Timothy Leary, Condom Huntress Escort Extraordinaire

"You're fun!" exclaims Timothy Leary. A flat foil-and-plastic-wrapped red rubber circle outline, resembling a small lipstick-rimmed screaming mouth, slides down a chute from within the metal condom monster's bowels and is soon in my hands.

1990, Linz, Austria. Hitler's favorite city. The Ars Electronica Festival is on, and I'm bearing witness. It's post-performance, and I sit at a restaurant table with a large group of artists, musicians, scientists, technical types who blow things up, various hangers-on, and the people who love them.

Nature calls me, and on my way to answer I note that the men's room door is open; my eye is caught by a glistening steel condom dispenser bolted to the wall. Europe was _so_ ahead of the game; there was no amenity of this kind in New York City at that juncture. I want a souvenir of this (for me) novel offering but am afraid to penetrate the verboten territory alone, even though I sense it is empty, except for being full of condoms.

I return to the table and make a very personal public service announcement to the entire assemblage: an entreaty for a male escort who would act as bodyguard while I put my schillings in the coin slot. Timothy Leary volunteers. I don't know much about him apart from the fact that he has taken some drugs and appears in the lyrics of "Manchester, England," a song from _Hair:_ "Answer my weary query, Timothy Leary de-a-rie..."

We go off, laughing, to the Forbidden Zone. The proverbial coast is clear. I enter the correct amount of currency, press the right button, turn the knob. "You're fun!" exclaims Timothy Leary. A flat foil-and-plastic-wrapped *{color:red}red* rubber circle outline, resembling a small lipstick-rimmed screaming mouth, slides down a chute from within the metal condom monster's bowels and is soon in my hands.

We come back to the table, triumphant. A few people applaud. Two are visibly disgusted. We continue to wine and dine. Timothy Leary reclaims his seat and I take my own. I never see him again.

The condom remains unused. I did, after all, buy it as evidence and not for birth control. In the meanwhile, Mr. Leary has taken his final trip(s), including seven postmortal grams of ash rocketed to "burial" in outer space.

Thank you, Timothy Leary, dearie, wherever you are. You were fun, too.

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