I am not a stoner. I partake. I abide. I enjoy. But I am not a stoner. I’ve never worn Birkenstocks. I have never wondered aloud if the atoms of our bodies blend into the atoms of the world around us, making us one with the universe. I have never cared whose “got greens”. I have never referred to a man named “Trey” in mixed company and expected everyone to know who I was talking about. I don’t like reggae. And, most importantly, I don’t bang the drum of legalization. Not that I don’t support its legalization - at this point I’d be surprised if there’s anyone under 35 who doesn’t - but it’s not exactly at the top of my priority list (though I recently read a significant amount of articles on Human-Dolphin sex, so maybe I’m not an expert on “priorities,” but I’ll plow on anyway). Think of the type of dude who prattles on about legalizing pot - you got that image in your head? Is that a guy you’re going to trust to help you make a decision that isn’t “should I get Cool Ranch or Bugles?” Yet, there’s this pretty pervasive corner of humanity that just won’t shut up about it. They’ve mythologized it. “It cures infant anorexia, puppy prostate cancer, zebra bites; it ends wars; it washes away the despondency you feel every night just before you fall asleep. It makes dolphins hornier for humans.” No, actually, it doesn’t. It’s weed. It’s an enjoyable diversion. So is it possible that its illegality is part of what makes it great?
In college, I loved weed. We did something I’d imagine a lot of college kids do: Five-Dollar Frenzy. We’d get like 25 people, everyone would throw in $5, and we’d hand that sweaty wad of cash to the kid who always had the backpack and knew a black dude and twenty minutes later we’d have a good chunk of an ounce. Rule of the $5 frenzy is it all of it had to get smoked, right then and there, in one room, with several bongs passing in different directions; so of course, we’d get really high - uncomfortably high, to be accurate. There were nights I thought that I’d actually never stop laughing - do you know how terrifying that is? Nevertheless, it was nuts, it was fun, it was stupid in the best ways. We’d make people perch like gargoyles on couch arms until their quads almost snapped and we would just STARE. We’d eat saltines slathered in peanut butter and jelly and frosting because that was what was in the fridge. One night a buddy started to beep like a fire alarm with a low battery every ten seconds or so and for some reason, I thought that was going to actually kill me; It was amazing. There’s such a thing as “too high”; and we would speed our cars right past that signpost with complete abandon because we were together in this thing, and I’ll be goddamned if we all don’t completely tweak out LIKE A FAMILY.
Now I live in New York. I’m pretty sure I could roll a Rick Steves-sized blunt in a police station and they’d simply ask me to take it outside and then hand me a lighter. When I moved to NYC, we really would just smoke wherever and whenever we wanted: in Central Park, on rooftops, inside daycares. And you know what? It’s probably been two or three months since I last took a toke. When access is this available and this easy, I find I just kind of get a little stoned, mostly hungry, sort of tired; there’s a bit of a fog over the rest of my day. It’s just sort of...O.K.
What happened to me? Am I a real adult now? No that can’t be it...I have it on good authority from several one-night-stands that I haven’t matured at all (and I’m still on my parent’s cell phone plan). So perhaps marijuana’s relative availability to me has killed the dream. Maybe there’s no such thing as an event anymore - if it’s not a forbidden pleasure, maybe it’s not a real pleasure at all. Would we ever partake in such glorious and aggressive abuses of drugs if it were always available? Marijuana has brought me close to tears while Wall-E and Eve danced in space; made me “get” The Wizard of Oz (it’s about Vichy France I think); it has invited me to consider that a swift roundhouse to the face may be more damaging than gunfire and made me laugh so hard I sh*t a little bit out the bottom of my mesh shorts. I’ve fashioned a pipe out of a Pringles can and ate three Big Macs, each one more delicious than the last. And while blazed out of my gourd, I’ve had the kind of sex I’d imagine Marv Albert has every night. But those days, my friends, may be over - and now I understand deeply this winsome melancholy they call “nostalgia.”
This weekend is 4/20. It’s a made-up holiday celebrating a good time of day to get high that is both after school AND before your parents get home. And on this day there is a rally called Overgrow the Government in Washington D.C. to support legalizing marijuana. Let me repeat that: a bunch of people are trying to make a point TO OUR GOVERNMENT by marching on a day that symbolizes when it’s a great time to get high BEFORE YOUR PARENTS GET HOME. This is as unrealistic as Zack and Screech restarting a radio station that somehow finds an audience with enough money to save The Max. This is more unrealistic than Zack and Screech even being friends in the first place. All Screech does is ruin Zack’s awesome plans. Wait a minute, I’m high.
I'm sure this rally will be hampered enough by random arguments about who was the hottest chick on Saved By The Bell (Lisa Turtle…just white enough) and Carl Winslow's sexuality (I’ve heard things) that it's safe to say Marijuana will be illegal for some time to come. And you know what? I couldn’t be more happy about that. Let’s face it: if you want to get high, I’m pretty sure you can make it happen (and the people who argue loudest for weed’s legalization have the easiest access to it). So the more you march, the more you argue, the more you make weed this wonder-drug that it really isn’t, then the more you freak out the squares and the more you probably delay its legalization. Let’s, as the guy with the backpack always says, “chillax” and actually enjoy 4/20. Let’s all throw 5 dollars together and have one of those epic days where we watch an adult impersonate a gargoyle and it isn’t at all sad.
AAAANNND - quick note - I WILL be at the Overgrow the Government Rally this weekend, interviewing, marching, twirling AND putting together a video that I’ll have up here on Brobible next week! Lets hope they didn’t read this, I’d hate to get surrounded by a drum circle.
Jared Freid is a New York City-based comedian. You can follow him on Twitter @jtrain56 for videos, column updates, pics of hippies protesting in DC, and plenty of pen*s jokes.