Saturday, September 3, 2016

Adelaide Climbs A Tree: A Review

By: Kelly McClure

When it was brought to my attention on that the father of Ben Johnson (aka, Bozo #1), whose name is Ed Johnson, wrote a book, and that book was available for purchase on the website, I bought it immediately. It did not matter that I had never personally met Mr. Johnson, nor did it matter that the book in question was about a little girl (whom I'd also never met) experiencing some difficulty climbing a tree. I personally felt the need to buy this book to answer the following questions that the existence of the book sprouted in my mind:

1) So, you can just willy nilly write a book and then be like "here, internet, sell this?"

2) Print media is alive and well? (That's not really a question I had, I just wanted to write those words.)

3) So, what's the deal with this tree?

I am a strange friend in that I will literally never call you on the phone or hang out with you, but if your family member writes a book, you can bet that I will be one of the first to buy it. That's how I show that I care. With money. And the internet. 

When Adelaide Climbs A Tree arrived in the mail I was pleased to notice that the book was magazine in nature (zine-esque, if you will.) The cover has a glossy slickness to it, and the paper has literally no odor. These are just some surface findings I thought people would like to know.

Doing my best to avoid any spoilers, the crux of the tale is this: A girl named Adelaide is like "I think I'll climb this tree." No known reason for this activity is given, which lends a lot to the book's mystique. She climbs the tree, un-climbs the tree, and then her life unravels into a Kafka-esque voyage of the inner psyche that results in her, and her grandfather's (Mr. Johnson) understanding that "there is no tree."

I would recommend this book to anyone who is yearning to find out a little bit more about themselves.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Three Good Things: Hats, Walruses, Pillows

By: Ben Johnson


Often referred to by their common social media platform naming convention #hats, real life hats are a useful and good thing to have on your head from time to time.

Here is a partial list of some things hats do:

1. Cover your head.

2. Shield your head and various head parts such as face and neck and general head from things such as sunlight and rain and non-rain precipitation and other kinds of light, and like dripping things that are not rain.

3. Like if you have glasses but not prescription sunglasses you can wear a hat and that way you don’t really have to get prescription sunglasses because you can still se okay even if it’s bright out because you have a nice dark hat brim shielding your face.

4. Extend your head area’s intrinsic personal space bubble several additional inches in all directions, allowing you to navigate crowds and social situations with an extra cushion of ease and comfort.

5. Can look good on your head.

6. Can become an easy way for friends and loved ones to recognize you from afar if you wear a particular hat often.

7. Make your head warmer than it would ordinarily be.

In conclusion: hats are good.


Are walruses good?

If you watch a nature show about walruses, you might come to the conclusion that walruses are, in fact, not good. They can be jerks to each other. Big male walruses especially can seem like assholes. They fight a whole lot, like they do that walrus-fighting thing where they whomp their big ugly walrus necks against each other until one walrus relents, and then dating wise it’s probably some kind of ugly walrus-copulation-as-reward-for-successful-walrus-fighting scene. I bet it's not too much fun to be an actual walrus.

I just Googled what do walruses eat and it turns out they eat clams. Man, they must eat a ton of clams. Walruses are huge. They must have like 50 pounds of clam meat in them at all times. No wonder walruses mostly just lie around and go “bork bork bork bork!” all day. That’s probably about all I would do if I ate enough clams to be 4,000 pounds.

And it’s not like, hey, don’t eat so many clams. I got no beef with a walrus just eating as many clams as they want. Eating clams is a pretty chill move as far as being a predator goes.

I think walruses are good because they look like walruses, and if it weren’t for walruses there wouldn’t be anything in the world that looked like that. You’d see Wilford Brimley or Stan Van Gundy and you’d think “man, that guy looks so much like a…” and then there would not be a word at the end of that thought. But thanks to walruses, there is! Walrus guys need walruses to exist in order for the rest of us to see a walrusy-looking guy and say, "oh man, that guy looks like an exact walrus."

Conclusion: walruses are good.


For my money there’s just nothing better to put your head on than a pillow when it comes to sleeping or resting.

Conclusion: pillows are good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Non-Women In Womanless Bands

By: Ben Johnson

This is what you look like when you talk.

