The transformation began without my knowing it — smoking pot now and then and watching from afar as the hippies on campus passed out leaflets: legalize nudity, legalize cunnilingus, legalize acid, legalize stupidity. But inwardly I said to myself: These people are outright freaks.
I took an interest in a poetry class taught by a long-haired professor who supported all the leaflet causes. One day I was riding in an elevator with him. I could see blades of grass hanging off his back and smell his body odor. His pupils were huge and glassy and he was smiling to himself. So this is what a real hippie looks and smells like. I would never want to be like this.
Then the Beatles came out with their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album and the earth tilted a few more degrees. The Fab Four had transformed into long-haired hippies with mustaches. One morning I looked in the mirror and was surprised to find hair growing over my ears and on my upper lip. A sorority girl said to me in class, “Are you growing a mustache?” She said it with a sneer in her voice, as if to say, “You’re not turning into one of them, are you?”
“No, of course not,” I said. “I would never do that.”
I began to empathize with werewolves. The transformation seemed to be happening on its own. I was becoming the very thing that I despised, and I seemed powerless to stop it.
I attended a few parties in Venice Beach, Los Angeles’ answer to Haight-Ashbury at the time. The party house was owned by two hippie bi-girls who co