Unexpected Assistance

Thom and I were walking down College Avenue in downtown State College on a warm summer evening. We had spent the past few hours at the Sport’s Café drinking beer and playing pool. It was starting to get late and we decided to head to the parking garage and make our way back home. Walking through downtown with Thom was always interesting—it seemed like he knew everyone. No matter where we went, somebody would bump into us and immediately strike-up a conversation with their old pal, and since I was there, I was instantly friended. Tonight, the walk was fairly boring. We got to the end of the block and head right towards the garage. Across the street we saw a fairly large house party. There was a lot of college kids outside, loud music from inside, and the entire place was brightly lit.

“Hey Thom!” a female voice called from the porch.

We stopped and Thom greeted a young woman who was running across the street with arms-spread for a hug. “How are you?” Small-ensued. Sometimes it’s awkward to be the stranger when your buddy has a chance encounter with an old friend. You are suddenly on the fringes of the conversation simply observing the interaction that is taking place. Instinctively, you smile and pretend as though you are part of it, yet all three of you realize that you are now the outsider. She invited us over to the party. In fact, Thom made the criminal mistake of announcing that we had some pot.

Now, when I saw we “had some pot,” I do not mean that we had a quantity that was right for sharing. Rather, we had a small amount that would enable the three of us to catch a nice buzz. By incriminating us, it must have been assumed by the other party that we really had some pot. She ushered us across the street and we made our way on to the porch. Various “Hey Thom!” greetings were cast out as we went inside the house. The smell of cigarettes and alcohol filled the atmosphere while the typical college-type music provided the classical soundtrack for the scene. We went up to the third floor loft.

I do not recall anybody announcing to anyone else at the party that we had any pot, but soon, word would spread. We got upstairs and the three of us got comfortable. I sat on the bed while Thom and this girl sat in two chairs that were next to the bed. I pulled out my bowl and we packed some bud into it. This was not gourmet bud, just your sub-par compressed Mexican brick-weed. Before we sparked the bowl, there was a knock at the door. The girl opened the door and there were no less than a dozen people standing outside. Apparently they knew that a smoking session was about to happen.

I looked over at Thom and then down to this little bowl that I had packed. “Thom,” I started, “we don’t have enough to go around.” Thom shook his head in agreement. The bed shook behind me, I was getting some company. I looked around the room and took in the diversity of the people around us. There was a very tall Asian guy that was speaking Rastafarian and making references to Babylon. There was the token redneck, a black guy, and several other random faces. I was an interesting character back then. I had long hair (down to mid-back), a long goatee, and long sideburns—I was perfecting the look and mannerisms of a late-60’s hippy. I turned around to see who crawled on the bed with me.

He was fairly tall. I remember his feet were at the end of the bed as he laid next to me. He looked distinctly familiar, but I couldn’t place him. I held my little bowl and decided to fire it up. The guy pulled out a gallon sized Ziploc bag filled with lovely green buds, far better than the commercial grade crap that Thom and I had. “Don’t worry dude,” he started, “I got your back.” Inside the bag he had a very nice glass pipe. He pulled it out and packed a very generous bowl, sparked it up, and it started making its rounds.

I fired-up our bowl and got it in circulation as well. A few bowls later, everyone in the room was nicely buzzed. The guy next to me stood up and started walking to the door. He turned around to say goodbye and then it hit me. I finally recognized this person. There was a show on television at the time called That 70’s Show and this guy was a spitting-image of Ashton Kutcher. I shook my head, assuming that the chances of it actually being him were slim, but he looked unmistakably like him.

The tall Rastafarian Asian guy thanked us for the smoke and declared that he had to get back to Babylon and with that, the room emptied. I looked over and realized that Thom and I were the only two left. I stood up from the bed, “What the fuck just happened?”

Thom looked a bit dejected, “Ready to go?”

We walked down the three floors and out the front door. The original welcome greetings were replaced with “See you soon” from the same faces. We walked across the street and found my car. Apparently my meter ran out and the local meter maids decided to give me a ticket. I removed the ticket from the window and started the 1981 Olds Cutlass Supreme.

Years later, I learned that Ashton Kutcher holds a bit of a love for State College. Apparently he is quite the sports fan and enjoys watching the various PSU teams in action. In fact, he has made quite a few appearances in the downtown area—not as a Hollywood star, but just as an average person. While I have no definitive proof that it was him that night, the resemblance and speech are essentially indisputable. Most importantly, he really helped us out in a tight spot.

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