We were driving through Washington State this morning on our way to the ferry, and I realized we were in the land of legal weed.
I completely forgot about that until we started seeing the cannabis signs along the side of the road.
So I thought we better pull over and experience the novelty of buying some for ourselves.
It was surreal.
While I was ogling a “Berry White Pre-Roll” under the glass countertop, a couple in their mid to late seventies were being helped by the ultra-cool weed clerk girl.
This couple came across like sweet-as-pie-tea-totalling button ups. Christ….the husband was wearing a Romney for POTUS hat.
And in that moment I remembered….my wife had never smoked pot before.
I was instantly excited.
I was expecting her to get good and horny – I’m talking chambermaids scraping the walls kind of horny.
But all she did was giggle, and fiendishly eat pistachio nuts until she fell sleep.
So here I lay with “a solid”, stoned out of my brick, listening to Paul McCartney’s greatest hits in a Port Angeles hotel room (and I blame Mr. and Mrs. Groovy who got me thinking about Sir Paul and the Wings this week – friggin’ Groovies).
“My love does it gooooood woah woah oh…..woah woah oh…” – Yes indeed…woah.
Or, “we all chipped in for a bag of cement…..”, C’mon Paul. Just because it rhymes doesn’t make it good – besides we all know there’s only one kind of bag you’ve ever chipped in on.
Nevertheless, his wonderfully insipid lyrics and dancing melodies helped me through my MJ freak-out, and as my “exuberance” began to wither I started flashing back to my teenage years in the great State of WA.
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Joining The Americans
On July 4th we used to ride our bicycles from Victoria to Sidney, then on to the Anacortes ferry, then to Friday Harbour (on San Juan Island) where we would join the Americans in their celebrations.
Our motley group of young Canadians looked out of place amongst the upstanding families.
Susie, Johnny, Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma jammed in with all the other excited tribes, waving flags, eating ice cream cones, and pushing baby carriages – all with a mysterious confidence.
It was like a Norman Rockwell painting – pure American faces, flower laden floats, high school marching bands….the whole shebang.
It was fuckin’ romantic.
And there we were, my wasted friends and I sandwiched in with the locals, close enough they could smell the weed, sweat, and alcohol oozing from our pores.
Mothers would smartly shuffle their children aside to avoid us as we vigorously waved our tiny American flags and greedily sucked down their 4% beer.
I loved being there to absorb their vibe, and take in the pride they so easily exuded.
Except for the odd concerned mother protecting her children from exposure to unruly punks, we were welcomed by the locals with open arms – as long as we paid our bar tabs and stayed out of trouble.
Which turned out to be impossible.
One night we got in a brawl with some of our local counterparts over an 8-ball bet, and we were barred for life from the best bar on the island (we were back the next year).
Another time my roommate Billy hooked up with a woman 10 years his senior. I babysat her kid with a frisbee while he plowed the eager sports fan in her tent.
This wasn’t so romantic.
The sordid affair was soon interrupted by the boy’s father who entered his estranged wife’s tent just to meet Billy’s bobbing white ass.
The scene was comical and tragic all at the same time. The boy stood in shock as my half-naked friend and his half-naked mother tried to subdue his angry father.
The Christian group camping next to us we’re covering the eyes of their children, and some rightfully began yelling at us in disgust.
Billy held the man down in a headlock while the mother “got herself together” and ran to her traumatized son.
The poor guy’s face was almost blue from the headlock, “Throw me the knife Pidge! (short for Pidgeon) “, Billy yelled.
Billy didn’t have a knife and neither did I, but the threat was enough to send “angry Daddy” running like a scared rabbit.
Being that we were just tourists in the man’s country, and Billy was caught introducing his wife to a proper Canadian tent fuck, we were positive he would be back with friends and/or a gun – so we started packing up our gear.
We were just about on our bicycles and gone when two Police Officers paid us a friendly visit.
(long story shortened – we both ended up in a cop shop for our own protection and questioning, then released the same day with “instructions” to catch the next ferry back to Canada)
It was a bummer.
But something struck me as I was throwing the frisbee back and forth with that young boy.
I was madly in love with America.
I loved everything about her. I loved her “big is better mantra”, the movie starlets, the technology, inventions, cars, music, her melting pot history, and her cheesy sitcoms coming through my father’s 14 inch Sony Trinitron TV.
I couldn’t get enough of her.
I would sit at my parents’ dinner table lamenting at the state of our “socialistic and uptight Canadian culture”. I was an ignorant kid, and I didn’t understand the true value of the Canadian way until many years later.
Sometimes my father couldn’t take it anymore and would gently poke the chip on my shoulder with a sarcastic quip.
On the odd freaky full moon, if I was outright insulting, he would attempt to knock that chip off and stomp it into the ground.
But I was insufferable.
I felt like Canada was just holding me back, and that my dreams of glory were easily reachable south of the 48th parallel.
I believed Americans were risk takers and pioneers, and I wanted them to take a risk on me.
I believed in their Constitution and their way of life – AND I believed their “way of life” would always be defended.
That no matter what, they’re population of freedom lovers would always fight back against any form of oppression – and WIN!
