Quarantine Chronicles Day 73: Today’s project is a dope assignment

So, you wanna get high.

I smoked pot back in the 1970s, when it was cheaper than gum—and just about as potent. The going price for years was $10 for an ounce, and it was typically weak enough that you and your friends could smoke the whole ounce in a sitting.

And would you be high? As high as a fiddler’s fist, as one of my Irish-German forebears used to say. But, of course they got high. They’d just polished off a bale of ditch-weed, with seeds exploding and twigs piling up like tinder in the corner of the shoebox lid that was the official working surface of the pothead, because if the heat came, you could just slyly slide it under the couch where no one would ever, ever find it.

Those were, as any longtime journeyman enjoyer of weed will tell you, different times. It was so cheap that people at concerts would light ‘em up and then pass ‘em down.

These days, thanks to legalization and advanced horticultural skills, marijuana has grown so potent that if you just do a little (though costing a lot more than $10/oz.) pipe load, you’ll wind up wearing your rasta cap and playing hacky sack in the park with Shenseea wailing through the boombox. Or pass out, paralyzed, on the sofa.

For my project today, Stephanie Rivera, the Post’s indefatigable immigration and diversity reporter, decided to get me back on dope. Seems like an honorable mission, and what better time to rekindle your lost love for marijuana than in these lazy, hazy, crazy COVID days?

Steph brought over a trick-or-treat bag of various pot edibles: chili-chocolate, regular chocolate, pineapple-habanero gummies and a lozenge of a flavor I couldn’t easily identify. It turned out to be apple, though with a sort of Malört aftertaste.

Stephanie included careful instructions regarding how and when and how much to take without believing, literally, that I could fly.

I took the lozenge first, in the evening of Memorial Day. “It will give you a nice body high,” she advised. I never experienced the promised body high, because I fell asleep before the wrapper hit the floor. Maybe that was the body high.

This morning, I dug into the Kiva Camino cannabis-infused pineapple-habanero gummies, which taste so good you’re gonna want to just sit in front of the TV eating them like bonbons.

While killing time waiting for the advertised “uplifting” effect to sweep me off my feet, I did some sober research at the Oregon Cannabis Connection blog, scanning an article called “Tips for people consuming marijuana for the first time,” by Johnny Green from Weed News, who threw me in the rookie category: “Some older newbies are not necessarily consuming cannabis for the first time since they did so in decades past when they were younger, but coming back after a long layoff is basically like consuming cannabis for the first time all over again.”

Well, yeah, except you don’t have to spend hours separating seeds and stems from your stash on the album cover for “Revolver” balanced on your lap.

At one point, Johnny Green, in an attempt to put pot smokers among the world’s elite, assures us that “A laundry list of extremely successful people consume cannabis on a regular basis.”

First, I wondered, “like who? Besides Bill Maher,” and then I got spun out into a tangent regarding the use of the metaphor “laundry list” and its etymology, because just on the surface, I don’t think a laundry list is particularly long: “6 shirts, 3 blouses, bedding.” I know it can be long if you’re trying to prove a point, but as the standard measure for a long list, I think we can do better if we all work together.

OK, is that pot talk? Because it sounds like pot talk, and it’s all I can do right now to not go off on a riff about how mankind’s ability to see the color blue is a relatively modern one, although there are people that will argue that’s not true. I choose to believe that it is.

So, “How much do I take to get high?” I mentally asked my adviser Johnny Green. Nobody knows. And you know why? “Human biology is a funky thing,” he explains. Muse on that a while on pot.

Yeah, I think this stuff’s working. And, according to Stephanie, it’s time to take another one.

“As part of your assignment I’d like you to consume these edibles while doing something you enjoy,” she wrote. “Like a book or a visually pleasing show or movie. You can also go for a walk around the block. Or do nothing.”

So many choices. I popped another gummy and considered my options. I’ve gotta say “do nothing” is looking like an early leader, although I might end up tackling all of them. Depends on where this pineapple-habanero gummie takes me.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.