This week marks 34 years since I ran away to my version of the French Foreign Legion, a.k.a. the Central Intelligence Agency in Rosslyn, Va, where I worked for a whole MONTH before wigging out and quitting (after a lengthy background check, I might add, which included the unusual step of sending FBI agents to the Grateful Dead's Lincoln Avenue offices to ask about me and my job as fan mail secretary for the New Riders of the Purple Sage) (luckily for me, I got wind of what the FBI was up to ahead of time and was able to warn Eileen, and the bands were out of town).
I don't remember too much of that brief period of time other than A. it scared the living daylights out of me (the agency did), B. most of the people who went to work there were bona fide losers with big Ls on their foreheads, and C. I left with several passes for Key Building which I gave to Jerry Garcia for Wavy Gravy.
I also remember that Carol Blanton and I drove up to Philadelphia to see the New Riders at Temple University and celebrate Spencer's 37th birthday, and we did not tell the agency we were going. Following Monday, we were called into the office and onto the carpet, so to speak. What nerve.
Also, it was supposed to be warmish in DC that time of year and we had a snowstorm AND a tornado, which I drove through on the way back from Philadelphia, not knowing it was a tornado because we were playing tapes of the New Riders in the car and not listening to the radio (although we did wonder why so many cars were pulling off the road, into the center divide on the freeway which is what they do there).
The best thing about the C.I.A., though, was the DRUGS. Yep! During our first week there, we had to report for physicals to the company doctor. While there, I noticed a large jar of capsules of my favorite, Edrisal (which had just been pulled from the market by the FDA). Edrisal was generally prescribed to ladies for menstrual problems and contained both pain killers and SPEED. Spying that jar, I went into a song and dance about how bad my cramps were and left the office with a large handful of my favorites! And when I got back to the office, I told everyone else about those drugs - you would not believe how many new C.I.A. recruits had periods at the same time that month!!!
I still cannot get over the idea that the U.S. government, as led by Nixon and Scheslinger, thought *I* was subversive and this was all while the Watergate investigations were happening! Look who's laughing now, Tricky Dick.
So, in honor of this auspicious early misadventure, I will be celebrating this dubious anniversary next week when once again, I join the New Riders of the Purple Sage on the east coast AND in the D.C. area.
You cannot make this stuff up. You really can't!