They’ve made it legal out here in the Rockies to commune with the skunk, every one of us now buckling into the hand-basket and punching in for armageddon. We emerge from our homes in an astonished buzz, the future has finally arrived, and its rung in by hippies wearing tuxedo t-shirts, silently clinking wedding spoons against the bong and demanding ovation. Forever the gateway to terrible things, weed is now above board and on the regular out here, and nobody has a fleeting whistle on how the whole thing will pan out. However the electorate saw fit to tally things, the last throes of the violently appalled and terribly misinformed have been kicked back into the pits, the majority of Colorado inhabitants taking up their brooms and shooing anyone who looks too clear-headed, or anyone who cannot quickly answer the appropriate amounts of Frank Zappa trivia. An angry man holding a sweeper points the bristles at a tourist, “Why did Dot Records claim to reject his music?” The tourist, sweating visibly, straightens his tie and shakes his head. “Uh, I don’t know, they… uh… they didn’t like him?” “Wrong, goddammit!” the angry man screams. “They said his music had no commercial potential! Get out of my state!” These are the ways now in the mile high city, a name befitting the town that always was.
I don’t know how we got it done, the weed thing. For years now we’ve had marijuana dispensaries littered across the city, and while the whole scene has been a federal no-no, the state has made no secret of the places. The idea—from whatever pale and thin surface it was originally scribbled upon—was to get people their “medicine,” the chemo patient, people with difficult to manage pain, folks with migraines, and whomever else willing to pay two bills to a pseudo-doctor for The Card. The game was always afoot, however. The nonsense doctrines that kept the ganja as an illicit thing were never on solid ground, no facts or reports with any science involved backed the reasoning, so the hypothetical granite box that we’ve kept the eventual sale of weed locked inside just kept cracking, dripping out hippies and tie-die bandanas. Yes—that was sloppy—but I know you get me, dammit.
The dispensaries never attempted to approach the game with any tact, every other building flatly advertising its product with little hint at what it was supposed to be doing. Instead of a clean respectful air of the medical professional, every retail bud store just put out some gaunt, over-tanned, and malnourished late 50’s stoner in a lawn chair, dreadlocks last washed sometime during the Reagan administration. His only job: Flashing the peace sign and accidentally knocking over his beer all day. It is like they have embraced the Devil’s Lifestyle™ and revel in keeping the “squares” far from business, a tactic that’s worked never-times. I am terrified as I wheel my suburbs-mobile along the THC roadways, keeping the doors locked and gawking from the window, forever curious what the insides of these places smell like, forever wondering what the products cost, and forever coming up with phrases like “THC roadways” because I am so smugly clever.
The passage of amendment “Cut The Shit, Weed is Fine” hasn’t gone over terribly well with everyone. Our governor spat out the now infamous and strangely empty line, “Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly,” a stretch that reeks of the kind of man who’s considered marijuana about as much as he’s considered washing carrots in the toilet. These are the people who see spiders without ever having a paranoid moment courtesy of the actual icky. They see or hear the word “marijuana,” and just throw up their palms in some sort of twisted jazz-hands, closing their eyes and shaking their heads saying, “Nope, nope, wrong, bad, nope,” and the accompanying dance steps resemble an overweight diabetic fumbling with a Snickers wrapper. Hickenlooper’s Cheetos line is a wisp of smoke though, considering he cannot avoid signing off on the vote, he has no choice but to be bent over his surely ornate wooden desk and slowly-but-gently succumb to the will of the people. That line, mind you, was the words of a governor who’s built his fortune by stripping away inhibitions and encouraging the general public to dip a toe or two into the warm waters of “responsibility.” The man is a beer magnate, a founder of the Wynkoop Brewery, and clearly, his ability to reason floated away years ago along with Tommy Chong’s last real memory.
Then, we’ve got the g-men to deal with. Federal agents with dangerous blood pressure stand at the sides of a wide swath of dispensaries all along Broadway street, or, as it’s been known for the last few years out here, “Broadsterdam,” each silver-suited dynamo patiently waiting to curb-stomp a chemo patient just to get an erection. The parade kicks off on election night, and the twisted orgy of smoke and smelly green ichor lasts for days, Domino’s Pizza unable to supply the demand, the Doritos factory simply shuttering the warehouses. There are no clowns or athletes in this parade, no, the slow moving mass of bodies are instead holding up misspelled signage in favor of the new freedoms, nobody walking in any given order, everyone just lazily shuffling on and off of the street like a grandmother struggling to find the next gear.
The floats come in, Stay-Puft-sized balloon likenesses of GOP demons—a giant-sized Rachel Maddow and Woody Harrelson come barreling down the street, the parade hosts introducing each character in turn:
“And here comes our next float, and what a marvel this is. It’s Joe Rogan, stand-up comedian, host of Fear Factor, and color commentator for the UFC. Here he is at ten stories—almost as high as the Jiu-Jitsu man himself gets before recording a podcast and jumping into an isolation tank for three days. Joe’s accompanied by the Denver South marching band, each of the students wearing a t-shirt with lovable Rogan sayings like, ‘I Think We’re Here to Eat the Sandwich,’ and ‘What if Like, Monkeys, and Like, Dude… Aliens, Bro.’ Today, Rogan is ‘flying high’ over the mile-high, the man himself standing below, waving, and throwing fistfuls of what appear to be herbal brain supplements into the crowd. Whether he’s destroying a gravity bong or making you laugh, our Joe Rogan float says, ‘Smoke it up Colorado, and always be afraid of tigers.’”
Joe Rogan & Explosions in the Sky:
Joe Rogan on Life & People:
Article photo thanks to the gallery of El Bibliomata.