There’s one of those Important Community Dialogues going on in the general vicinity of my Facebook feed these days, and as rational of a person as I like to believe I am about not voluntarily burning to a crisp, I have an inner moth with precious precious straight white cis man feelings that can’t help but be drawn to the flame. Moths are annoying and predictable that way.

This one is about whether there should be women in bands. The idea is that, yes, there should be women in bands. And another idea is that, also, bands who don’t have a woman in them should think about having a woman in them. These are good ideas. It’s a little puzzling why this set of ideas would be threatening to anybody. But oh boy is it ever threatening to some people.

Like all men (yes all men) I fuck up real bad every single time I try to enunciate an opinion on matters of feminism. I start out with what I believe are good intentions, and then I’m talking, and then I’m the one talking rather than listening, and that act alone proves I’m not actually all that awoken to the actual content of whatever repackaged ally-positioned gibberish I’m currently spewing, and thus I end up taking a patently rickety rhetorical position that any moth who wishes can easily point out, and then when that inevitably happens I look stupid and feel stupid, which actually is not a bad thing for me to look or feel as a result of opening my mouth about anything having to do with women or womanhood.

Because I do not, and never will, know what I am talking about on that subject.

ALL THAT SAID… you know what? No. No buts. Just those things said. I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. All I know about is general personhood.

Anybody can tell me anything and I’ll just do my best, okay? I get to decide the difference between right and wrong for me, and I have to act on those decisions and deal with the consequences of them, just like everybody else. I’d maybe prefer not to be told what to do, but hey, I’m a grown up. Grown ups have to deal with things they’d prefer not to deal with, like for instance utility bills or being told, correctly, that they should shut up once in a while, that their voices are crowding out other voices, that they are, because we all are in a general and essential sense and maybe some more than others if you’re a fan of concepts such as equality, stupid and wrong and unhelpful and unnecessary. Some grown ups have to deal with a lot worse than just being occasionally exposed to uncomfortable truth.

Anyway: I know I shouldn’t say anything. But sometimes I say things. I’m not perfect. I try to at least remember that it’s better if I listen.

Why not listen, dudes in bands?

It’s the least you could do after forming a band and peppering the whole world with event notifications that say, in essence, “hey please listen to me.” And if you’re not in a band: good job. Mission accomplished. Maybe consider also not posting on Facebook. I forgive you, because look at me here, but jeez. Look at us. We fucked up. We always fuck up so, so bad.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Candy Crush Saga Life Lessons

By: Ben Johnson

Look, I know this is bad, okay? This is real, real bad. From a certain entirely accurate psychological standpoint, it’s about the same thing as saying, “sometimes I cut myself,” or “I wish I was dead.” But: I’ve been playing Candy Crush Saga on my phone lately. You know, that game people play with the colored dots that you move around and then they explode, and whenever you see somebody playing it in public on the train or in an airport, commuting home in their business slacks and sneakers, you think, “that is just about the saddest thing I’ve ever seen”?

Yeah, that ‘s me.

This is just where I’m at right now, okay? I’m stressed out for a large portion of my life, and then I do this mind-numbingly stupid thing, and then in those moments I find I am doing this thing and not doing anything else, and my mind is soothingly numbed. It’s fine. It’s a fine way to spend your time if the rest of your time is comparably harrowing.

I’m learning from Candy Crush Saga. I’m not learning, like, math things, or “always do the wrapper candy first because that’s hard to get” things, although maybe I’m also learning those things. Really what I’m learning about is—and forgive me for saying this, because believe me I know how it sounds—my own adulthood.

