Micah and Jett-
It’s April 20th. Presently, this should mean nothing to you. I’m fairly convinced that at age 3 and 4, the only days you both care about are birthdays, holidays, or any days that lead to you consuming some kind of dessert.
For me, April 20th is a day to watch people engage in a supposed countercultural celebration of the cannabis plant, which would be kind of cool if that celebration incorporated more than the part where they burn buds and inhale the fumes.
I don’t smoke weed. At the time that I’m writing this letter to you, I never have. In all likelihood, I never will. My history with cannabis when classified as “illicit drug” doesn’t necessarily illustrate my view on the subject though. You can’t legislate morality, and I’m a firm believer that adults should have dominion over decisions that don’t adversely affect others. I won’t go too far down that road, as espousing my political beliefs about drug laws isn’t the purpose of this letter. The purpose is instead to let you know that there are some things that seem countercultural, when in all reality, it’s actually subcultural mainstream.
Take skydiving, for example. Lots of people skydive, and they have some great stories to tell afterward. I’d even go as far as saying that people who skydive regularly feel a certain camaraderie with each other. I don’t skydive, but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the activity. I’m more opposed to people who never shut the hell up about skydiving when interacting with others who may not have the same level of interest- posting pictures of the types of planes they jump from, hanging dorm room posters of famous people who skydive, constantly quoting movies like Point Break, Drop Zone or Terminal Velocity… I hope you’re picking up on this comparison because I’m running out of equivalents.
I also don’t have much respect for people who see getting high in mid-April as some colossally passive-aggressive form of rebellion. You are not John Hancock, boldly signing a document declaring insurrection, just because you can light a joint.
Maybe part of the “rebel” mentality comes from the fact that only a handful of states have legalized pot for medicinal purposes, and even fewer have gone the lengths of decriminalizing possession of the drug. Perhaps, on a smaller scale, it’s about rebellion in the face of parental authority. I believe Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, the Simon and Garfunkel of the late ’80s, so accurately captured the attitude of anti-authoritarian suburban youth with these time-tested lyrics:
You know parents are the same no matter time nor place
They don’t understand that us kids are gonna make some mistakes
So to you, all the kids all across the land
There’s no need to argue, parents just don’t understand
This is garbage. We understand, completely. My generation’s parents grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. Yours grew up in the 90’s. Any tomfoolery perpetrated by the youth of today, unless it involves a flaming bra, or happens while listening to Jane’s Addiction, is mild by comparison. These kids should know their history anyway, the 4/20 celebration in its current incarnation stems from activities carried out by California youths in the early 70’s. People who, present day, are sexagenarians. That’s right kids, the same grandpa who’s watch alarm goes off to remind him to take Lipitor at 4:20pm every day, probably picked that time out of sheer habit.
What I want the two of you to get from this is that toking up, or participating in any activity to be part of a group that claims to be going against the current, is absurd. Especially when the current isn’t really pushing back. Days like today are nothing more than an excuse for people who smoked without a reason on 4/19, to justify yesterday’s activities today. Is there anything wrong with that? Not really. Well, for you there is, because you won’t smoke weed and live in my house (assuming your mother, who makes the money in this family, lets me call it my house). The problem is letting a hobby overtake your interests and define you to the point where you count down the days to a celebration that entails you doing the same thing you do every day. I don’t want that life for you. Shoot, I can’t afford that life for you. Our grocery bill is already high enough without you both murdering a can of Pringles after every meal.
In conclusion, please don’t grow up to be idiots.
I don’t strictly agree with you — you can read my views on my latest blog post, if you like — but all the same, I thought I’d say this was a beautiful, poignant post. Brilliant writing.