One Toke Over the Line by
(319 Stories)

Prompted By Altered States

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I was a goodie-two-shoes, as straight as they come. I never tried drugs during high school, though I dated a “druggie” Junior year. He came over on my birthday, high as a kite and sang “Happy Birthday” while hopping on one foot. I was amused; my mother didn’t get it. He visited once when I came home Freshman year from college. He was experimenting with heroin. He died very young.

Most girls in my Freshman dorm at Brandeis (known for being very liberal, even radical in 1970) were smoking weed. My roommate was a tough chick from Brooklyn who thought I was a real square. She organized a group of girls whose mission was to “get Betsy high”. We sat in a circle and passed around a joint. Being a singer, I had never even smoked a cigarette. I didn’t take too kindly to this peer pressure either and, of course, I didn’t feel a thing. By the end of the evening, they gave up on me.


I was vaguely dating a Junior. He was tall, red-haired with broad shoulders. He played folk guitar. He used to challenge me…”are you cool?” I dunno. I wanted to be.

A group of us would meet in a Senior’s single in a different dorm in my quad. He also played guitar and we’d all sing. Soon the group was passing a hash pipe. Hash is MUCH more powerful than weed. I toked with the rest of them, sang, felt mellow at first. But increasingly, the buzz was uncomfortable. I became uncertain if my bladder muscles were voluntary or involuntary. In fact, I was sure I could no longer control my bladder; I was wetting myself and EVERYONE KNEW THAT I WAS WETTING MYSELF. I couldn’t stand being that out of control. I asked red-haired Gordon to escort me back to my dorm room. Of course I had not peed in my pants, slept off the paranoid high, and vowed never to get that high again.

I never did.


Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Tags: hash, paranoid, toking up, Brandeis
Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!, well written


  1. John Zussman says:

    Sometimes all we learn from trying new things is that we don’t like the new things! Thanks for posting. Great title, too.

  2. Ruth Elaine says:

    I enjoyed your writing and the story, but also loved the dance photo you chose to post with it. and Gordon Hah!

  3. Great tale, Betsy! And unique. Thought I’d heard of or experienced every kind of drug-induced fear but urinary paranoia? Woo hoo! Horrible yet hilarious! Also loved the pics. Why do I think that’s you, diminutive, right-center in very 70s bell-bottoms, dark sweater with intense dancer expression… just sayin’!
    Write on!

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Not I. I always wore a hot pink leotard with a little velvet ribbon in the center to cinch the decolletage to those dances (of course no bra). And tight-fitting bell bottoms. I weighed all of 89 pounds in those days, and I think by that point my hair was even longer. I was a wild dancer. The theatre major in me knew how to command an audience.

  4. Your description of being that straight good girl reminded me of myself – many lives ago.. enjoyed this, Betsy!

  5. Well, that’s a classic circumstance, Betsy! Got so high you pee’d in your pants… or didn’t. And did you ever get high again? Nicely told story, BP!

  6. Suzy says:

    Betsy, I’m surprised to see that I didn’t comment on this story when you first posted it back in April. Possibly it was because I didn’t know you then, and I was disappointed to think that after that one experience with hash you never got high again. Now that I know about you playing stoned bridge, I know that was not the case. Anyway, great story, and I’m glad you hadn’t actually wet your pants!

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Suzy, I never got THAT high again. I don’t like being that out of control. A gentle high is fine…definitely don’t like paranoid delusions or getting sick (which happened to me twice while drinking).

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