Here are some things being alive, at least my experience of it, has in common with Candy Crush Saga right now:

1. Utterly pointless

2. Goes on forever

3. Isn’t technically “fun”

4. Series of things you have to do

5. Very little control over the things that happen

6. No way to know if you’re even good at it

7. Everything is garish and impossible to understand and also somehow wants your money and also somehow wants to know who all your friends are, wants to connect with all your friends and wants your money and all your friends’ money

8. I don’t know who anybody is even supposed to be

9. Sometimes it’s like “oh well it looks like I’m just not gonna win this time no matter what” and sometimes it’s like “oh wow I thought this was gonna be impossible but it’s totally doable if I just take it one step at a time” and you never know which one you’re even currently dealing with

10. You screw up a lot but mostly it’s no big deal, like most of the time the stakes are really small, like what if I did that thing differently and then that thing would go here, oh whoops, maybe I lose this level and/or the hot dog guy thinks I’m a jerk for like three seconds

11. Sometimes you have to stop, like sometimes you are forced to stop unless you want to bother people you know or pay extra money or cross a similar internal boundary into territory you’ve decided is unhealthy

12. It feels good to get stars or see your name climb a fake leaderboard even though it doesn’t really mean anything

13. The future is just a weird map with no features on it

14. I’m pretty sure I’m not the bad guy, but really there’s no way to know

15. I probably need to get my eyes checked, like I should really do that

16. Culture is a lie

Okay, I made up that last one. Candy Crush Saga doesn’t really make me feel that way about culture, except insofar as I moved to Baltimore less than a year ago and there’s all this interesting and weird stuff to do here and all these new people doing it, and I am constantly confused and feel myself struggling to find anything real I can look at and say “this is who I am,” and maybe the weird things and the new people are more of a distraction than a help in that regard, kind of like how Candy Crush Saga is more of a distraction than a help in every regard.

Am I reading too much into Candy Crush Saga? Not a rhetorical question. Genuine question.

And also: no I am not reading too much into Candy Crush Saga. It’s my life and I can play a dumb game and think whatever the hell thing pops in my head during that. I can do whatever I want. I’m basically a sprinkles candy right now, and I can explode all the blues, or turn them into stripes, or wrappeds, or I can also be Swedish Fishes. I don’t have to listen or do anything. Not all of the time. Nobody can do it all of the time.

How To Not Be A Turd Person

By: Kelly McClure

Do you know what a turd person is? Maybe you don't. A turd person is a person who is more like a turd than they are more NOT like a turd. There are a lot of turd people. A LOT. You may not recognize a turd person right away. Sometimes it can take anywhere between 30 seconds to a full day of exposure before you conclude that, yes, the person you've just encountered is in fact a turd person. 

If you're reading this right now and are wondering "hey, how do I know if I'm a turd person?" There are clues. As a preventative measure, here's how to proactively not be a turd person, if that sounds like something you'd be interested in not being.

1) When visiting someone's house for the first time walk in and say hi to everyone. Say hi to everyone in the house you're in. Say hi to the animals in and around the house too. If there are people outside, say hi to them as well. 

2) Don't move things in a person's house if you don't absolutely need to. Walking up to a thing and moving it to another location is something only a turd person would do. Don't do this. Also, don't slam your turd body down onto furniture so that it moves around the house. Have you ever seen a couch before? 

3) Don't say or write the word "cheers" unless you're holding a drink in your hand at the time of writing and or saying the word. 

4) Don't do that thing where when a person is talking to you you start looking past either side of their face into an undetermined distance. What are you looking at? Are you looking for turds?

5) Don't interrupt people. Chances are the sentence you're about to interrupt is almost over. Wait it out. No one needs to hear the turdy thing you have to say anyway. 

6) Congratulate people on the awesome things that happen to them, even if nothing awesome ever happens to you. 

7) Say something nice to a person when something terrible/tragic/god awful happens to them. If you've met a person once, or even just interacted with them online a few times, you need to do this or else ... turd person. 

8) Don't just randomly touch a person's body. Don't touch their hair or head in general. Don't grab their elbow. Are you a blind turdy person? Do you need that person to guide you to a safe location? If not, then don't touch someone with your turdy hands. 

9) Don't just be randomly loud for no reason.

10) Don't constantly say things about not having a TV.

11) Don't talk about food allergies.

12) Don't call things "crazy" when they're not crazy. A tea flavor cannot be "crazy." A book cannot be "crazy." You don't know what "crazy" is. 

13) Don't act like it's cool to not know what things are. Ex: Waffle fries!?!?! Never heard of 'em.

14) Don't insist that you know things when you clearly do not know even one thing.

