It's one of those things that happen occasionally, when you live in a big city and smoke marijuana. You never know what you are going to get. Let me take you back a few years, decades actually. It's 1989, the 80's are coming to an end and a new decade is upon us. I was in college. The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. And I smoked weed, almost on a daily basis. Most of the people I smoked with were great. Peaceful, relaxed, artistic and really fun to be around even when you weren't high.
But there was always some asshole trying to infiltrate the circle. The guy who never really hung out with you unless you had weed. He was a friend of a friend or the friend of a roommate of someone in the circle. We had no problem making the circle bigger, just don't be a dick. Because weed and dicks had no place being together, unless of course you were into that. I was not.
There was one night , it was rather late, we had been drinking and we were all out of weed. It's New York City, the city where you could get Shwarma at three in the morning, surely you could get weed at that time as well. And we knew exactly where to go. Washington Square Park. When I was sixteen I went down to the city to buy my first bong. I knew where to go, I had been going down to the city, without adult supervision for about a year and explored the Village. So knowing where to go to get drugs was not difficult. Back then you could get anything and I mean anything any time of day in Washington Square. 9AM, you wanted a nickel bag and a cup of coffee, there you go. Dealers would be walking around all day. Typically they were dudes with dread locks shuffling around, asking everyone that passed them smoke, herb, sensimilla, weed, ganja. I guess if you ask everyone someone has to say yes. They must take rejection very well. If any lesson was learned it's persistence pays off.
That night no one felt like walking down to the Village, plus it would take to long. The subway was very sporadic at that time of night and a cab ride was not an economical option. So what's a stoner to do? There were about five of us in our apartment and by apartment I mean dorm room suite. It had two bedrooms, a full bathroom and an eat in kitchen, for the Fashion Institute of Technology campus this was glamorous. Hell for New York City it was glamorous. We had a new member of the circle there that evening, Scott. Scott was from New Jersey, and in my opinion was a wannabe. He teetered on the jock-ish/deadhead-ish type of guy. He was growing out his hair, wore tie dyed shirts but still had that jock mentality. But Scott had one thing that none of us had, Scott had a bike. He agreed to take a ride down to Washington Square to buy two dime bags. We gave him twenty dollars and sent him on his way.
About an hour has passed since Scott left to go score us some weed. We were all talking, drinking beer and wondering where he was. Finally a knock on the door. It was Scott, with a big grin on his face. He got the herb. We all thank him for making the bike trip down to the Village. He said no problem and put the two dime bags on the table. My roommate decided to bust out his bong. A nice three footer that was well worn and had a story, as all bongs do. He opens one of the midget sized zip-lock baggies, take a sniff and looks around the table. Now I have always wondered where you would get those miniature baggies. They don't sell them at the grocery store, maybe there was there a special drug dealer mail order catalog with all types of bags to store your drugs. I mean what else would you put in them other than small amounts of drugs? Nothing. But at that moment I was more concerned by my roommates quizzical look. He hands the petite baggie to me and says “smell this”.
At this point I'm thinking this kid really scored some good shit. He's asking me to smell it. I pry the tiny bag open place it under my nose close my eyes and inhale. I can't believe it. I take another sniff, this time with my eyes open. Yes, I know that smell, tying to put one of my keenest senses on it, OK there it is. It smelled like tea. Fucking orange pekoe. I look up and ask this quasi hippie “what the hell is this?”
He says “it's weed”.
I ask him “on what planet?”
He looks at me and says “it's weed”
“Did you smell it before you bought it? Well did you?” I lash out.
He is comeback was as lame as a New Jersey Exit joke “No, the guy was Jamaican, I didn't think I needed to smell it.”
Now I'm pissed, “You owe us $20, pay up and go smoke your tea.”
He told us he didn't have the twenty dollars and he was sorry for his mistake. Well apology not accepted and now you owe me money. I get mad and I get even, so look the fuck out.
He leaves and we start to plot his demise. First thing on the agenda, a nickname. Something that would suit him and have a questionable meaning. We go back and forth, finally I came up with one. One that I will remember forever, one that I have know since I was a child. If you are old enough to remember the jingle, “they put those tiny little tea leaves in ______ Tea” then you will know what I'm talking about. My mother and her mother both drank this tea, orange pekoe to be exact. The box was blue and green and the smell was like nothing else I have ever smelled. Scott had a new name, we agreed that he would now only be know us as Tetley. But it didn't end there.
Luckily I went to college with a lot of creative people. People I knew were in all sorts of majors, like Toy Design, Jewelry Design, Advertising Design and Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Marketing. I was in Advertising/Communications, so my strength was in words. Theirs was in art and design. And one of those people came up with an idea that I would later pay for, but in the moment it was the most brilliant thing I had ever heard. It involved crazy glue, so you know it had to be mischievous.
The plan was hatched, we had to do this and soon. I couldn't wait, I was in charge of procurement. I headed on down to the neighborhood deli, searched the aisle and found what I was looking for. I paid the cashier and was on my way back to the dorms, filled with excitement. On the days leading up to this event, we would pass Tetley in the hall, on the street and in the dorms, And every time we called out “what's up Tetley!”, How ya doin' Tetley!”, “smoke any tea lately Tetley?” We decided to do this late at night, the later the better. There was only one problem, his dorm room was on the first floor, almost directly behind the security desk. What's the worst that could happen? That we get in trouble with the Housing Department? Did we think that the security guard would mind? It''s not like we were going to boil water and put him in it. So we decided that it was worth the risk.
That night we went into his dorm, armed with the unsuspecting items, walked by the guards with ID in the air. We stop at his door and go to work. We were very quiet, the guard didn't say anything we completed our task and were on our way. After leaving his dorm to go to our room to smoke real weed, we were all laughing and wondering what he would think when he woke up and saw what we had did. We were stoned and tired and decided to call it a night.
The next day, a girl that knew Tetley told us that he was pissed. We were not. I asked what he was pissed about, she said that someone crazy glued one hundred tea bags to his door and he can't get them off. I told her the story, the whole story with the new nickname included and she was laughing her ass off. A few days go by and we get called into the Assistant Director of Housing's office. She told us that Tetley suspected that we damaged his door, well duh. It didn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that we did it, because Tetley is far from a brain surgeon. I take the blame, apologize profusely and ask how we could rectify the situation.
We had two options. The first being to remove all of the tea bags from the door and if that failed we had to buy another door. Well I tried to get them off and was completely unsuccessful. Looks like I'm buying a dorm room door. That door ended up being the most expensive dime bag I ever bought. And I don't regret it one bit.