Since we started this blog about one year ago, we have introduced you to the ignoble character of Ferd.
While we are told we could not make such a person up if we tried, we often wonder why we would try.
Here you see a photo of the man, himself, drunken – on our money, as usual – on strawberry drinks at ChiChi’s, the once popular chain of ‘mexican’ restaurants.
Personally, we do not know how that chain lasted as long as it did, as to me no restaurant can call itself truly ‘mexican’ unless they have tamales on the menu.
ChiChi’s, coincidentally, is the only place where Your Humble Narrator ever worked in food services. That was enough.
So, about Ferd…what do we say, how do we explain?
First, let it be known that he has known Your Narrator since the tender age of eight years old. He remembers things that have vanished. He validates our (my) childhood by being the only other person who can remember it. A year older, he claims he met Your Narrator at the Egypt Playground in the sandbox, when we threw sand on him
at age seven. It has been pretty much the same ever since.
We also went through quite a few psychedelic experiences together, even having had the same hallucination at the same time.
We believe this psychedelic connection formed a bond between he and we (the editorial we, as explained in The Big Lebowski by The Dude), as evidenced by the way we came into contact with him after 18 years of not seeing him.
An annnoying jackass was sending me drivel that he called a novel about his time in the US Navy. He sent me some every other day and thought it to be amusing but, as with many writers, he produced useless crap. His useless scribblings being about the Navy reminded us of the box of letters received from Ferd during his time on the high seas. One day, we dug out the box and looked at one letter. It was funny and showed a sense of style and humour which have long since been given up to the dementia of what is known as a ‘wet brain’.
Anyway, that very night we had a dream, a dream that Ferd was in some kind of trouble. It was not Ferd in the dream. The image was of Your Narrator, standing in a doorway, sweating. We knew it was Ferd, even though it looked like us. That is how dreams are.
It did pique the curiousity, however, and after 18 years we decided to look Ferd up…which is not too hard. We took to the internet and after finding a few embarrassing news articles which found him involved in strange behaviour, we procured the address and phone number.
Upon calling the number, we were greeted by the long-unheard voice of Ferd. He was stinking drunk and had no idea who we were. We tried to make sense to him, until a shrill voice shouted from the background, “If you do not get off of that phone right now, I am leaving this minute!’…whereupon the phone was hung up on his end.
Imagining this to be a singular event, we tried the call the next day. Still drunk, we felt his mind reel over the wire. Then, using a phrase that was shared between only he and we, we managed to startle him into a brief moment of cognizance…”Mike…?” He sputtered. “Ferd!” We replied, to which he countered, “I had a dream about you the other night, you were standing in a doorway!” Amazing but true, how the common bond formed by the use of the funny stuff kept us so connected after so many years.
So, we made plans to get together and picked up our association with each other. He is too stupid to be a friend, so he says we are his ‘friend’ and we say, ‘He is our Ferd.’
When this blog started it had a slightly different title, which was Celebrating 50 Years of Substance Abuse. An opportunity showed itself, a while back, to see what LSD had become in the 21st Century and also to be able to achieve tripping over the course of four decades, just to be able to say so. We can tell all of the parents out there not to worry if their child has taken the acid of today. It is as weak as a baby kitten. We paid $20 a hit for what was called ‘triple-dipped’ blotter and had high hopes of a happy high.
Since Ferd had tripped with us a minimum of 400 times, we figured it best to employ him in the test of today’s intoxicants.
Not having used such stuff since the 1990s and way before the death of our parents, it was with a small bit of trepidation that we suggested to Ferd that we retire to our house to try the stuff. We arrived and, since it was supposedly ‘triple-dipped’, took a half a dose each. In the 1990s, a quarter dose of a single tab would be enough to elicit euphoric blissfulness.
We swallowed it and sat on the sofa, listening to Bob Dylan while watching him on Youtube. We started to feel a little ‘sproingy’ in the joints, that rubbery feeling in the elbows and knees, like there is great power there trying to take over us.
We didn’t feel much else, to be honest, and the whole affair seemed pretty mundane until the moment Ferd spoke.
“Opie got in trouble with his bike on the sidewalk,” he offered.
“What???,” we queried him, “the fuck are you talking about?”
“You know,” came his voice from his dazed haze, “When that rich kid told Opie it was okay to ride his bike on the sidewalk and he got in trouble with Barney.”
Incredulous, we thought about that last statement, until it dawned on us, “You are talking about the Andy Griffith Show? From the 1960s?…and you expect me to know what you are talking about.”
“Well, you know,” he countered, “Barney told him not to go on the sidewalk…”
Waves of laughter finally rolled over us, just like in the old days. Ferd sat there, uncomfortably wondering what was so funny. Everytime we stopped laughing and looked at him, we started involuntarily guffawing. It went like that for a couple hours. Everytime, we stopped laughing, we thought of Barney and the laughter returned, while Ferd sat – literally - twiddling his thumbs. It still makes us smile but it was also a sad moment because that was when we realized that the wet brain had affected Ferd to the point that he was no longer ‘with it’. He had gotten old in his mind. He had become the very thing we used to make fun of, with his beer-belly and tv addiction.
Having undertaken numerous attempts to bring him into this century, we finally gave up. We spoke to a shrink about it, who told us that Ferd was ‘demented’. Laughing out loud when the doctor spoke the word, we drove immediately to the home of Ferd to treport the findings.
“I am NOT demendet,” he insisted. His inability to say the word properly resulted in even more laughter and this was weeks or months after the Opie Incident. Since then, he asks regularly how to spell ‘demendet,’ so he can look it up and see if he really is. We do not give him that satisfaction.
One thing to consider here is that Ferd is probably the only person we know who we can post a photo of on the internet and he does not care. He does not have the internet. We created an email address for him and encourage him regularly to get a PC from the Veterans Administration or go to the library, even if it is just to watch videos of Bob Dylan or Barney. We tell him that we write about him but he is unphased. He does not care.
That is typical of Ferd, as one thing we can say on a positive note, is that he has never been known to do harm to anyone. He is pretty much incapable of being mean. He is too dumb. We will tell him we wrote this and posted his photo and he will blow it off like yesterday’s fish and chip papers. At least he remains himself and maintains his own character – which is a lot more than we can say for most people these days.