15) Don't do that thing where you stand really closely behind someone in line. Doing this will always make it seem like you're either trying to rub your gross wiener on someone, or that you don't realize that putting your crotch on something doesn't make time move faster. 

16) Don't exit an establishment without looking to make sure people aren't walking towards you on the sidewalk. Control your weird face and your weird turdy body. 

17) Don't walk down the middle of the sidewalk. 

18) When someone shares something on the internet don't reply to it by asking "who/what is that?" The internet will tell you who/what that is. That's what the internet does.

19) Don't be weirdly afraid to be the first person to answer a question. Who the hell cares? What's gonna happen to you? Nothing. 

20) Once you leave the privacy of your own home/restroom/public restroom you are no longer able to touch the lower part of your turdy body with your own hands. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I Am The Bestest

By: Pete Johnson

I think the greatest compliment you can get is that you brought joy into this world. I have a weekly pancake date with my niece and nephew, and it is the best. We use the word "goof" a lot. Being alive and in this world and alive is the best, funniest thing. I know this because on Tuesdays before I go to work there is a little human that tries her best to put french toast into my ear.

There will probably be a lot of moments in my lifetime that will be remembered as historic. I was alive and conscious when Obama get elected, and as much as I know that was a special and momentous occasion for our country, I, personally, was busy with other things. There was this guy Jerry who was a regular at the bar I worked at, and even though his life was a tragic mess I was not about to let him win at trivia. We all have our stupid things we decide to be too worried about, and that was mine that night.

I'm not a big boxing guy, but a while ago I read this book by Norman Mailer called The Fight, which is about that time Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in Zaire. I liked it a lot because it was a good example of a person being there for a historic moment and also being too cool to give a fuck about it. It comforts me to think that for every historic moment there were millions of people not getting particularly swept up in the moment's significance, and instead just thinking about what to make for dinner that night. Then this morning I heard that Ali died, so I went ahead and spent the next two hours of my life watching the Ali documentary and crying my eyes out.

If you watch a balloon that got away from a child at a birthday party long enough it will become so small in the great big blue sky that it disappears. It is still there, being a floating balloon, but eventually it gets so small you can't see it. I once watched a balloon float up from the park across the street from my apartment, and it turned into a tiny dot, but I couldn't stop looking at until it was just gone.

How can you be the best person in the world at something and also know it and also be someone your family remembers as fun? Sad things don't make me cry. The things that show you how astounding life is tend to get to me. Like that one clip of the cast of The Lion King bursting into song on an airplane, or when a puppy tries to make it but then it can't actually make it.

I'm never in my entire life going to do anything momentous. I can maybe remind the people in my life that even though we're all sad and lost and fatal and alone, we might as well have some yuks. I'm never going to knock down a huge guy named Sonny Liston. But good God, being there for your family, and being remembered as a dope, goofy dude? I can not think of anything more beautiful.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

On Wanting And Getting Impossible Things

By: Ben Johnson

Baltimore-based artist Lexie Mountain organized a world record attempt for the longest game of telephone that happened earlier today at the Walters Art Museum. The record was 1,330, set by school children in a soccer stadium in London in 2008. The official count for Lexie’s attempt was 504.

Lexie has been planning this attempt for over two years. To prepare, among countless other tasks, she rolled up over 1,400 yards, 0.8 miles, of string which she personally colored with red marker at one yard intervals, and took that string into the Walters during its regular operating hours, and laid out a winding 1,400-person telephone line route through a museum full of priceless antiquities and people whose careers have been dedicated to caring for them, and despite a certain amount of pushback about laying down string, a thing you can trip on, a liability insurance nightmare waiting to happen, really, through sheer force of will and charisma, she laid out and planned a string route, then, with the help of dedicated museum employee at the Walters, laid down a path in red painters tape, and then was told to remove all the painters tape, and then she and the Walters staff had to lay down the painters tape again after waiting until 11pm last night for a wedding to clear out of the space, and additionally they placed 1,400 hand-numbered black dot stickers at one yard intervals along the entire taped path. The whole thing was as much an exercise in physical endurance and mind-ruining meticulousness for her and a close cadre of collaborators as it was a refreshingly participatory work of public performance art, or for the lower brow among us, a fun silly thing to do on a Sunday.

