Go Hemp!

I awoke with a hangover on Wednesday. It took me a few minutes to realize I hadn’t been drinking the night before. Not a drop. Outside the morning was gray and the streets were quiet. I saw none of my neighbors on their usual dog walks. Eerily deserted. I chalked it up to one of those strange, collective rises and falls that happens in the popular consciousness from time to time. There are some mornings when everyone is hungover, regardless of what happened the previous night. Like the barometric pressure, it just drops and everybody feels it. It’s physics, after all.   

Nobody in my neighborhood advertises the fact that they watch pornography. There are no lawn signs for Ron Jeremy, John Holmes, Jenna Jameson, whoever the popular “actors” and “actresses” are nowadays. There are no bumper stickers that say, “This house is pro-penetration.” There are no signs supporting fetish, bondage, girl-on-girl, guy-on-girl-on-guy, black-on-white, white-on-black, take-my-wife, take-my-husband, dwarf-on-giant, humiliation, punishment, sadomasochism, group orgy and whatever else. However, if a tech company were to descend on the neighborhood and sift through the ISP addresses and blind search histories, the results would most likely be shocking. It would be a vast trove of voyeuristic filth somewhere on the level of the discovery of the lost city of El Dorado, part of the running current of activity that goes on just below everything else that is going on. This is the basic math of the 2016 election.

In a presidential cycle that was big on sensationalism, bombast and weirdly devoid of strict policy discussions, most people are probably wondering what happens now. Even president-elect Donald J. Trump is scratching his head. He lost the popular vote and won the election. At least he was right. It is rigged. He just happened to benefit from it. Good luck to him.

The big winner is marijuana. It won the ballot in six states, on its way to national legitimacy. After a political campaign that seemed more like an amphetamine bender, it might be a wise idea for the nation to smoke a joint and calm down. Where no individual has the ability to do so, hemp may be able to unite America, or at least chill it out, which is almost as valuable.

I am somewhat of an anomaly. I was a philosophy major who never smoked a lot of pot. My lungs have always been sensitive. I had asthma as a kid. They work hard enough as it is without dumping a bunch of dirty air into them. But, one of the unspoken requirements of studying in any philosophy program is that you have to go to class high at least once, in order to assess the value of any possible shifts in perspective that may result from the tricks that substance can play on the mind. So I picked my class. Second semester Western Thought. We were studying Edmund Husserl and his ideas of reductive phenomenology. I figured what the hell. I didn’t understand any of what he said when I was sober so it couldn’t hurt to show up drooling and stoned for a lecture. It might even help.

It was a disaster. I didn’t hear one word of what the professor said. I was fascinated and transfixed, however, with a girl across the room who periodically withdrew a packaged snack from her sweatshirt pocket, peeled a bit of it from its wrapper, lashed it into her mouth, chewed carefully, then swallowed it. Five minutes later she repeated the process. I was too far away to see what the food was. It looked like a Twizzler but it was the color of an udon noodle. It was like a soggy little rope. The girl had this technique of pinching the bottom end of it and whipping it up to her mouth where she would snap at it, sometimes catching it, sometimes missing it, like a moray eel debouched from a coral pocket, lazily trying to grab some kelp. Often it would take two or three lunges for her to secure it between her teeth, after which she would absently suck it through her pursed lips, chew thoughtfully then swallow. On and on it went. In fact I decided all us students were like coral algae, just sitting there in the tranquil blue, while our one moray eel fed on ocean sprouts. The professor didn’t seem to notice or care. Most everyone else was assiduously taking notes. I hadn’t written a word. My entire being was only concerned with the next stringy snack. Would she eat another one? How many times would she snap at it before grabbing it with her mouth? Would that be enough, or would she need another floppy dose? 

“80 percent of success is just showing up,” said Woody Allen. He was probably right, maybe even a little conservative with his numbers. I ended up getting a B in my Western Thought class. Ask me today about Edmund Husserl. I won’t be able to explain a thing.

And that, maybe, is the big lesson. Collectively and individually we are like fastball pitches. We are the baseball itself, who, after leaving the grip of a powerful, professional pitching ace, believes that somehow we are free to travel wherever we want now that we have been released. We have the sky above and the seats and the field all around to explore, check out, and discover, but in all likelihood we will probably end up in the catcher’s mitt behind home plate.   

The Democrats were beaten on Tuesday night, as were the Republicans in the nine months leading up to the election. It’s like we have all been given honorary degrees from Trump University, with the promise of the vast secrets of wealth and success, but just as likely grappling with the collection agency when the tuition bill comes due. And maybe it never will. Perpetual deferment is fashionable these days. This is the lesson the rest of us can take from the rich. Send it down to the last stop. We’ll be getting off before that.

The cultural paradox, which is alway reassuring regardless of a person’s political views, is that victories always galvanize the opposition. For the defeated left this means gun sales will decrease, subscriptions to their causes will increase, the militias will be vacationing in the Everglades, the A.C.L.U. will be hiring, and donations to Planned Parenthood will fill the coffers. After all, to be great one must have a formidable adversary. Let the games begin. Since we’re heading for the catcher’s mitt we might as well smoke a legal, recreational joint. It might soften the landing.

God save the green.

