It was a dark and stormy ni… d’oh. Wrong story. Actually, it was a cool and calm evening, with a cloudless sky and a full moon. Hardly the point but worth noting.
I and an associate were attending one or several parties in Bismarck. It’s not clear how many, but liquor, my favorite liquid at the time, was served. My associate, who was also my friend, was also not allergic to beer and whiskey but was an amatuer comparatively speaking.
On another date, I was at a party in Bismarck, associate-free, where they played “Love by the Dashboard Light” over and over and over. My brain was overflowing with Meat Loaf. You never truly recover.
At some point, pot was introduced into the mix. Except for a handful of times in the past, I had always declined when a lit joint was pushed in my face. I had enough problems. But I was in a weakened state of mind, and my associate was in a regular state of mind but was unphased. We both partook. Deeply inhaled, we did and took our turn on most passes.
I didn’t know if it was good pot. I didn’t know the strain. I had no clue who obtained the pot or where they got it. I had no expertise when it came to marijuana.
Then we decided to go to Mandan. Why? I don’t know. Why did anyone? I didn’t live there and neither did my associate, Maybe there was another party to attend that was too good to miss. There might have been a rumor of a large pack of girls gathered, a gender that motivated my associate to a degree of distraction. Did I get his drift? I easily got his drift. As Hawkeye Pierce once said, “I played left drift in high school.”
I always played it as cool as a fondue pot of bubbling Hot Habanero Cheddar.
Sidebar: Whenever someone mentions Mandan, I always think of an act in one of hotel lounges in Bismarck. The front man of the band referred to Mandarin, the little Chinese community to the west, which wasn’t funny, before singing, “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Loose Wheel.” That was pretty clever.
So off to Mandan we drove. By car. I don’t condone or recommend this type of behavior, but it did happen, without a thought. That was my MO for decades. My friend had a big Buick with a huge engine. Gas hadn’t reached a buck yet in 1979. And if I looked under the hood, it made sense. It was reassuring.
Since my friend was considerably shorter than me, the bench seat was set all the way forward, which forced my knees into the glove box. It didn’t hurt. He was a short, stocky cowboy who wanted to try his hand at a city job. He knew how to grow animals and plants for human consumption. I’ve never handled a live roast, but he had. He would even sit on irritated bulls for some reason.
I doubt if we buckled up — or gave it consideration. The Buick rolled off the ramp onto Interstate 94 and didn’t merge with other vehicles, since most normal people were sleeping in the middle of the night. We headed west.
The ride was as calm as any I’ve experienced. The big car moved smoothly and quietly.
I had previously owned a number of large vehicles, none that moved smoothly or quietly. One had the same gas mileage and disposition as a poorly tuned World War II-era Sherman tank. Another had self-flattening tires, which was convenient. On one occasion, the wind whipped the air and snow into a minus-50 chill. By the time I finished switching out the left rear tire, the meat on my ham bones were frozen solid to the marrow of my femur. I had to defrost my legs slowly in a walk-in cooler for a week, like a Butterball turkey fresh from the freezer section. It was unpleasant.
My associate and I tackled some deep topics on the empty highway. We coined the inane phrase “it is what it is” and promised to never repeat it. It leaked out somehow. I don’t think Trump has placed claim on the expression yet.
Was the moon at its apogee, or perigee, or neither? We didn’t have phones that connected to an Internet to get the facts. Or any phone, since they were priced in the Howard Hughes range and were as large as a salt lick. Speculation was all we had. The dark ages.
He wanted me to explain women, since I had been in the company of several females and he assumed I had garnered some useful knowledge. I learned nothing. I’m still stupid on the topic. Perhaps dumber. He was disappointed. I suggested he stand behind one of those bucking horses and wait until the feeling went away.
If most pro and college kickers can blast the football into the end zone almost every time from the current kickoff spot, why in the hell don’t they move the line back, so fans can see a runback. Way more exciting than some dude taking a knee every time. We were in strenuous agreement. Excited utterances nearly erupted.
All was well. Then my associate spotted a giant cow on a mountain to our left. I said, I know that cow. It’s Salem Sue, a superhuge Holstein. It’s dead, as far as I know, but don’t provoke it.
Anyhow, we overshot Mandan by 30 miles, and not purposely as is generally the case. So my associate took the New Salem exit and made two lefts, to get the Buick pointed east. It was acutely untraumatic.
Not much later in my life, I climbed the cow mountain, with several different associates. I used to have a large number of associates. Anyway, the cow is definitely deceased.
We did make it to Mandan, or we kept going to Bismarck, or Jamestown. It was impossibly unimportant.
As George W. Bush rationalized his substance abuse until he was 40: “When I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid.” I suspect he retained the stupidity, and perhaps I have backslid, but not to the degree of decades past.
Now nearly four decades later, I find myself a candidate for marijuana, medical or otherwise, for several chronic maladies. Nothing on my insides seems to be operating with any accuracy, and my nerve endings don’t respect their former boundaries. There is no precision to my walking.
I would like to give it a try. But I’m still ignorant about pot.
Where do I get it, without moving to another state? Do I stand in a dark alley near downtown and vigorously wave my cane? Is there a code word to shout? Is there an app? Does anyone deliver? How much does it cost?
I know there is plenty of inventory. Every other week, some poor schlub who got paid a couple hundred bucks to transport a bale of pot down the interstate, gets pulled over for some bonehead reason.
I used to have associates across the spectrum, some who could handle touchy things for me, or at least tell me what to do. Google is worthless on this topic, and I love Google. I used to be in cahoots with the Canadian mafia for crissakes. They weren’t that scary.
Opiates don’t do the trick, and I’m kind of glad. I would rather smoke a weed.
Tell the Feds if you wish. Maybe they’ll know how the hell it works.