She admitted to me in what should be noted was a state of exhaustion that she was pretty bummed about falling short of the record. I’m not in the business of deciding how other people should feel. I’d probably be bummed too if, after hours of hunching over something which magnitude can be described in miles, I felt my hard work did not achieve its intended purpose. Say, if I had laid down a series of various hunch-inducing materials for the purpose of a community and conceptual thing I thought would be great, and all I’d ask is that a few hundred people stood on those hunchy things and whisper something to each other in a line, I might under those circumstances feel things other than bummed, and might use the word “bummed” to avoid saying I felt hurt and betrayed.

I also feel strongly that she has a lot not to be bummed about. 502 people agreeing to come into a museum on a Sunday and stand around and play a game of telephone is a hell of a thing. If the name of the thing was 500 Person Game of Telephone instead of World’s Longest Game of Telephone, it would be pretty great. But that’s easy for me to say. I only did so much hunching over the course of volunteering for the event. Lexie is a dear friend.

One truth about humans is that we want a lot of impossible things to happen. We want large and small impossible things, all day long, every day. We want to find a good parking space. We want to fall in love and stay in love with another equally human human being. We want the people we care about to be happy and not bummed. We want to break world records and have our deepest desires for egalitarian community-based participatory public art realized. We want everybody everywhere, or even anybody anywhere, to be okay. And we almost never get what we want. When you consider the nature of imagination, it’s actually physically impossible to get exactly what you want. There are infinite negative spaces between what we have and what we want, and somewhere in the middle between nothing and the impossible but seemingly possible is where we all have to live, and not a one of us is perfect.

That’s what makes us miraculous, though. Have you ever met a person? They’re messy and complicated, and they don’t make any sense whatsoever. And yet everything that people have ever done was accomplished by these weird neurotic inadequate messy complicated nonsensical persons. Pyramids and skyscrapers and rockets to the moon and hellacious basketball dunks: these are all easy to admire, but our current deeply fucked up and wholly inadequate and dishonest and patently unjust system for dealing with each other is also a miracle. It is a miracle to be a person surrounded by other persons, suffering the systematic injustices and traumas that are a part of every life, and yet, with decent enough reason, persisting in general without feeling totally certain at all times that a runaway bread truck is just now about to crash into you. The necessity of this delusion is probably why we have such a thing as an imagination in the first place. Otherwise our species wouldn’t even get out of bed.

Today’s world record attempt game of telephone at the Walters Museum was an unqualified, miraculous success. It was the impossible both imagined and, differently, realized, and it was weird and hunchy and beautiful, and you should have been there for it, though I’m sure you have your reasons. We all do.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bleedin' Armadilla #6 - Peter Murphy @ House of Blues

Upon moving to New Orleans from Brooklyn, Kelly McClure and Lindsey Baker noticed a lack of music blogs featuring New Orleans music blog type things. This is a music blog type thing called Bleedin' Armadilla that will be a regular feature here on Total Bozo. This music blog type thing will focus on shows we see here in New Orleans, both local bands, and bands that tour in the area. Disclaimer: do not look to this music blog type thing for "actual' music coverage. We'll mostly just be talking about ourselves, and what sort of emotions, grievances, etc. we happened to have during these shows. Thank you. This is Bleedin' Armadilla.

My formative years were spent listening to goth music and I feel like I never shut up about it. I'm sure a lot of people were goth in their teens (okay, and twenties) it's not that big of a deal. Some people grew up wearing PacSun shirts, and some people grew up wearing capes and bondage bracelets. Everyone went through their own emotional journey. During my journey through darkness I listened to a lot of goth tapes and CDs, but didn't go see a whole lot of goth shows. I think this is partially because my dad had nightmares about me flailing around in a dark, smoke machine filled room, cutting myself to devil music and tried his best to prevent that from happening with frequency. I saw a couple though. I was obsessed with a band called Human Drama and saw them a handful of times. I saw Christian Death once. I saw Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, but any goth worth their weight in black eyeliner will tell you ... they aint goth. One band I always wanted to see and somehow kept missing was Bauhaus. And one singer I always wanted to see but kept missing was Peter Murphy. I finally had my chance last night at the House of Blues in New Orleans and I went into the show expecting to have a princely evening (like an actual prince, not "Prince") but came out of it with the grim (in a bad way) realization that Peter Murphy is the Kanye West of goth. 

