Getting high (OK, drunk) with Dr. Albert Hofmann, the man who discovered LSD

One of the better days of my life was sitting down with Albert Hofmann in his secluded Swiss home and discussing everything from his infamous bicycle ride to God. My wife and I ended up spending almost 6 hours with Albert and his lovely wife Anita. Albert was 97 at the time but sharp as a tack - and looked decades younger. We seemed to bond rather quickly, mainly because we both felt that Timothy Leary screwed the pooch on LSD by making it all sound too easy. Remember his "turn on, tune in and drop out" mantra? That was far better remembered than the more important theory of set and setting. And one reason Albert titled his 1980 book "LSD: My Problem Child." But I digress a bit.

It was easier getting a meeting with Albert than one with Obama - but not by much. Albert is much loved in Switzerland, especially in Rittimatte, the small town where he lived. And he was fiercely protected by those who cared for him and Anita. So we had to go through a certain security protocol before being transported to his home. From the time I knew we were going to visit through the process of actually getting there, my mind was swirling with all what I wanted to say and ask. But, like anyone else in that situation, I had fantasies about dropping acid with Albert. Of course, I knew that would not occur, but a guy can dream, right?

What did happen is that we got a bit drunk. Albert produced his own plum schnapps: he grew the plums but the actual process was done by others, and delivered in a very pretty bottle. So when he suggested we toast our first meeting together (there would be one other, 3 years later), I could hardly turn him down - even though I'm as close to a teetotaler as you can get. I'd had schnapps before - the peppermint variety, all sweet and thick - so I figured his would be about the same, just a little more "plumy." Wrong! It was thin as water and tasted like gasoline. He'd poured about 2 shots worth in our glasses, and after one sip my wife signaled me she couldn't drink the rest - so I did. After drinking my glass and most of my wife's I was pleasantly buzzed. Albert finished his, then poured another for himself and me. I sipped it, slowly, as he entertained us with more stories from his past - and his vision of the future. And while we didn't drop acid together, that meeting will forever remain one of the best trips of my life.

Stay healthy and high when it helps