So when I joined those July 4th revelers I was more than just “caught up in it” – I was a true believer.
Little did I know that the American dream was already slipping away from the majority, and only the shrinking stinking rich minority were enjoying the spoils of capitalism.
Little did I know that Americans were facing the most insidious and dangerous oppressors yet.
The cold-blooded lizards within.
Too many elected officials were on the take. Corporations were hiding their profits from the IRS, the once trusted not-for-profit news media was reduced to commercial partisan drivel, and vast amounts of the general public were brainwashed into voting against their own interests.
Or worse…..not voting at all.
It broke my heart to watch my beloved USA slowly succumb to the diseases of greed and apathy.
Purging of the Lizards
But I still had faith in the American people.
I relished in the belief that one day soon the fork-tongued lizards would be purged by the downtrodden majority – that some day soon the people of the USA would awaken and rise.
They would rise up with a 90+ percent voter turnout (Presidential AND Midterm) and wipe out every self-serving guttersnipe from congress.
They would vote in true believers who would pass laws to protect American families by locking up the banksters and the corporate criminals.
They would pass a law for mandatory voting like they have in Australia, and a law for universal healthcare bolstered by “sin taxes” – like in Canada.
They would pass a law for common sense gun control, and a law making it illegal for media outlets to spew misinformation – like Canada’s law.
But the rising never happened.
Well at least it hasn’t yet…..and I’m waiting patiently.
I’m watching YOU my young Americans, because I know what you’re made of.
The same blood that soaked the fields of Gettysburg flows through you. The same blood that pounded through the hearts of young men on D-Day flows through you. The same blood of the women who nurtured children and built the B-17 bombers of ’42 flows through you. The same blood of the people who walked across that bridge in Selma flows through you.
Yes, I’ll keep waiting for you, but I haven’t got long. I hope I’m still here when you rise up.
And if I’m still around at the time, I’ll be one of the first Canadians driving down across the border to celebrate the first July 4th after you purge the lizards.
What About The Doomed?
One of my favourite scenes in the 1980 movie “Where The Buffalo Roam” is when Hunter S. Thompson (played by Bill Murray) uses stolen press credentials (“Harris from the Post” – WAPO) to sneak past the secret service into a restroom Richard Nixon was using.
As Tricky Dick is having trouble relieving himself at a urinal, Thompson starts in on him about the young, the innocent, and “the doomed.”
At the end of the scene, Nixon turns from the urinal and says, “Harris….fuck the doomed!”
So what about the doomed in 2017?
What happens to all those young Americans who barely have a grade 12 education?
What happens to the screw ups, the dreamers, the undecided, the confused, and the unwashed?
When my peer group of sociodroogs left high school we floundered in the weeds for years before we finally discovered a way to earn a living.
It took me that long to realize poverty is synonymous with slavery. That without financial independence we were just somebody’s bitch waiting to be bent over at a moment’s notice.
But I don’t think the class of 2017 will have that luxury – the luxury of wasting half a decade in the clouds.
If they’re lucky enough, and passionate enough, they may land on their feet. If they have impeccable college grades they might land high paying jobs and watch 50% of their wages get pilfered off the top.
Even if they have a high fixed income they’ll still be at the mercy of their employers.
Forget about enough time off to stay creative and sane. Forget about affording the extras a family needs to once and awhile get a breath of fresh air.
No – they’re trapped in the grind. With crippling student loan debt, mortgage debt, and vehicle debt snapping at their heels.
Be Like Orr and Make a Plan
Make a plan to slowly wean yourself off the corporate tit one drop at a time. Try different self-employment ideas until you find the right idea for you.
And when you find that idea bite down like a dog on a ham bone.
Do not let go.
Work the crazy hours (it won’t seem like work because it will be something you like) and find a partner that shares your dream(s).
Be like Orr, my favourite character in Joseph Heller’s novel Catch 22 – the Korean War airman everyone assumed was crazy.
He had multiple crash landings in the ocean, but somehow always managed to get himself and his crew to safety.
Approximately half way through the novel Orr crashes into the Mediterranean Sea and is considered missing in action.
Not until the end of the story do we find out his prior crash landings were just practice. He was deliberately crashing into the ocean, timing the tide, and waiting for the right wave – the one that would carry him to freedom. By the end of the novel he’s the only one to escape the war successfully.
So be patient and focused like Orr. Make your plan and meticulously execute it.
Find a partner who believes in your dream of financial freedom and who is willing to work with you until both your dreams come true.
Leave any partner that doesn’t truly love you and support you.
You know what it feels like when someone really loves you (I sure hope so), so ask yourself if the person you’re sharing your body and soul with really loves you. If you hesitate at all with your answer……….you have your answer.
I know it sounds harsh but staying in a relationship just because you’re comfortable is a crime against your humanity.
It’s a crime against yourself and the sorry person you’re pretending to have a life with.
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I’ve always hated being too stoned. Think I’m switching from McCartney to Van Morrison until this buzz is gone.
Damn pistachios – I wish she would wake up and go savage on me.
Brent Truitt is a full time Internet marketer and part time blogger who lives in Canada and the United States. You can connect with him on Twitter @IAmBrentTruitt