"The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe is a novel that came out of the writer's LSD-laden trip across America with colleague Ken Kesey by way of a 1939 school bus done up in psychedelic wonder. This happened half a century ago. Now, on March 16 in commemoration of that very special trip as well as of arguably its most active participant, the transportation involved, and the missive that was inspired by all this is being noted by social media who pushed this magical trek to trend on Saturday.
According to the Associated Press via Yahoo!, this trending topic was also launched thanks to the work of Stephanie Kesey, daughter-in-law to the late Ken Kesey. She's the force behind a designated foundation created to make money so that the bus in question can be restored to its former glory.
In an effort to put that vehicle, nicknamed Further, in the same tripped-out condition it was in when the bus went from California to New York, and, subsequently, to the 1964 Word's Fair, there's quite a bit of work to do. At that time, this actual school bus had been converted for ultimate comfort, becoming equipped with everything from bunk beds to special refreshments.
The latter that influenced the tome Tom Wolfe later wrote was a pitcher of LSD-laced fruit juice kept refrigerated when not in use by the members of this historical journey. Beyond Tom and Ken and the rest of The Merry Pranksters. including Nel Cassady, drove the distance while having a high time all the way across the USA.
But that was a long time ago.
By way of background, Further didn't go much further than its inaugural trip when the bus was replaced for a sad version of the original and passed off as such. Meanwhile, the famous bus lived out its later life in a swamp on Kesey's farm. With that, an icon was retired and pop culture, a la the 1960s, was not restored, at least not yet.
Ken Kesey passed away more than a decade ago and then, when a Hollywood venue wanted to make the bus new again, Ken's clan made the move to get the celebrated vehicle out of the dirty water. However, like a lot of other Tinseltown deals, this particular deal never happened.
However, now Stephanie Kesey is taking the wheel, putting the family to work to get the bus done by the summer of 2014 when the Electric Acid Kool-Aid bus will celebrate its 50-year anniversary.
And when that happens, this rolling home will once again hit the road to remember the past that still reads like the present in "The Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test," written by Tom Wolfe and experienced by Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters in 1964. What a trip!