I wrote my earlier post on 420 and then I got to thinking about a) what a nerd I am and b) how much this next train of thought is going to really tick off my parents.
Standard Paragraph for Parents, Siblings and fellow churchgoers:
I neither drink nor smoke marijuana. But I am hampered by a slavish devotion to consistency and an annoying habit of contrarianism.
My parents raised me on the beauty of America. How the Puritans came here to be able to worship free of state persecution in England. How my own Mennonite forebears came here to be able to worship free of state persecution in Germany and Switzerland. How America is wonderful because everyone can follow whatever they believe in and we’re all grownups and agree to get along peacefully with one another.
I am reminded of those thoughts every spring, beginning on March 17th. I don’t drink, but my love for what this country stands for means that I am glad that all the Irish, Catholics, Alcoholics and Sport Drinkers get an occasion to celebrate what they love. Then again when May 5th rolls around and I can’t get out of the Food Lion parking lot because of the tequila tent at the adjacent Mexican restaurant and its devotees rejoicing in Mexico, Alcoholism and Sport Drinking I grumble but also rejoice at the beauty of FREEDOM.
But sandwiched in between there is the lie of 420. The sharp hull in the center of the popped corn that sticks in your teeth and hurts and reminds you that in adulthood even the promised good things often come with a dark side. The poor gentle slackers and dudes who are too busy chillin’ at home in front of a lava lamp to block the Food Lion parking lot or force Corned Beef and Cabbage specials on me in restaurants don’t get to have the freedom of their day. They have to celebrate in secret and with codes and obscure symbology.
In that way the potheads remind me of the Early Christian Church. And because of my fellow-feeling with that Early Christian Church I also feel sorry for the potheads. I want America to not be Nero’s Rome. I want America to be the America I believe in. So I want 420 to someday soon be like Cinco de Mayo & St. Patrick’s Day, where your co-workers can send you eVites to their Bake-ins and the stores put Cheetos on sale and you can give a commemorative roach clip to your grandma.