Last night's show was advertised as being a "Stripped" acoustic show, but we were pretty quickly tipped off to this not being the case when we walked into the venue and saw multiple electric guitars, a drum machine, and band mics on the stage. I'd been given a photo pass to cover the event and had been nervous about that on the drive over since I've never been in a photo pit before, but we made our way up to the very front of the stage with ease on account of the fact that no one was really there. The room filled up eventually but 20 minutes before Peter Murphy was set to come on there was enough room to get a polite game of four square going. 

As I stood there waiting I found myself getting emotional, reflecting on the days of my youth and how easy it is to conjure up the sights, sounds, and feeling of the past. Like that machine Harold from Harold and Maude uses in Maude's house that allows him to sniff a tube and smell what a winter's day in New York smells like. I remember what the wet grass of my high school's football field smelled like as we walked through it to sneak away for lunch, or how the light in my bedroom looked as I lounged around listening to Bauhaus and dreaming of having my own apartment where I could be as weird as I wanted 24/7. I was thinking about all of this when I looked to my right and saw Peter waiting in the wings preparing to come out. He looked good. Like a sweaty vampire. Half of me wishes the night could have ended there, with me still believing that one of my teenage idols is a proper idol, and not the pompous ass that most of them turn out to be.

Within seconds of performing the first song "Cascade," Peter was fighting with the sound guy, making hand gestures, pointing at his mouth and to the sky, and making some 'x' sign with his fingers that I still haven't figured out the meaning of. He didn't seem to be happy with the audience and he definitely wasn't happy with the sound, although it sounded great to me. His vocals, throaty and low, were flawless all throughout. No one can take that away from him, even while very openly beginning to highlight was a doucher he seems to be. After not receiving the quality he was going for, he stopped the show altogether and waited backstage with his bass player/violin player, and guitar player until things were fixed to his liking. When he came back out his attitude had gotten noticeably worse than it was to begin with and I started to wonder if maybe he was on "all of the drugs."

Stage banter is usually a great thing and tends to create a shared "we're in this together" atmosphere, but not when the person doing the bantering is in a poopy pants bad mood. Peter started off the chatty portion of his set by mistakingly saying he was in New York and then, after being like "oh shit, where am I" while rubbing his forehead, made some remarks about hating New Orleans, would never move there, and how if he got shot that night his family would be millionaires. *Sigh* What a dreamboat. As he was doing this a girl in the audience shouted out that she had flown in from New York just for this show and Peter interrupted her yelling "don't talk to me!" He could very well have been "kidding" but I didn't think it was funny and I doubt many other people did either. You could feel a lot of batwings crumpling under the weight of disappointment.

Aside from the nature of the man performing them, the songs were wonderful. The set had a nice variety with "hits" and deep cuts from his solo career like "Indigo Eyes," "Strange Kind of Love," and "Marlene Dietrich's Favourite Poem," as well as beloved songs from his days fronting Bauhaus like "King Volcano," "Silent Hedges," and "Hollow Hills." I'd find myself getting swept away, forgetting the turd factor of his stage presence long enough to really enjoy the music, and then he'd have another flare up.  During one song he crept along the lip of the stage and kicked my beer cup and camera to indicate he wanted them off. I hated how sensitive that made me feel. It was like getting spit in the face by the person you wanted to take you to prom. As he was walking back and forth he'd put his hand out for people to touch and I, still wanting to connect, put mine out and missed him by an inch. I felt the heat of his hand on my hand, but we didn't touch. I could have written just that sentence for this review and it would have said it all.

After the show ended a stage worker was nice enough to tear a setlist off and give it to me. I looked it over carefully in the car home and was depressed to see that he had planned to do two encores, but only did one, which may actually have been for the best. I don't know if any of us could have taken any more and been able to salvage the memory. I'm still working on it. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4/20 Marijuana Post

By: Kelly McClure

Today is April 20th, which is 4/20, which means marijuana things. I just opened a new tab and started typing "origins of ..." and "origins of 420" was one of the first things to come up. Along with origins of blaze it, and origins of 420 high times.