More Alembics to come.

Open Letter to Captain Henry “Tony” Wooten from Johnny Americana

Note from the Blog Custodian: Since “paddytheduke” the normal blog contributor is off trying to mediate the fight between Superman and Batman, he has agreed to let Mr. Johnny Americana post this written request for employment to the Dawson County sheriff’s department. Mr. Johnny Americana, a somewhat dumb-headed and misguided old acquaintance of “paddytheduke’s,” has demanded the use of this platform to implore sheriff’s candidate Tony Wooten to hire him on as a deputy in the rural Georgia county after seeing a video clip of Officer Wooten assaulting a journalist during a public political rally. Mr. Americana, while passionate about his beliefs, has always had the somewhat debilitating deficiency of misguided fervor. Mr. Americana’s letter is posted as a courtesy and we wish him the best of luck in his pursuit of gainful employment. Go right ahead, Mr. Americana.

Dear Sheriff’s Captain Henry Wooten,

Henry, can I call you Tony? I hear all your friends call you Tony and I’d like to be your friend. Not only do I want to be your friend, I want to be your subordinate, your employee, your trusted soldier in the fight against crime. I was watching some footage of you recently and I must say I’m very impressed. I saw you take down a terrorist at that farm in North Georgia in just the nick of time. Score one for the good guys! Terrorists are everywhere these days, even in the rural south, which is scary. What’s even scarier is that they’ve developed such intricate disguises that you can hardly recognize them anymore. Take the one you so expertly disarmed. If I didn’t know any better I would’ve thought she was a thin, all-American, white woman instead of a hairy Middle Eastern Arab with a suicide belt. And that gun she was carrying looked an awful lot like a video camera. ISIS is always evolving, trying to stay one step ahead of us and if they can start looking like “us” there is no telling where they will show up next. Hell, this blonde, saggy broad sitting next to me at this bar could be a suicide bomber. (I know it’s a little early in the day but I needed a drink because I’m shaking with enthusiasm for the sheriff’s office and not because I have the DT’s.) Where was I? Oh yeah, terrorists are everywhere, even at the highest levels. I suspect that Clinton woman was trained by the mujahideen. I have a friend that said he got up close to her once during a town hall meeting and saw her filthy beard but the Lefties in the newsrooms are always airbrushing the damn thing away in pictures.

Back to you though Tony, Big T, Woo-Tang Clan, Woo-Woo! Wooten! Your heroism on that gamy pig farm saved lives that day. The “Talking Head” bureaucrats are always saying we need to collect the right “intelligence” about ISIS in order to defeat them, but you were like, fuck that, I don’t need no intelligence to know this woman is a threat. That frail looking woman, Nydia Tisdale (what kind of a name is Nydia, anyway? That ‘y’ in the middle just makes it look all foreign) anyway Nydia was about to kill all of you, but you threw yourself in the line of (video) fire and bent that crazy bitch’s arm behind her, even as some of the bystanders and even the state’s Attorney General looked on like you were nuts. We need less bystanders and more men of action like yourself and Corey Lewandowski, who wrestled that nosy reporter away from President Trump. (He got elected, right?) You and Mr. Lewandowski know that you can’t let these people come around exercising their right to freedom of the press. Today’s video recorder is tomorrow’s assault rifle, and today’s investigative journalist is tomorrow’s organic shrapnel. What’s the difference between a barbed question and an armor-piercing bullet? About three dollars a round. If you hire me on as deputy I can help stop the scourge.

You may be wondering about my credentials. First of all let me say that I take down women all the time, except that when I do it’s usually because I owe them for child support and they come at me like wild animals. Or when they tell my kids to stop smoking in front of their kids and all hell breaks loose… I’m just saying I have a lot of experience taking down women and could be a real valuable asset to your law enforcement team.

My actual work experience? Well, right now, Tony, Atomic T, Tonator, I’m working at a bakery down in the city. We make niche pastries. Our big sellers are “anatomical” cakes in the shapes of titties and ding-dongs. It used to be a real problem selling these specialty desserts to people we didn’t approve of, but now with the new Georgia law we can make sure that when we sell a big pair of cream pie titties we are selling them to a man and when we make a five-pound chocolate schlong we are selling it to a girls’ bachelorette party. God Bless America. See, I’m already kinda enforcing the law, right? It wouldn’t be that much of a jump to patrolling the streets looking for terrorists and sodomites and journalists who think they can just keep government open to the public. Transparency is for windows, Tony. You know what I’m talking about.  Speaking of which I threw an old boat anchor through the front window of that terrorist’s home today. April Fool’s Day, Nydia. You should’ve heard the fuckin shatter. You’ve gotta teach these journalists and terrorists that they can’t just record what politicians say, because on the extremely rare occasion they get caught saying something stupid they don’t need it advertised all over the place. If only we could just keep the internet open to people who love America and freedom. 

Yours belligerently,

Johnny Americana.

P.S.  I just heard President Trump isn’t elected yet, so I have to go put up campaign signs for him around Emory University. He needs the Muslim vote and they’ve got good Muslims over there, like the nerdy, quiet kind, who need to hear his message of hope and change, like he hopes they change what country they live in. Wooten for Sheriff!!

(More Alembics to come)