Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"Four and Twenty Potheads Baked In a Pie."

Today is the all-haloed day among smokers, tokers, dopers, reefers, stones, and potheads everywhere – the infamous “4/20” holiday.

Odd terms sneak into our language every now and then, and this is one of the oddest. Everyone who considers himself in the know about the drug subculture has heard that '420' has something to do with illegal drug use, but when you press them, they never seem to know why, or even what the term supposedly signifies.

Over the generations, this term has assumed a wide range of wild connotations that attempt to explain this slacker’s numerical phenomenon: the penal code section for marijuana use in California (nope); the Los Angeles or New York police radio code for marijuana smoking in progress (nope); it's the number of chemical compounds in marijuana (nope); April 20 is the date that Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, or Janis Joplin died (nope); the 20th of April is the best time to plant marijuana (nope); when the Grateful Dead toured, they always stayed in Room 420 (nope); April 20th, or 4-20, is the birthday of Adolf Hitler (yeah – there’s a reason to light up!); the massacre of 13 victims at Columbine High School in Colorado took place on 20 April 1999 (once again – this is hardly celebration-worthy); the Beatles song "Come Together" is 4:20 in length (purely coincidence).

Spurious etymologies and uncertain definition aside, '420' has slipped into a position of semi-respectability within the English lexicon. Basically, '420' is used as a generic way of declaring one likes to use marijuana or just as a term for the substance itself. Its earliest connotation of having to do with the time a certain group of students congregated to smoke wacky-tobaccy is unknown to the overwhelming majority of those who now employ the term.

On this sacred of days, you can predict to see the all names of in-the-closet marijuana users being listed suspiciously appear on all employers “absent-without-leave” and “absenteeism” lists everywhere as they attempt to steal a bonus holiday in which to waste in front of the boob-tube with their rolling papers and their packages of empty calorie snacks.

Suddenly everyone’s glaucoma flares up and they develop the instant need to sit on their couches and do bong hits to reruns of ‘Saved By the Bell’.

Woo-ha! "PARTY ON" - you weedy warriors!

What a way to consolidate your collective liberal attitudes to the world; getting high and doing as little as possible. Hey, this is the REAL WORLD you jerkoffs, not “Skip Day” back in Grade 9! The rest of us normal functioning pot enthusiasts don’t relish the opportunity to cover for your lazy, stoned ass just because you want to stay home and read your ‘Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.” comics!

On the '420' holiday, you can see that everyone's eyeballs are glazed over like stale coconut macaroon's, and they wander around aimlessly in a daze while mindlessly munching on handfuls of trail mix as if they don't have a single care in the world. Suddenly, everyone becomes Willie Nelson! For the more functionable and responsible of daily dopers, this can be intolerable and frustrating as the world that we have customized ourselves to dealing with over years of regulated frequent dosages, becomes that much more stupid.

"Get out of my way, hophead! You're choosing a donut, not philosophically pondering over which style of donut best explifies your stance on world environmentalism. Step aside!"

Honestly, why even leave the house?

On this day, I am even nervous about walking to work lest I should be creamed by a min-van because Jimmy Straightlace suddenly thought he’d be all “rebellious”, and blaze up on the drive into the office.

I can literally smell the wafts of pot smoke coming from the windows of passing cars on my walk to work! Now I’m not saying don’t go to work high; I’m just saying: “use public-fucking-transportation, you half-baked dimwits!”

Think about the rest of us for whom this is not really a big deal.

I don’t want my own buzz ruined after having to call in “absent-without-leave” because I’ve been accidentally mowed down by somebody experiencing altered depth perception problems behind the wheel of their automobile. There is a perfectly good reason they recommend people NOT to operate heavy machinery while in those states – and that’s to protect the smarter, more responsible stoners like myself!

Is that stranger than fiction, or what?

I don’t really understand the whole big ‘420’ hoopla anyways. 4/20. 4:20, 2:40, 2:04, who gives a shit - are we gonna get high or what?

What’s all the unnecessary symbolism for?

But in the spirit of popular educated “marijuanaisms”, I would like to submit the following for consideration regarding the significance of the ‘420’ cultural phenomenon:

“I had encountered at least one of those curious mirage-plants about which so many of our men told stories. Anderson had warned me of them, and described their appearance very closely—the shaggy stalk, the spiky leaves, and the mottled blossoms whose gaseous dream-breeding exhalations penetrate every existing make of mask...Although everything was spinning perilously, I tried to start in the right direction and hack my way ahead. My route must have been far from straight, for it seemed hours before I was free of the mirage-plant's pervasive influence. Gradually the dancing lights began to disappear, and the shimmering spectral scenery began to assume the aspect of solidity. When I did get wholly clear I looked at my watch and was astonished to find that the time was only 4:20. Though eternities had seemed to pass, the whole experience could have consumed little more than a half-hour.”

~ H.P. Lovecraft; "In the Walls of Eryx"; first published in Weird Tales [34, No. 4 (October 1939), pp50-68].


Anonymous Keepin' 6 said...

When Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. louis in France at the end of the first non-stop trans Atlantic crossing by air the announcer loudly proclaimed that the Spirit of St.Louis "Has arrived 4:20 and on time!"

9:19 AM  

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