Let there be no mistake about it ... 4/20 is a "marijuana things day." And this is very much a marijuana things post.

The first time I ever smoked pot was in high school. My high school was in Riverside, California and was set up in a such a way that you could be dropped off by your parents out front before school and then scramble away to do any sort of non school related sex or drug thing you had a mind to do and no one would stop you. No one was standing at the front of the school shaking students hands and handing out American Flags or anything. School officials had a general sense that humans ranging from the ages of 14-18 went there sometimes, and they got money for that fact, and that's more or less all they cared about. I would usually get dropped off out front by one of my parents, pretend to walk towards the school until I was confident they had driven fully away, and then cross the street to smoke cigarettes by this one bush everyone smoked cigarettes by. I'd go to class eventually, but not until I did some manner of non school related activity that I thought best prepared me for that specific day.

One day, by the bush, I decided I was going to do drugs. I'd never tried any sort of drugs before and decided that my pre class activity that day would be to do some. There was a guy named Danny who would often hang out by the smoking bush and I knew him to be a person who sold drugs. He was sort of chubby and had that kind of poofy hair that grew up and out instead of down. On this particular day he was wearing a brown Member's Only Jacket. I asked him if he had any "pot" and he produced what I now know to be a marijuana cigarette from a metal Band-Aid tin that he pulled from the pocket of his jacket. I paid him $3 I think,  and that instance is, to this day, the only time I've ever paid for pot.  With marijuana joint in hand I picked a secluded side of the smoking bush and sucked the whole thing down myself in under five minutes because I didn't know how pot happened.

Everything looks different now. This isn't the right smoking bush. In fact, this is a tree.

My first class that year was English and once I got inside and sat down at my desk I had already begun to lose all control of my body. I was sweating, felt as though drool was just dropping from my mouth, and was convinced that the police would be coming for me soon. One activity we were made to do that hour involved us getting up to write something on the chalkboard, which I did, but when I sat back down and looked at what I'd done it appeared as though I, instead of actually writing something, just mushed a piece of chalk against the board using the palm of my hand.

The rest of the day got gradually more and more normal and when my Dad picked me up to go home I asked him if I smelled funny. When he said that I didn't, and inquired as to why I had asked that, I said that I dropped some burrito on myself during lunch.

I've since done pot a bunch of times, and find it to be moderately enjoyable. I kinda wish I liked it more than I actually do because I think enjoying a substance known for making people "chill" would enhance my life experience. For many years I thought I was allergic to pot because every time I smoked it I'd throw up, but I later realized that this was just happening because mixing pot with multiple bottles of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill would make almost anyone throw up. In recent years my experience has been better, apart from the one time a roommate of mine in Brooklyn made pot cookies and I had too much and then my body seized upon itself like Emily Rose. 

Being the non-frequent 4/20 reefer smoker that I am, it was a twist of fate that a representative for the company Burn Box recently sent me a selection of stuff to try out. Burn Box is a monthly subscription service, kinda like Birchbox, but instead of getting mini body lotions and state of the art hair-ties you get rolling papers and pot pipes, etc. I was excited to receive my box and secretly hoped there would be actual pot inside because we don't have any in the house ever.

The box I got included a couple different kinds of rolling papers, a glass pipe, a few pieces of hard candy, matches, a rubber band thing you put over your pot pipe to keep weed pot from falling out of it when you're done smoking marijuana reefer, and a red thing that you make monkey noises on with your mouth that's supposed to blow smoke rings. I think. That last thing we couldn't quite figure out. Oh, and there were also some very small glass jacks that I guess you put in the weed pot bowl to keep reefer crumbs from being sucked into your mouth.

Shortly after my Burn Box arrived my neighbors had a party in our shared backyard so I brought it out for everyone to play with. One of the neighbors had some 4/20 weed pot so I put some in the new glass bowl and got immediately stoned. I don't really remember much of anything else from that night but word has it that a new friend tried to teach me how to be my best self while toasting a Peep over our fire pit while using a metal coat hanger.

Happy 4/20 Marijuana Post Day!