Posted on 6.15.18: I was crashing with a married couple, Frank and Karen, in a smallish Boston apartment in the general vicinity of Symphony Hall and Hemenway Street. They had a linebacker-sized friend named Eddie who lived nearby and was also hanging out a lot. Mainly the four of us sat around in the evenings and got high. I distinctly remember not rolling joints as much as tapping the tobacco out of filtered cigarettes and then-filling the cigarette with what I recall was low-grade pot. Moderately potent, lots of stems and seeds.

One night around 10 pm or so we decided we needed a straw for sucking in hash smoke. A tiny chunk of hash placed on the burning embers of a cigarette, etc. No, I don’t remember why we didn’t just use rolled-up dollar bills. Probably because it would’ve been unsanitary.

I recall that it was fairly cold out and that we were probably broke or close to it, and so going to a market and buying a pack of straws was out. So I decided to start knocking on doors and asking Frank and Karen’s neighbors if they had a straw to spare. It wasn’t just the vaguely strange notion of a long-haired guy in jeans and boots with bloodshot eyes looking to bum a straw from strangers, but that it was too late to knock on doors and bum anything from anyone.

I was turned down five or six times in a row. “What? No, I don’t have any straws…buy your own. Who needs a straw after 10 pm? No, I don’t”…slam. “A straw? Nope. You can’t afford to buy straws? Sorry.” Slam. “You’re serious? At this hour?” In no time I had annoyed or irritated residents of five or six apartments. Then I hit pay dirt with my seventh try. The guy who answered was irked and distracted but basically good-natured. To get rid of me he gave me a whole unopened box of straws. Just take ’em, he said. I’m watching something on the box. You wanna return the ones you don’t use tomorrow then do so, fine, whatever…enjoy yourself. Slam. Click.

So what did I do? I went back and knocked on the doors of the first five or six and said, 10 or 15 minutes after they’d all told me to take a hike and leave them alone, “Hey, I was given a box of straws…you want four or five? Here, take a few to tide you over.”

I really did this, my friend told me.