Friday, December 9, 2022

Laughing Gas

Back when I was in college, about 45 years ago, my roommate told me he’d met a couple of guys who had a new and unique way of getting high and he invited them to come over so he could get high with them. He said I could join them if I wanted to.

A few days later, two guys who were about in their early 20s or so, like us, arrived toting something that looked like an oxygen tank. It turned out it was full of laughing gas.

I didn’t know there really was such a thing as laughing gas. I thought it was just some fictional device that mostly appeared in comic strips. But I guess it was a euphemistic name for an anesthetic used by dentists, at least at the time.

And I didn’t know how these guys managed to score a tank of laughing gas. Were there pushers in dark alleys who dealt such wares? Or maybe one of them had a parent or uncle or somebody in their life who was a dentist and they swiped a tank of laughing gas from their office.

Anyway, this opportunity was too unique to pass up so I sat in a circle in my living room with my roommate and those two other guys and the tank of laughing gas was in the center of the circle between us all.  And we took turns inhaling the laughing gas and every once in a while somebody would burst out laughing out of the blue.

I don’t remember laughing or even being moved to laugh. And I never did laughing gas again. That’s ironic because I’ve spent a lot of my life since then seeking out laughs. Except I use more natural and organic sources to make me laugh, like reading Mark Twain or watching stuff like the Marx Brothers, Monty Python, the Three Stooges or a Mel Brooks movie.

And speaking of the Stooges, there’s a particularly hilarious episode where they accidentally end up in the army and on the battlefield a bomb that says LAUGHING GAS on it explodes near them. They’re all laughing their asses of off as the Nazis take them prisoner and take them to their headquarters. And at the headquarters the Stooges keep laughing their asses off as they beat the shit out of the Nazis.

Wouldn’t it be great if we really could weaponize laughing gas like that? You fire one of those missiles at your enemies and they laugh their asses off. And nobody can fight because they’re laughing too hard. Make jokes not war.

The world sure would be a better place if that’s how we fought wars. Whoever invented a laughing gas bomb would surely win the Nobel Peace Prize.

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