Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I have never once experimented with psychedelic drugs. It’s all very well saying they produce an “expanded state of consciousness”, but what’s wrong with my current state? A groovy ape like me doesn’t need artificial substances to be aware of my place in the cosmos. I marvel in awe at the fiery tropical sunsets; I gaze in spiritual contentment at the starry night sky; I gasp in wonder at water-droplets falling from leaves; I sigh in empathy with crawling insects (before I eat them).

I see termites hatch
I watch them grow
They’ll taste much better
Than they’ll ever know
And I think to myself: what a wonderful world!

Yessir, I’m a pretty cool gorilla who’s totally at one with creation. My mental state is a-okay without any of your LSD or magic toadstools – and if it ain’t broken, I don’t fix it.

I won’t deny that we gorillas use natural remedies to cure our ailments, though. There’s a fungus that grows on the bark of the Uapaca tree which is excellent for getting the bowels moving if you’ve been eating too many yams. It also produces the most pleasing side-effects. I once took some after feeling a bit constipated, and I remember floating upwards until I had a birds-eye view of the neighbourhood. It gave me a terrific vantage point to see what the cheeky monkeys were doing, although their fur was an unusual colour that day. I also saw a purple elephant having sex with a rhino, which is the kind of rare jungle event that would make a human zoologist cream his jeans. It’s a pity I didn’t have a camcorder on me. But I’ve said enough to demonstrate the wholesome nature of our jungle medicines. Your so-called “acid trips” mean nothing to an ape who enjoys such simple pleasures.

The guru of the psychedelic movement was an eccentric human called Dr Timothy Leary. It seems he was a well-respected professor until he ate some stuff that made him realise he was living the life of a soulless robot. Whereupon he embarked on a mission to persuade the human race to blow its collective mind with regular doses of LSD, in order to bring forth a new age of hedonism, space travel and loud shirts. “Turn on, tune in, drop out” was his famous slogan, heard by millions of impressionable college students. Most of them seemed to react by turning up, getting laid and passing out.

But I give Dr Leary credit for the manner of his death. After contracting a terminal illness, he rashly made a will leaving his head to a cabal of mad scientists, who wanted to freeze it and bring it back to life in the future. But as Dr Leary neared death, he realised that being resuscitated as a talking head by those white-coated fiends would be a fate worse than oblivion. So he amended his will to specify that his body should be cremated and that any scientist approaching it with a hacksaw should be tarred, feathered and run out of town by the local posse. As an ironic final gesture, he spent his last days on Earth with his head resting next to the bosom of a buxom nurse, which was a far better place for it than the deep freeze.

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