was not lost on me. We were both fulfilling our roles perfectly. My role was to get high, his was to keep me from getting high. Or, failing that, make sure that if I was high, I was not enjoying it.I told him what he wanted to hear, which, in one of those rare alignments, also happened to be the truth.”Grinding nutmeg.””For what?” Again, fair question. Again, the truth.”To put it in a milkshake.”He scowled and left the garage, mumbling something to himself.I took the powdered nutmeg inside and got out the blender, which got the attention of the remaining family members. I didn’t cook, or make shakes, or really do much at all in the kitchen, so everyone knew something was up.”It’s just a milkshake,” I said to the assembled crowd, showing the ingredients like a magician displaying the lack of objects up his sleeve. “With a whole bunch of nutmeg. What’s the big deal?”(Next time: Barry megs hard.)Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is barry@Irrelativity.com and his very own Web page is at http://www.Irrelativity.com.