It was early in the day, around sunrise, with plenty of daylight left in the world for him to use as he pleased. He had no idea what the day of the week was, or the actual date was. The young man was truly out to sea. At least, that was Stanley Hockenschmidt’s take on the day. He had no idea whether he went back to sleep or not. The man was a reckless youth, determined to live life on the edge.
Stanley Hockenschmidt was supposed to be a university student, and he was one, at least on paper. That’s what it claimed on all the right papers in the registrars office, since this was before the time of computers. Everything was still done with a pen and paper. For a long time now, Stanley could not have conceived of how he would ever graduate. He hadn’t told that to the person paying tuition.
Stanley Hockenschmidt was a full-time student at the colorful university in the picturesque, cold mountains. He had a relationship a lovely girlfriend which was almost on the rocks. Stanley could not have taken any responsibility for the turbulence of his most prized relationship, because he knew nothing about it. He would worry about how he was not really rehearsing trumpet or piano enough.
He was an underclassman, and found his general college classes were slipping through his fingers. Stanley was on one of the most beautiful university campuses anywhere. The guy was on the brink of losing his mind. No, that’s not an expression or a figure of speech. His use of recreational chemicals was way over the top. What the young man wondered was how to get help.
There was an overwhelming fear of something which didn’t have words to go with it, in the back of Stanley Hockenschmidt’s mind, as he hallucinated in the sunlight shining through his dorm room window. The young man had not noticed his girlfriends unrest with their relationship. He could not have noticed being blinded by the effects of his recreational chemicals.
Hockenschmidt could not resist taking the elicit chemicals he was always taking, while his lady friend was all turned off by the long hair and all the whole inebriated, intemperate behavior at parties with half the music department in attendance. It wasn’t that Stanley was unaware of his behavior. He knew. He just had no idea how to change his own behavior one whit.
It was the early 70’s, when long hair and partying were in, and so was blowing one’s mind with anything one could get one’s hands on. It was a free for all. Frying one’s own, personal brain cells was the way of the Woodstock Generation. Hockenschmidt had already done a heck of a thorough job of blowing his mind, and he was about to lose his grip on his most basic concept of reality.
He had been smoking reefer on a compulsive basis, and now it had come down to dropping half a hit of chocolate mescaline, which he had no business doing. If this was what Hockenschmidt called fun, until his mind was no good for anything anymore. Stan’s world would cave in on him altogether, and at this late date, Stanley had absolutely now power to change any of it.
The next thing Stanley Hockenschmidt did was fumble among his things he’d carelessly thrown to the dorm room floor. ‘There it is,’ he said to himself, and irrationally proceeded to fire that bad boy up, as he like to put it. He’d forgotten all about the pungent odor of reefer smoke, and lit up about 50% of his dormitory with the smell. Stan never did have a strong olfactory nerve to smell things with.
With as heavy as the blizzard was, it was impossible to get a reading on the time of day.
They were still fighting for peace in some places in America. U of MD, where the student was his only sister; and U of California at Berkeley, where he’d been as a tourist once. Vietnam was still very much an issue with Stanley’s generation. The National Guard had already opened fire on students at the famous Kent State, up in Ohio. Stanley’s campus was the picture of tranquility.
He got out of bed without thinking and stared at the blizzard through the cold window, hearing the live band music in the nearby stadium. Hockenschmidt understood he was supposed to be one of the many trumpets in that marching band. But he wasn’t there. Hockenschmidt had always had a sense of loyalty and duty. He just had no temperance, or method to achieve it.
With what was left of Stanley’s intellect, Hockenschmidt calculated in a dream, that he’d have to walk the whole way to the center of campus, go to the music building, change into his marching uniform, grab his trumpet, and walk back to the stadium area. Hockenschmidt decided it was too late to go out at all, and rolled back into his bed, passing out as he did.
Figured it wasn’t worth it, since they might already be through the halftime show.
Hockenschmidt always wanted to be a flower child, ever since Jack Kennedy had been shot and the Movement got started, little by little. He was a hair growing, pot smoking, acid dropping burn out, and Hockenschmidt was scared, finally. He knew he was losing his thinking capacity at the age of twenty. He knew it wasn’t natural. He noticed the capacity of his mind failing, day after day.
What a thing to have happen to one’s own self. The student dreaded what was to come.
Hockenschmidt wondered what he would do to get help for a nervous breakdown on a university campus, 500 miles away from home. Hockenschmidt was really worried about his own mind all of a sudden. Stanley didn’t need to wonder, since he could estimate that a significant amount of his mind had already failed. He was attracting attention. He didn’t have to wonder long.
Someone had already called the authorities for him.
The campus Chaplain took Stanley to the school infirmary, dropping him off. Hockenschmidt didn’t have to worry about getting caught with elicit substances. He had already run out of stash. Some very nice men came to the infirmary to see Stanley. The very next morning the Sheriffs took him down the mountain to a hospital. Stanley Hockenschmidt had no idea if he were busted.