Hey Herb

High Times magazine isn’t going to call this year. I know they’re not. For the first time in three years, I won’t be present at this years biggest stoner party. Worst of all, I won’t be making the tax-free big bucks, along with the all access passes, free gourmet dinners, and YES – the mountain of maryjane that every employee gets (which I promptly distribute to my friends).

It’s not that bm is much of a ganja smoker, hell no, I’m more the observer. But it’s the spirit of the event I’ve grown to love. Every late November a hoard of Americans, Canadians, Germans, Dutchies, and -increasingly- Japanese, invade the Melkweg on one quest – to smoke dope and sit around with strangers going “hey man… this shit is great.” (insert appropriate Tommy Chong accent) But wait, I’m not mocking them, their stories are often amazing; the vietnam vets, the cannabis photographers, the young hippies living in pseudo communes in some remote county of California, the Vancouver people, and finally – the straight up New Yorkers who love the chronic.

Let me not forget the kickass music. Over the past two cups I’ve seen De La Soul, Fishbone, and hung back stage with George Clinton and his granddaughter. All completely free of course. (thanks DRoCK)

But alas, the thrill is gone. They don’t need my skills as an employee anymore. I served happily last year as an voting booth supervisor. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? That’s what I thought initially, until I found myself trying to communicate with distracted hippies, who could never seem to fill out ballots correctly or quickly. They brought their notebooks with them, filled with chickenscratch about which coffeeshop was the coolest this year. (coffeeshop? places in amsterdam that serve weed) Yet it always required my intervention, to tell them to not vote twice, or to not ask their neighbor about which hash was better. Then came the begging “Hey man… can I get one of those I voted T-Shirts”.. to which I would say no, and later they’d re-appear with items for bartering, and like any good native, sometimes I traded with the colonists.

Occasionally you can find women at these things. And when you do they are often excessively beautiful, and on the arm of a mafia boss/coffee shop owner from Moscow. Constantly surrounded by an entourage aka bodyguards. Last year I met swiss miss; long blond dreds, blue eyes, and an excellent accent from the alps. She and I had a bond, which consisted of standing at our respective booths stealing glances at each other, and occasionally just staring at each other. That was our thing. By the last day we had ventured into the world of conversation, became friends, and presently I hear from swissy whenever she’s in town.

The worst was when one of my stoned colleagues would not show up to relieve me after my shift, and I would stand there angry as hell and starving. The Norwegian cannabis chef would stroll by in his white labcoat with a cake or a shake, and – as if knowing I was starving – would ask if I wanted some. To which I’d hungrily reply – “Yes, what is it!?” And that madman would proceed to show me the marijuana mango cake he had baked and the cannabis oil popcorn he had popped. THE HORROR. Here I am starving, and this guys trying to get me high. So of course I nibbled on the popcorn, to tithe me over, hoping not to get stoned since I had work to do, real life to tend to. Alas, the end of an era.

Today’s Sounds: Coheed & Cambria – In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth