Then It Hit Me: The Grateful Dead

Then It Hit Me: The Grateful Dead

I was 21 and I loved punk music and I hated the Grateful Dead. I was at home when there came a knock at the door. I opened it and there stood one of my friends, Lisa, and behind her were six or seven Dead Heads. She said, “Hi, I picked these guys up hitchhiking and told them they could stay at your house.” She was getting back at me for going out with another girl.

Before I could say no, they were in my house polluting the air space with that stench that only months on tour can create.

I don’t remember actively choosing to take acid, but within an hour it was coming on strong. Mysteriously, my friend Lisa had vanished. That’s when the Heads started playing the Grateful Dead on the record player. I went to find my milk crate of punk albums, but it had mysteriously vanished. I resisted at first, and then I just accepted I was going to have to listen to the Grateful Dead. That night it felt like I heard every song the Grateful Dead had ever played.

In the morning, like phantoms, the Dead Heads were gone, and my house was trashed. I started to clean up and thought to put on some music. On the turntable I found that the Heads had left a copy of the Grateful Dead album Shakedown Street. I looked at my milk crate of punk albums that had returned as mysteriously as it had vanished and thought, “Ah fuck it, I kind of like these guys.”

I never went to a Grateful Dead show and I never let my hair grow long or wore tie-dyed clothing, but I have listened to the Grateful Dead almost every day since.

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