30 July 2009

Harshing the Mellow

Is this yesterday? She asks, picking through the pile of recycled newspapers. No, I say. Today is today. Yesterday is yesterday.

It’s the little things, the little precise verbal things, that make a relationship go. As in go South. No, that new sweater does not make you look fat. It’s the fat that makes you look fat. Then she gets mad at me for no apparent reason.

I have harshed her mellow, as one major newspaper says they say in the marijuana patches of Mendocino county. When we travel, people look askance when we say we’re from Mendocino.

In fact, it’s worse than askance. They seriously smirk. You smokie the dopie? Shreddy the hemp-y, bogart the joint and all that? No, we explain. We live in Caspar. You’ve never heard of Caspar, that’s why we say we’re from Mendocino. That’s MEN-DO-CI-NO, on the COAST. It’s cold there. You can’t grow a red tomato, you can’t raise a green pepper, and you certainly can’t grow pot. In a hothouse, maybe. Five miles inland, no problem. but very little dope growing in lettuce peas and potatoes country. We haven’t seen the sun in five months.

When the sun does show up we go around asking each other what is that shiny yellow thing in the sky. Everyone smiles, but in fact no one knows for sure. We could Google it – What Is The Sun? – but we’re too busy watering the lettuce so it doesn’t dry out in the yellow glow.

The sun’s out! my garden-loving weed-pulling wife announces as she runs outside. It ‘s not really “out” I mutter to myself. If it was out, everything would be really dark and cold and that would be highly disturbing. The light is out, but the sun is... what is it... maybe “on.” The sun’s on! Come and look.

It’s good I don’t say this out loud. I know what’s good for me, or at least I’m learning.

An in-depth article in the Washington Post this week reviewed the Mendocino marijuana industry, interviewing pot heads, medical users, growers, politicians, the Sheriff, and others. The author notes that Mendocino’s golden age of dope growing ended when “growing acceptance of marijuana elsewhere in the Golden State unleashed a confluence of demand, tolerance and legal ambiguity rooted in political cowardice.

“The result set in motion forces that seriously harshed the mellow here and brought the ‘war on drugs’ to the one place in America it had never really reached.”

Harshed the mellow. I haven’t heard that since Sir Douglas walked and talked in the park in Mendocino, which, of course, he never did, as the closest Sir Douglas and his famous song hit “Mendocino” ever got to Mendocino was a bar in Wichita, but that’s another story, and there isn’t any park in Mendocino, unless you count Mendocino Headlands State Park, which probably hadn’t been invented when Sir Douglas first sang his famous song, and who knighted him, anyway?

Jean Jacques Rousseau once confessed, in his “Confessions,” that “women, especially great ladies, must be amused, and that it is better to offend them than to bore them; and I judged, from her remarks upon the conversation of the people who had just taken leave of her, what she must have thought of MY silly nonsense.”

Yes dear, that is yesterday’s paper, the sweater does NOT make you look fat, and the sun is out.


Here’s the URL for the Washington Post article, but they may make you register (free) in order to read it.

I have a lovely old Modern Library (#243) version of Rousseau’s “Confessions” complete with dust jacket and “15 cents” penciled on the top. However, it’s long out of print. Here’s the only current paperback version available as a new book:

“The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. BiblioLife paperback $18.99. ISBN 1103029916

My wife just asked: “Why does he have to confess?”

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