Thursday, August 21, 2014

Marijuana and Mustaches

I am a man of words, not a man of science, but by carefully studying the faces and behavior of the people of Durango for the past four years there’s a 67% chance that you, good reader, either use marijuana, or you have a mustache. (With a 10% chance you both, have a mustache, and smoke weed.) Lucky you.

This is far above the national average, and the prevalence of marijuana and mustaches in this community has reached a level where it must be addressed, starting with the mustache.

In modern times there are only two types of people with mustaches: those born before January 1, 1969 and those born after that date. If you were born before that date, you are allowed to have a legitimate mustache, and after, well, your mustache, no how good it is, will never be taken seriously.

Someday down the road there may be a college course called “The Sociology of the Mustache” but for now we can only speculate how it went from being a legitimate way to groom your facial hair to a phenomenon of epic proportions. I’d be willing to bet my paycheck from this article that if you’re in a public setting in Durango you can turn your head and find some smug hipster looking mustache nearby. Be careful though, it may speak to you, “Look at me, dammit, I am a mustache, just imagine the fun we could have…”

Or, “Beware I am a young man with a moustache, and a soul patch, look at me finding myself, isn’t it incredible?”

Young men used to travel the world to find themselves, now with the smart phones and the internet they just simply grow a mustache and Instagram that shit…self found.

That’s not to say everyone below the age of 45 can’t pull it off, just most of you are not pulling it off. I can’t pull it off myself; I know that, my facial hair never made it past the initial stages of puberty. If I were a dog they would call me hairless. Alas, I will never know the joys of a mustache. Am I jealous of you, the select few who can pull off a beautiful bushy bulging mustache? Of course I’m jealous!

I have had the honor in judging several mustache competitions over the last few years. Each spring and fall out at Indian Creek, a climbing area in Utah, our group of friends manicure and prepare their finest ‘staches. One year, just before the event, we caught the Utah police, hiding in the bushes, spying on our get together. At first the reaction was anger. We had an epic dance party planned and wanted to get rowdy. And, if we were in Colorado we would have still done that, even with the police spying on us. However, in Utah, its best not to tempt the police, you never know what kind of laws the local Podunk cops have. I mean, was a mustache competition illegal in Utah? None of us knew, but we were willing to risk it as an act of civil disobedience. As it turned out no one was arrested for having a mustache. Luckily no one lit up one of those funny cigarettes everyone is smoking these days.

You know what I’m talking about. Weed. Cannabis. Dope. Herb. Mary Jane. Izm. Reefer. Bud. Chronic. The Kind. In Utah they will fine you over a thousand dollars and make you pee into a cup for a year for the stuff, in Colorado, they practically hand it out on the street corner. (Seriously, last summer a duo in Durango were busted for doing exactly that.)

Like the mustache, the code of ethics and behavior for marijuana is out of control. When there was just medical marijuana people behaved themselves. Now, with the recreational use legalized, people are going ape-shit. Hats, stickers, t-shirts, buttons; it’s as if marijuana just won the World Series.

Last weekend, while attending the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, a middle-aged woman, who was promoting a product I had no interest in, approached me rather forcefully. I tried to avoid eye contact, but she had me. “Oh you’re from Colorado,” she said after looking at my media badge. “I was just there for the Cannabis Cup. Smoked a bong with Chong from Cheech and Chong, now I can cross that off the bucket list.”

People used to be reticent about their marijuana use, especially in Utah, now I’ve got women the age of my Mother bragging about how their bucket list is getting baked with Cheech and Chong.

But seriously it is pretty sweet that marijuana is legal, even if retail marijuana is so expensive only tourists from surrounding states can afford it. And a word of advice for those Baby Boomers who want to start partaking their way to a Rocky Mountain High, it’s like Woodstock, don’t eat the brown acid. What I mean by that is, don’t eat the whole cookie. As a matter of fact, if you’re new to the weed game, or coming back after a major hiatus, start small. Learn to understand the system of milligrams.

Eat a tiny bite of the cookie, and then wait. If you are not seeing colors and smurfs eat a little bit more until you do. And, then stop. You can never eat too little of a weed cookie, but you can eat too much. Then you’ll end up in the hospital, like you did when you ate that brown acid at Woodstock, and no one wants to tell that story to the friends and family back home. You’ll have a hard enough time explaining that new mustache.

This piece is also published in this week's Durango Telegraph. 

My two books are called: The Great American Dirtbags and Climbing Out of Bed. Click on the titles to view them on Amazon.

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