We’d just matriculated from Vallejo Senior High School. That meant summer jobs for most of our friends, those who owned cars that is.
Ray and I, however, had studiously avoided car ownership. We’d observed early-on that automobiles and their insatiable need for fuel, upkeep, insurance … i.e. money … seriously compromised one’s other activities, such as sports, or music, or sleeping-in, or any of a myriad of other pleasant pastimes. Consequently we went without cars.
After all, we really didn’t need cars at the time. When we did, our parents had perfectly good vehicles that stood idle more often than not. And those cars needed exercise. Idleness simply built up carbon in their cylinders and gummed up their carburetors and what not … so by using them we were not only relieving the emotional stress we underwent everyday during our slow maturation, but we were actually doing our folks a good turn!
Besides, I’d tried a summer job the previous year and it really didn’t work out too well (see my post How To Get A Great Job You Really Don’t Want, Part 1). On top of which, we deserved a vacation … especially considering that we’d soon be off to UC Berkeley which according to rumor would be a tough row to hoe … after which we’d be looking at nothing but work until who knew what distant horizon!
Nope, a break was definitely in order!
Shortly after receiving our diplomas we hopped on a Greyhound Bus and headed north to camp among California’s magnificent giant redwoods … the perfect place for some much needed rest, recuperation and relaxation.
We’d both camped there with our families many times before, but this was different. We could do whatever, whenever. We could jump into dangerous stretches of the Eel River without having to hear our mother’s protestations. We could arrange a rendezvous with a girl late night without having to sneak past our dads out of a zippered tent. We could live on hot dogs, cooked or raw, it made no difference.
We could do just about anything! We were high school graduates! We were grown-up! We were FREE!
After a few days of fun and indigestion, a guy about our age drove in for the night in his 1950 bathtub Merc (so called because when turned over it resembled a bathtub). John’s mother had just moved to Cave Junction, Oregon (200 miles north of our location near Garberville) from LA a few months earlier, taking her unfortunate son with her.
Unfortunate because he’d left a city he loved and friends he’d had since childhood for this small town where, if you were from California, the Junctionite boys immediately judged you. You were either a punk, which meant a fight, or a beatnik, which resulted in a north woods type of adulation.
John had the misfortune to be pronounced a punk. He was quite likable though, a cheery fellow through and through; sophisticated and urbane for his age. Tall, slim with wavy black hair he was the prototypical Southern California boy, minus the sun-washed blonde locks. I doubt he stayed long in Cave Junction.
His Merc was “cherry.” He’d just retrieved it from LA, where he’d left it when he moved with his mom and her new husband to Cave Junction. While in LA, he’d taken it to Tijuana where he’d had it re-upholstered with tucked ‘n rolled black leather and painted a deep ebony which made its Detroit chrome absolutely sparkle in the summer sun. It was definitely a “boss ride!”
We got along with John right off the bat, and within no time at all we’d made plans to ride with him up to Cave Junction to check it out for ourselves. It sounded like some kind of alien planet to us … just the thing to make our break that much better!
While familiarizing myself with John’s ride I found an old pamphlet, tucked way up under the front passenger’s seat. The graphics looked like something out of the 1920s, with a guy in formal wear hypnotizing a gal who looked like a Hollywood starlet, completely submissive to his hypnotic powers, awaiting his further commands.
Intrigued I flipped through it. Its center section, in bold print, contained a script entitled “How To Hypnotize Anyone.” Well I had two “anyones”
and decided to give this mesmerizing a go.
Per my hypnotic guru’s written instructions, I grabbed a shiny object (in this case the lid of an old Donald Duck Frozen Orange Juice can), had my subjects sit on some steps (neither of them had anything better to do), relax and stare at the tin lid I held in front of them while I read aloud (in a commanding, authoritative voice),
“You feel tired. You’re tired, very tired. Relax. Imagine yourself floating on a cloud. Soft and billowy. Sink into that cloud. Relax. Don’t worry. Relax (REPEAT). You can feel the tension flowing out of you. You can feel a tingling sensation in your right foot. It completely relaxes. You can feel every muscle in your foot relax. You feel the tingling sensation starting to flow up you right calf. You feel all the tension in your calf flow away. Relax (REPEAT). You can feel the tingling sensation flow up through your right thigh. All the tension in your thigh flows away with it. Relax (REPEAT).”
This relaxation procedure continued right up to the top of the scalp (actually this is a great way to self-administer stress relief and to completely self-relax; you just need a few patient minutes), after which you say,
“Your eyelids are heavy, very, very heavy. You want to close them. You want to sleep (REPEAT TWO TIMES SLOWLY) You’re getting sleepier and sleepier. (REPEAT TWO TIMES SLOWER AND SLOWER) ...”
Curious, I looked up from my hypnosis manual to find, to my astonishment, both Ray and John staring blankly at the tin can top I held. “WOW!” I thought, “This is really working! No, no no, it couldn’t be! It couldn’t be that easy. They’re putting me on! Yeah! They’re putting me on. But what if …”
Undecided I went back to my script, which counseled me to use a soft, lullaby-like voice, and say in an unrushed manner,
“On the count of three, you’ll fall asleep. 1) You’re eyelids are getting heavier and heavier, as heavy as lead, heavier and heavier … 2) Close your eyes, relax, you’re sleepy, you’re growing sleepier and sleepier, relax, you feel as if you’re floating on a cloud, it’s peaceful … 3) SLEEP! … SLEEP … SLEEP …
You get the idea. When I looked up again I saw both of my subjects sitting like zombies!
I wasn’t convinced.
“When your subjects have fallen “asleep,” my hypnosis mentor instructed, “suggest activities for them to engage in.” Due to absolutely no pre-planning at all, I hadn’t a clue as to what I’d suggest, but I could see if my friends were putting me on.
I told them on the count of “1, 2, 3” I’d clap my hands, they’d awaken, and that they’d do the following,
“Ray, you’ll have an irresistible urge to ‘PLAY CAR’ in John’s Merc. You’ll pretend you’re 7 years old playing like you’re driving for EXACTLY five minutes … no more, no less.”
“John, you’ll have an irresistible urge to play your bongos (he had a set in his car’s back window; I think he was trying his best to look like a beat for the Cave Junction boys) for EXACTLY five minutes … no more, no less. Then you’ll put them back PRECISELY in the spot you took them from.”
I counted to three again and clapped my hands. They woke up, surprised, almost like they’d heard a .38 firing nearby. Then they sat there, determined and still as mice, as posture perfect as choir boys during church. They sat and fidgeted. They looked at their feet. They looked at each other. Then … they couldn’t resist it any longer! They just had to do it!
Ray jumped behind the steering wheel, and for 5 minutes exactly (he timed it) he jumped up and down, made different motor noises while twisting and turning the steering wheel like a mad man.
John grabbed the bongos and started banging on them (no other word quite describes his ineptitude) for 5 minutes, exactly, after which he spent about 10 or 15 minutes trying to get the things back in the precise location from which he’d taken them … cussing at me all the while.
Ray was convinced. John was convinced. I was convinced.
This hypnosis stuff seriously worked … and Ray and I had another couple of weeks in which to perfect it!
Coming next! Hitch-hiking, Hypnosis and Cave Junction … Part 2. Don’t miss the next exciting adventurelet!
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