With our beans baked… (Part I)

“I had a thing for a stoner girl,” I tell Ernie. “That’s why I tried pot for the first time.” Short and blonde, she was my first college crush. One party, as the pipe was passed around, she kept telling my blushing face, “Stop staring at me!” Sorry, but an eyeful of Tatiana always did more for me than pot ever did. Smoking pot was always some kind of excuse. Ok, sure, it made me feel warm and fuzzy, but never enough to justify the migraine that came later. 

And, yeah, sorry, I’ve always been something of a starer. 

All that, I tell Ernie in the here and now, as he’s packing weed into his glass pipe. This is in Ernie’s west suburban condo, before we leave for the concert. He’s packing this pipe after rolling three massive… joints, reefers, spliffs? I dunno, don’t ask me. I’m not the expert. When I look at them, I think three wrapped-up Tootsie Rolls on steroids. See, my drug of choice, it’s sugar. 

Oh, and, Ernie? Not his real name. 

While he’s packing and rolling, I’m playing Tug-Of-War with his black Labrador-collie mix. This dog, her real name, in absolute fact, is “Ernie.” Like with a baby (a human one), this dog got its name before it was even born—although she was already born. In Ernie-the-dog’s case, she got named before being discovered. It’s confusing, yeah. But if confusion isn’t your cup of tea, then you’re drinking the wrong blog. So, yeah, I’m pulling a rubber ribeye steak one way with my hands and Ernie-the-dog’s pulling it the other way with her teeth. She’s got strong chops, too. I mean, I’m using both hands and I work out. A lot. You couldn’t tell it by looking at me, no. But I do. Maybe I should start working out my chops, too. Whatever good that would do—that is, beyond Tug-Of-War with a dog. 

Ernie-the-guy can’t stand Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond on TV. I forget why. Me? I’ve enjoyed all of Brosnan’s outings as Bond. Every one of them is a solid “popcorn” action flick. But whether we’re talking art, music, food, flicks, or habiliments, lest we forget, taste is subjective. Fashion is bullshit. Fashion exists to make you feel insecure. By design, fashion seeks to separate you from the money in your wallet. What gives you (and I mean you, not Ernie or his dog) the authority to put me down for enjoying Brosnan’s Bond, candy corn, or Mantovani's cascading string orchestrations? Much of what’s meaningful now was meaningless a century ago. And vice versa. With the way the world’s going, candy corn will be a staple of the American diet a century from now. Step into my TARDIS and I’ll prove it to you. 

As for Ernie-the-dog, she’s indifferent to 007. 

And besides, Ernie-the-Guy’s being a good host by offering me the first hit of the night. He hands me his rainbow glass pipe and plain plastic lighter and heads into the bathroom. (Incidentally, or perhaps by Intelligent Design, this night will pass by with several urgent needs to piss at inconvenient moments.) Ernie thinks I know what to do, and I think I know what to do. Even the dog looks at me like I know what to do, sitting there, with the rubber ribeye in her mouth, begging a pull. 

When Ernie-the-guy walks back into the room, I’m holding the lighter’s flame beneath the glass pipe. This is how stupid I am before a single hit, even before a single swig of beer. It’s been, what, a handful of months since my last toke? I should know how to do this. But Ernie-the-guy has to re-teach me. 

This is how stupid I am sober.

A handful of months from now, when or if some short, cute blonde passes me a pipe at some party somewhere, watch me try to freebase the stuff again. You just watch. I’ll be too busy blushing and staring to remember what to do right. And you can bet I’ll get as far with her as I got with Tatiana. 

19 & 20 November 2004

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